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My Honors College

Beyond the Classroom

To encourage learning outside of the classroom, the South Carolina Honors College requires students to have at least three credit hours of Honors educational experience outside of the traditional classroom setting. There are four ways to fulfill the Honors Beyond the Classroom (BTC) requirement: internships, undergraduate research, study away and service learning.

Definition of Honors Beyond the Classroom

An Honors BTC experience should focus on one of the four areas considered for Honors BTC – internship, research, service learning or study away – and is, almost always, a credit-bearing experience in which a student is enrolled and receives course credit, such as an internship course, an independent research course, or study away or service learning course.  The BTC requirement aims to enrich and expand a student’s college experience and helps prepare Honors students for whatever lies ahead.

Does a student have to receive course credit to fulfill the BTC requirement?

The BTC requirement is typically a credit-bearing course (e.g., an Honors service learning course, an internship or Study Abroad course). In some exceptional instances, the BTC requirement may be fulfilled through another structured program in which a student works with a mentor or supervisor, receives regular feedback, and takes part in structured reflection of the experience.  Some structured programs, in which course credit is not awarded, have been pre-approved to fulfill the BTC requirement.  In rare cases, an “alternative” activity can be approved to fulfill the BTC requirement, but all alternative activities must receive prior approval from the Honors College.

A non-credit bearing experience that has been approved to fulfill the BTC requirement may NOT be used to fulfill one of the seven Honors College elective requirements (a total of 19 credit hours).

Can a student use BTC courses to fulfill Honors electives?

Yes, as long as it is an approved BTC course, which appears on a student’s transcript.  Approved, non-credit bearing BTC activities can only fulfill the Honors BTC requirement, and no course credit is awarded. 

Approved BTC courses that may fulfill an Honors elective include any SCHC or departmental internship course (and many departmental practicum experiences), any SCHC or departmental independent research course, any SCHC or USC-approved study away course (short-term summer, semester or year away) or an SCHC service learning course.

How to Fulfill the Beyond the Classroom Requirement


Other Beyond the Classroom Experiences

Departmental Practicums/Clinical Hours/Rotations

Several majors, including nursing, pharmacy, exercise science and education, require students to complete a practicum, clinical hours/rotations or full-time student teaching experience.  Because students receive course credit for these required experiences, the Honors College allows students to use such experiences to fulfill the BTC requirement or an Honors elective.

Regardless of the number of credit hours a student is enrolled in during a single semester (credit hours can range from 3-12), only 3 hours of Honors credit (BTC or Honors elective) will be awarded.  If program requirements include enrolling in a practicum/clinical hours/rotation for more than one semester, a student may be awarded additional Honors credit, up to 6 Honors credit hours total.

For example, exercise science majors enroll in a 6 hour practicum (EXSC 444) during a single semester.  An Honors student would receive 3 honors credit hours for this practicum, which could fulfill the BTC requirement or an honors elective, if the BTC has been previously fulfilled.

Nursing students must complete four different clinical rotation courses in the upper division, which span multiple semesters.  Because the rotations are completed in more than one semester, a student may receive a total of 6 Honors credits (BTC and Honors elective).

Students may not be awarded more than 6 Honors credit hours for a practicum/clinical hours/rotation, regardless of the number of credit hours a student must complete for the major.  This ensures that most of a student's Honors electives are fulfilled through courses and experiences that are uniquely Honors.

Other Approved BTC Experiences (Non-Credit Bearing)

There are other academic opportunities that fulfill the BTC requirement. These approved programs have been vetted by the Honors College and are structured programs in which a student works with a mentor or supervisor, receives regular feedback and takes part in structured reflection about the experience. Note that because these activities are non-credit bearing, a student may use these activities to fulfill the BTC requirement, but not an Honors elective.

Other approved experiences that fulfill the BTC requirement include:

ROTC Summer Experience (required for ROTC students)
Critical Language Scholarship
Humanity in Action
MedEX Academy Internships (Tier I,II, III and IV)
NOAA Hollings Scholarship
U.K. Fulbright Summer Experience

Upon completion of the above programs, the student will have the primary supervisor/instructor write an email or letter to the student’s advisor briefly describing the nature of the work and indicating that the student completed at least 150 hours of practical application. The advisor will upload this letter in EAB Navigate and submit an exception request in DegreeWorks to update Honors requirements.  There is no pre-approval required to have one of these approved programs fulfill the BTC requirement.

Other experiences/experiences that are NOT approved for Beyond the Classroom:

The following activities are not generally approved for BTC credit: Medical job shadowing, physician assistant service, or completing the training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, Personal Trainer or Registered Dietitian.  

This is because approved, non-credit bearing BTC experiences are typically structured programs in which a student works with a mentor or supervisor, receives regular feedback, and takes part in structured reflection about the experience.

Alternative Beyond the Classroom Experiences

On rare occasions, the Honors College will allow experiences, beyond internships, study away, service learning, research courses and other pre-approved programs to fulfill the BTC requirement.

Students should talk to their Honors advisor about other experiences that may meet this requirement.  Alternative BTC activities typically align in some way with one or more of the four areas of Honors BTC -- internship, research, study away or service learning -- and usually include a structured program in which a student works with a mentor or supervisor, receives regular feedback, and takes part in structured reflection about the experience. If the advisor and student deem the activity to include the above criteria, the student should complete an Alternative Beyond the Classroom application.

If approved, the student may only fulfill the BTC requirement with this activity.  It will not fulfill an Honors elective.

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