MBU St. Louis Honors program

MBU St. Louis Honors engages a diverse population of highly motivated students with scholarly and creative challenges that empower and equip them to be expansive, innovative thinkers, conscious global citizens, and curious, committed followers of Christ. We ask that students take intellectual risks; that they hold themselves to high standards; that they act as servant leaders on campus and off; and that they engage the big questions of today and yesterday with rigor and charity.

MBU Honors 2019

The program not only prepares students for careers and graduate school, but also trains them to become compassionate leaders, both in the Christian community and in the world.

Students who have been accepted and admitted to MBU as freshmen or transfer students click the link below and complete the online application as soon as possible. Early applicants may be invited to an interview in the fall semester. Online applications should be completed by the end of February. Applicants who are accepted will be invited to participate in on-campus interviews scheduled throughout the school year until the 15 positions have been filled. Honors interviews begin in the fall semester, usually late October or early November, and each year more and more students are applying early because of the limited number of positions available, so it is best to apply as soon as you have been accepted and admitted.

Transfer students who have been members of Honors Programs at other universities may apply for admission to MBU Honors. MBU Honors has a transfer agreement with St. Charles Community College Honors and is able to accommodate students from other schools if their Honors work is compatible with the MBU Honors curriculum.

Apply to MBU Honors


Honors Contracts

  • Honors Contracts are created between the student and the instructor of any class at MBU.
  • The parameters of the Contract must be approved by the student, instructor and Honors Director.
  • The course may be within the student’s major or the broader education program of the University.
  • There must be a significant amount of additional work, appropriate to the course objective and content.

Each student must complete at least three Honors Contracts


Beyond the Classroom

  • Students will engage in one co-curricular activity per year for the first two years for a total of two activities.
  • Activities will be accompanied by a discussion-based or writing-based assignment to be turned in within one week of the activity. Equivalencies for this assignment can be determined by the Honors Director.

Beyond the Curriculum

  • Students will engage in two extracurricular activities per year for the first two years for a total of four activities. Extracurricular activities must be a cultural event, service, service-learning or an equivalency as approved by the Honors Director.
  • Activities will be accompanied by a discussion-based or writing-based assignment to be turned in within one week of the activity. Equivalencies for this assignment can be determined by the Honors Director.

Honors Community

  • All members of the Honors community will have two regular meetings and events each semester, to be determined by the Honors Council.

Honors in the World

All Honors students will take part in at least one of the following travel options during their time at MBU:
– Best Semester
– Study Abroad
– Travel Studies

Learn more about MBU Study Abroad

Financial Aid

  • Honors applicants are eligible for all academic scholarships currently in place, as well as other performance based scholarships.
  • Those selected for MBU Honors will be eligible for an Honors scholarship of up to $1000 per year.
  • Those who choose on-campus room & board also experience some savings.


A tangible award will be presented to all who complete MBU Honors. This may be in the form of a medallion, stole, hood, or academic cap. Special awards may be presented to students who go “beyond” the minimum requirements of MBU Honors or have exceptional work that merits additional recognition within the University and community.

Honors Video

Click here to watch the MBU Honors video. Congrats Class of 2020!

Why honors?

Dr. Larry Smith, Director of MBU Honors, Interdisciplinary Studies

  Director of MBU Honors
Contact information:

DMA in Choral Music, Arizona State University, 1998
MM in Choral Conducting, Texas State-San Marcos, 1986
BME in K-12 Vocal Music from Baylor University, 1979

Dr. Smith serves as Director of MBU Honors.  Dr. Smith was appointed to the position in 2014 and worked with a Task Force of MBU faculty members to develop and launch MBU Honors in August of 2015.  From a first class of 15 students, MBU Honors has continued to grow and flourish and students have presented original research projects at the MBU Research Symposium and the National Collegiate Honors Conference.  MBU Honors students have studied at Oxford University, Australia, and The Netherlands.  Students have traveled and ministered abroad in Hong Kong, Guatemala, Italy, Australia, and Israel.

Dr. Smith served on the MBU music faculty from 1997-2015 as Director of Choral Activities and from 2011-2021 as Chair of Fine Arts.

He served public schools in Ft. Worth, Texas and Fullerton, California before embarking on his college teaching career in 1990. He also sang professionally with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Musica Viva of San Bernardino CA, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Chorus, and the Phoenix Bach Society (now the Phoenix Chorale).

He has been a worship leader for churches in Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, and currently serves as Director of Traditional Worship at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church in St. Louis.

HONR 111 – Honors Seminar I
This course provides new Honors students with an orientation and introduction to the MBU Honors Program, providing information on the entire course of study along with practical experience in the seminar-learning, creative presentation, and writing skills required for success as independent thinkers, researchers, and authors. Meets Collegiate Seminar requirement for Honors students.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into Honors Program

HONR 112 – Honors Seminar II
Spring Freshman year
This course will conceptually explore a spectrum of Big Ideas, delving into Christian and human thought and creativity. Students will engage in daily discussions with other students and faculty regarding the contents of reading and other course materials and be expected to provide both oral and written reflection on the topics considered. PREREQUISITE: Acceptance into Honors Program, HONR 111.

HONR 313 – Conducting and Presenting Research
Fall Sophomore Year
This course provides students with skills for conducting and presenting research at an advanced level. Students will be introduced to bibliographical resources, appropriate materials and procedures for conducting independent and collaborative research, and proper presentation of findings at a professional, post-baccalaureate level. PREREQUISITE: Acceptance into Honors Program.

HONR 323 – Creating and Publishing Independent Research
Spring Sophomore year
This course provides students with guidance in planning a program of research within a particular discipline. Students will complete a search for an appropriate topic and objective much like a graduate thesis topic and design a process to achieve and realize that objective through the use of Honors Contracts, culminating in their Senior Project. PREREQUISITE: Acceptance into Honors Program, HONR 313.

HONR 413 – Senior Seminar
Fall Senior year
The Senior Seminar provides students with a time to discuss and prepare proposals for Senior Projects, discuss and learn from one another and faculty in defining and developing Senior Projects, and sharing discoveries made in research with one another in a seminar discussion/workshop setting. Students will also engage ideas from earlier Honors seminars to integrate their worldview with scholarship in their major and general education courses taken throughout their college experience. Meets the World Citizen requirement for Honors students.
Prerequisite: HONR 323

HONR 421-423 – Senior Project
The Senior Project is a culminating research project that brings together student’s previous work in the Honor classes and Honors Contracts. This may be combined with a Capstone project in the student’s major or in a separate area of interest. If the Capstone Course in the student’s major is to be used as the Senior Project for Honors, then an Honors Contract will be issued to define the requirements for the Honors credit. The Senior Project must be approved by the Honors Director and, if combined with a Capstone course in a particular discipline, a supervising faculty member from that discipline.
Prerequisite: HONR 323

If you are ready for a more intense intellectual experience, MBU Honors is ready for you. For more information, contact Dr. Larry Smith at Application is open until all program spaces are filled each year. Students are encouraged to apply in the fall semester of their last year in high school or community college in order to have the best opportunity for acceptance.

Honors Contract

Honors Contract Submission

Honors Contract (Signature Page)