Apply to the Honors Program

New First-Year Students

The University Honors Program recommends applicants have an ACT score of 25 or higher and a high school cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Application is still highly encouraged if students do not meet one or both of these guidelines but are interested in joining the program. The Honors Council reviews each application individually and takes into account the rigors of high school classes, leadership positions, and overall involvement in school, work, or the community.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • A complete application (at the bottom of the page)

  • A résumé that outlines advanced coursework (including college credits), leadership positions, extracurricular activities, and other involvement in school, work, and the community.  

  • An application essay. Please see the essay requirements below. Please send the résumé and essay to

  • One letter of recommendation from a teacher; a letter from an employer can be substituted if you have been out of school for more than three years. This letter should be submitted directly by the letter writer via email to the Director of the University Honors Program, Professor Katrina Jensen: Letters addressed to Professor Jensen will also be accepted at University Honors Program, 1200 University St. Unit 9008, Spearfish, SD 57799.

The Application Essay

This essay is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing abilities and distinguish yourself in your own voice. After submitting the online application please send the essay as a Word document or PDF file to the Director of the University Honors Program, Professor Katrina Jensen: Be sure to include your full name, email, and address at the top of the page. The essay should be 250-450 words and should respond to one of the following prompts:

  • In the University Honors Program, we not only embrace the geek in each of us, but celebrate it. Tell us about your inner geek.

  • If you were to write an autobiography, what would we read on page 126?

  • French novelist Anatole France wrote: "An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't." At this point in your life, what don't you know?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Be yourself. Be sincere. Be as creative as you please.

Transfer Students

Transfer into the program may be possible depending on the number of credits already completed or if a student is transferring from another Honors program.

Please contact Professor Katrina Jensen before applying: or (605)642-6247.

Current BHSU Students

Current BHSU students with a 3.3 or higher GPA are eligible to apply for the competitive Research Scholar program. This track emphasizes undergraduate research and creative activity and requires the completion of six credits of Honors colloquia (HON 301-304) and three credits of the capstone research and capstone defense.  Students who complete this program graduate as Research Scholars. Limited spots are available each year. Application requirements include:

  • An application letter that introduces you to the committee, explains your interest in the program, and details your current research or creative activity interests 

  • An unofficial transcript

  • A writing sample from a course in your major or minor

  • Contact information for a faculty sponsor (i.e. a faculty member who can speak to your academic excellence)

Please submit print materials to Professor Katrina Jensen's office at Life Science 109, her mailbox #9008, or via email to Contact her with any questions at (605)642-6247 or

Apply Today

If you have not already applied at Black Hills State, you will need to apply through Admissions in addition to completing this form.