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ERIC Number: EJ1082638
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0151
Honors in the Master's: A New Perspective?
Van Ginkel, Stan; Van Eijl, Pierre; Pilot, Albert; Zubizarreta, John
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v13 n2 p265-278 Fall-Win 2012
In Europe, there is a growing interest in honors education, not only in the bachelor's but also in the master's degree. The Dutch government, for instance, is actively promoting excellence in both bachelor's and master's degrees through honors programs (Siriusteam). Most Dutch universities have honors programs at the bachelor's level or are developing them. Some universities have also recently introduced honors into their master's programs, stimulated by recent publications (van Eijl, Wolfensberger & Pilot). Because honors master's programs are a new phenomenon in higher education and are still exceptional in the United States of America, the authors have undertaken a research project to study them (van Ginkel & van Eijl). For this exploratory project, a mixed method approach was used (Creswell & Plano-Clark; van Ginkel & van Eijl) in a study that was carried out at the start of the academic year 2009-2010. First, an Internet search identified Dutch and non-Dutch honors master's programs. Second, a literature review facilitated a comparison between Dutch honors master's programs and Dutch honors bachelor's programs. Third, staff members provided insights into the honors master's within the discipline of law at the University of Utrecht. Interviews with teachers revealed specific information about a representative example of Dutch honors master's courses. Fourth, in line with the interviews, a small quantitative survey yielded an impression of the interest of students in supplemental activities included in the master's stage of their study. Thirty-seven master's students from different disciplines completed the survey. The study revealed the existence of different kinds of honors master's programs not only in The Netherlands but also in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and Ireland. These honors master's programs are found in the humanities, social sciences, hard sciences, and professional schools. The programs are diverse with respect to content, focus, and scheduling, and they are, as far as the authors could trace, very new. It is concluded that the emergence of honors master's programs shows a new focus on promoting excellence in university teaching and learning not only among undergraduates but now also at the master's level.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Canada; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A