National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2004


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 5:1, Spring/Summer 2004. Copyright © 2004 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Honors programs are a recent and fast growing development in Dutch universities. The first such programs started in 1993. Ten years later 25 programs have been launched at ten universities. Significant are the diversity in the type of programs, their length, and their positioning in the curriculum. In this study we describe the types of programs, the certificates involved, the procedures for selection of the students, and the factors that influence their functioning as experiments for educational innovations. We also present a typology of honors programs in The Netherlands and describe their spin-off effects in the regular programs. At least 16 of the 25 programs did indeed have the function of a living laboratory for educational innovations in the regular programs. We indicate key issues in understanding spin-off effects. Our main question whether honors programs have innovative capacities for the normal curriculum is answered positively. After proven success, many innovations of the honours programs are indeed implemented in the regular curriculum.