Dean - Miriam S. Chaiken

Associate Dean and Director of the Office of National Scholarships and International Education (ONSIE) - Tim Ketelaar

Faculty Fellow - Judith Flores Carmona

Assistant Dean for Development - Cindy Gwaltney Nicholson

Administrative Assistant, Special/Executive - Maricruz Aguilar

Crimson Scholars Coordinator - Roman Gutierrez

The Honors College is located in the Conroy Honors Center on the corner of University and Espina Avenues. Most honors classes are taught in the Conroy Honors Center.

Phone: (575) 646-2005

Mission of the William Conroy Honors College

The mission of the New Mexico State University Honors College is to serve the citizens and state of New Mexico by providing an enriching environment for diverse, academically talented, and motivated students. The Honors College also seeks to create a community of scholars and mentors that fosters personal growth, critical thinking, leadership, independence, curiosity, and social responsibility.  The college aspires to cultivate student potential to broadly understand and positively impact communities, organizations, and the larger world.  The Honors College aims to focus campus attention on excellence in undergraduate education while strengthening the university’s reputation as the university of choice in New Mexico.

In support of this mission, the Honors College integrates the following objectives:

  • Provide students with an interdisciplinary, intellectually challenging curriculum that integrates active learning;
  • Promote university-wide undergraduate research and experiential opportunities, linking students with faculty mentors;
  • Encourage, mentor and guide students seeking postgraduate scholarships and fellowships;
  • Offer students opportunities for developing leadership skills;
  • Create a residential community that combines learning inside and outside the classroom.

In small classes taught by master teachers, students in the Honors College engage in lively discussion and collaborative investigation of interdisciplinary topics. By taking honors courses, students may also work toward completing general education requirements and disciplinary requirements in the major.

Students in the Honors College are ‘dual citizens’, meaning they enroll in both the college(s) of their major/minor and the Honors College. The Honors College does not offer a degree instead, it offers students the opportunity to graduate with various levels of honors distinction (described below).

The Honors Faculty

The Honors College faculty come from academic departments from throughout the university. Members of the faculty are chosen through a rigorous selection process and include many of New Mexico State University's most distinguished teachers and researchers.

Professors Cleveland, Erickson, Hamzeh Al Smadi, Harvey, Horodowich, Hubbell, M. Johnson, Lodder, Malamud, Pratt, Serrano, Shearer, Slaton, Stanford, Storm, Vessel

Associate Professors Armfield, Flores Carmona, Guynn, Herrera, Jenks, Keleher, Ketelaar,  Miller-Tomlinson, Morgan, Schirmer 

Assistant Professors  Hampton, E. Johnson

College Professors Fitzsimmons, Gilpin, Masson, Rochelle, Scotten, Silver

Emeritus Professors Bosland, Eamon, Ellis, Fouillade, Lapid, Lavender, LaPorte, Munson-McGee, Ocepek, Townley, Thompson, Wolf

Admission to the Honors College

Students admitted to the Honors College are designated as Crimson Scholars, the following eligibility criteria apply:

Automatic Eligibility. Entering freshmen are automatically eligible for admission to the Honors College and Crimson Scholars by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • composite ACT score of 26 (or 1240 SAT score); or
  • high school GPA of 3.75 or higher

Admission by Petition. Entering freshmen who have an ACT score of at least 24 (or 1200 SAT score) or a high school GPA of 3.50 may submit a written petition for provisional admission to the Honors College using a form provided by the Honors College office upon the request of the student.

Transfer and Continuing Students. Transfer and continuing students who have earned at least 3 college credit hours will be eligible for admission to the college on the basis of a cumulative college GPA that meets eligibility requirements for continuing students (see below).

Eligibility for Continuing Membership. The eligibility criteria for continuing membership in the Honors College is the same as for continuing Crimson Scholars status. The requirements are:

  • Fewer than 28 hours earned: 3.3 GPA
  • More than 28 hours earned: 3.5 GPA

Appeals. Students who fall below the designated GPAs and lose their eligibility for Honors College status due to extraordinary circumstances may petition the College Admission Committee for readmission.

Enrolling in Honors Courses

All Crimson Scholars may enroll in Honors courses. The eligibility requirements to enroll in lower-division honors courses are the same as those pertaining to admission to the college and continuance in the college. For upper-division courses, the requirement is a cumulative 3.2 GPA. Students lacking these requirements may petition the Honors College Dean for permission on a case-by-case basis.

Graduating with University Honors

The Honors College offers two program options:

  1. Graduation with University Honors and
  2. The Honors Certificate.

Each option has separate eligibility requirements, benefits and forms of recognition for the student. Almost all honors courses fulfill university general education requirements. To have these courses count toward one of these programs, a student must earn at least a B.

Any student who attains an overall GPA of 3.5-3.749 and who completes 15 credits of honors coursework and the honors capstone is eligible to graduate with University Honors. Students who attain an average of 3.75 or better and who complete 15 credits of honors coursework and the honors capstone are eligible to graduate with Distinction in University Honors. Transcripts will certify graduation with University Honors or Distinction in University Honors. Students who complete the requirements for graduation with either distinction receive recognition in the commencement program, a Certificate of Distinction, and a medallion upon graduation.

University Honors Requirements -- Suggested Sequence

Prefix Title Credits
Freshman-Sophomore Years
Three courses from the Honors Core (lower division)9
Junior-Senior Years
Two 300- or 400-level Honors courses6
HNRS 400Honors Thesis3
Total Credits18
Prefix Title Credits
Thesis or Capstone Project Options
Honors Thesis (Or)3
Honors Internship (Or)3-6
Independent Studies (Or)1-3
Students may also submit a Course by Contract (by permission) to count as their capstone.

Senior Capstone

In order to graduate from the Honors College with the designation of University Honors or Distinction in University Honors, a student must complete a Capstone. The Capstone is normally completed during the senior year and may be undertaken only if the student meets the eligibility requirements for graduation from the College (3.5 minimum GPA and the required courses). The Capstone carries 3 graded credit hours.

Before beginning the final project, the student must choose a faculty advisor and file with the College a proposal that is approved by the faculty advisor and the Dean of the Honors College. The final project is graded by the faculty advisor, who submits a final grade to the Dean of the Honors College.

Candidates for graduation with University Honors and Distinction in University Honors are expected to make public presentations of their final projects at one or more of the following:

  1. the Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium held every Spring Semester,
  2. a department seminar,
  3. and/or a seminar sponsored by the Honors College.

The method of presentation shall be that deemed appropriate for the discipline in which the project is undertaken.

The written component of the final project shall be filed with the Honors College in a bound copy according to the guidelines established by the college.

The Senior Capstone may be any one of the following:

Thesis — The thesis is an independent scholarly or scientific research project that is undertaken with the advice and direction of a member of the university faculty. The thesis does not need to be on a topic in the student’s major field, but must meet the guidelines and protocols of the discipline in which it is written. The student's faculty advisor will review the student’s thesis and determine a final grade.

Creative Arts or Performance Project — The Senior Creative Arts/Performance project may take the form of an exhibition, performance, recital or other event deemed appropriate by the faculty advisor and the Dean of the Honors College. In addition to the performance or exhibition, the student must complete a written report or description of the project that is approved by the faculty advisor, to be filed with the Honors College.

Service Learning Project — The Service Learning Project shall be undertaken under the auspices and supervision of an agency approved by the Dean of the Honors College and earn Honors internship credits. A faculty advisor must approve the project and monitor its progress. The Service Learning Project must be more than simply a certain number of hours volunteered to an agency. It must also involve a creative and leadership element, such as the design of a program or policy that identifies a problem and meets a specific need of the agency. A time log and journal shall be kept by the student during the course of the project. A written report describing the objective and design of the project, as well as an evaluation of its successes and failures, must be submitted to the Honors College according to norms established by the college. The report must also contain a reflective component, demonstrating increased self-awareness and personal growth.

Honors Contract — An Honors Contract is a mechanism for adding an "honors dimension" to a course that is not listed as an honors course (HON prefix). The contract allows honors students to convert a regular non-honors course into an honors course that counts toward graduation with University Honors. The Honor Contract project should add an academic or experiential dimension to the course by introducing new material and/or experiences. Contract form may be downloaded from the Honors College website.

Community Service Options

The Honors College encourages its students to perform volunteer public service. Under certain circumstances, public service may be used as an alternative to completing some of the requirements for graduation from the Honors College. The following guidelines apply:

During the sophomore, junior or senior year, a student with at least a 3.5 GPA may undertake community service with an agency or organization in Doña Ana County (or an agency outside the area approved by the Honors College Dean) to earn a waiver of up to 3 of the hours required for University Honors (not including the Final Project). A minimum of 15 hours of community service per week, per semester is required for each honors credit hour to be waived. Community service hours must be verified by a supervisor of the agency or organization on a form approved by the Honors College. On-campus activities are not included under this option. The student must also certify that the community service hours are not being used for any course or degree requirement. Approval of the Dean of the Honors College must be obtained prior to beginning volunteer service to be eligible for this option.

International Study Option

Students in the Honors College are strongly encouraged to participate in an international experience. An NMSU honors student with at least a 3.5 GPA may earn a waiver of up to 3 credit hours required for University Honors for such international study (not including the Capstone). This waiver will be awarded for college credit earned while participating in any international study program approved by the Honors College. One honors hour will be waived for each 3 semester credit hours earned with a grade of ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘S’. Permission to use this option must be approved in advance by the Honors College.

Note: Waiver of university honors credit for service learning or international study does not reduce or affect in any way the total number of hours required for graduation. Waiver of honors credit for service learning or international study cannot be applied toward the capstone requirement.

Honors Certificate Program

Sophomores, juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.2 are eligible for the Honors Certificate Program. A student who completes at least two 300- or 400-level honors seminars will be given a Certificate of Distinction at graduation and special recognition in the commencement program. See the honors Dean for details on available seminars, Honors College, Conroy Honors Center.

Crimson Scholars Program

The Crimson Scholars Program is a benefits and recognition program for academically superior students who have a cumulative 3.5 GPA and are taking three or more credits per semester. Crimson Scholars receive a number of benefits, including:

  • Automatic eligibility for all Honors courses
  • Early registration
  • Extended library check-out privileges
  • Special advising
  • The option to live in the Honors Living Learning Community in our residence hall. 
  • Students who earned at least 75% of their credits from New Mexico State University with Crimson Scholar status1 at the time of graduation receive a "Crimson Scholar Graduate" notation on their transcript.
  • Students who complete 75% of their credits as  Crimson hours1 from New Mexico State University at the time of applying for their degree, receive recognition in the commencement program and are eligible to purchase a Crimson Scholar cord for graduation.
  • Students who have maintained Crimson Scholars status for 24 Crimson hours1 from New Mexico State University earn a Crimson scholar pin.

To be eligible for the Crimson Scholars Program, applicants must be degree seeking.

  • Entering freshmen must have either:
    • a minimum ACT standard composite score of 26;
    • a 3.75 or better high school GPA; or
    • a minimum SAT score of 1240; or
    • a 3.75 or better high school GPA
  • Currently enrolled students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for 75% of the credits1 at NMSU
  • Transfer students must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA from their previous institution(s) or complete 3 or more credits1 at NMSU for eligibility.

To maintain Crimson Scholar status:

  • Freshmen entering on an ACT score must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and complete three or more credits per semester to continue in the program.
  • Sophomores, juniors and seniors must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and be currently enrolled in a total of 3 or more credits1 per semester at NMSU or any NMSU community college to retain their Crimson Scholars status.
  • Crimson Scholars whose GPA drops below the required cumulative 3.5 or drop below the three credit minimum will be dropped from the program. If in the following semester, the student’s cumulative GPA and credits again meet the minimum requirement, the student will automatically be reinstated.

In recognition of the student’s academic achievement, a statement designating "Crimson Scholar Graduate" is placed on the student’s transcript after completion of 75% of credits earned at NMSU as Crimson hours1 at the time of graduation and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. To be designated in the commencement program as a Crimson Scholar graduate, a student must complete a minimum 75% of credits earned at NMSU as Crimson hours1 at the time of applying for their degree. Crimson Scholars receive recognition in the commencement program and are eligible to purchase a Crimson Scholar cord for graduation. Students who complete 24 Crimson hours1 from New Mexico State University earn a Crimson Scholar pin. Crimson Scholars are entitled to early registration and library privileges. Additional information is available from the Crimson Scholars Office, located in the Conroy Honors Center.

NOTE: Crimson Scholars interested in work-study positions must submit a yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete a financial aid file with the NMSU Office of Financial Aid.

The Honors Living and Learning Community (HLLC)

The New Mexico State University Honors Living and Learning Community (HLLC) is an educational initiative that links in-class and out-of-class learning experiences for honors students. The goals of the Honors Living and Learning Community are to:

  1. supplement classroom learning experiences with co-curricular programming;
  2. foster the development of an honors community that includes honors students, faculty, and staff; and
  3. create a supportive environment for honors students.

Above all, the Honors Living and Learning Community aims to develop a small-college environment within the context of a large research university, thus giving students the benefits of both. Honors students, especially first-year students, are encouraged to take advantage of this special opportunity. The Honors Living and Learning Community is comprised of three components:

The Conroy Honors Center — is the academic home of the Honors College. This historic building was designed by the renowned southwestern architect Henry C. Trost and built in 1907 to house the campus chapter of the YMCA. The Conroy Center houses the administrative offices of the program along with three seminar rooms, a student commons area, a kitchen and a computer lab.

The Honors Residence Hall — is the focus of NMSU’s vibrant honors community. It is a place where honors students live among a community of excellent students with outstanding academic records and who are interested in getting the most out of the academic opportunities offered to them at a large research institution. It also hosts many social and extracurricular academic activities.

The Honors Residence Hall is equipped with an electronic classroom, where some introductory honors courses may be taught. The honors faculty participate in residence hall programming and frequently attend residence hall floor meetings with students. The Honors Residence Hall is open to all First Year Crimson Scholars.

Honors College information:

Honors College, MSC 3HON
New Mexico State University
P O Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

Phone: (575) 646-2005
or Dean Miriam Chaiken at

Crimson Scholars Program information:

Roman Gutierrez, Coordinator
Crimson Scholars Program, MSC 3HON
New Mexico State University
P O Box 30001
Las Cruces,  NM 88003-8001

Phone: (575) 646-2542
or Roman Gutierrez at