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Special Programs

The Honors Program

The Honors Program is an all-University concentration in interdisciplinary studies that serves as an alternative path to fulfilling the requirements of the Drake Curriculum, and strives to:

  • cultivate individual achievement and creativity by providing students with a venue to pursue projects at higher levels of expectation or those that do not neatly fit within prescribed disciplines.
  • provide a rigorous interdisciplinary perspective, breaking students out of their channeled interests and instilling an appreciation of the intellectual achievements of all aspects of Drake.
  • build a strong community of individuals committed to rigorous intellectual and creative thought, as well as an active social community that organizes a wide array of activities for fellow students such as cause-based fundraisers, dinners with select faculty and weekend retreats.

To complete the Honors Program Track of the Drake Curriculum, students take 19 credits in the Honors Program, including a required seminar titled Paths to Knowledge, which explores the different ways in which people come to understand the world. Honors Program students also take classes in three of the Areas of Inquiry: Artistic Experience, a laboratory science and Quantitative Literacy. This track allows students to explore simultaneously the creative, interdisciplinary nontraditional topics that are the hallmark of the Honors Program and fulfill the Drake Curriculum’s goal of providing students with diverse intellectual experiences, introducing them to various areas around which intellectual inquiry is organized.

Students may develop further leadership skills through the Honors Student Council, which actively solicits Honors course topics and faculty, helps shape program policies and plans social events and service projects.

All motivated students are encouraged to participate in the Honors Program and must complete a creative essay, which serves to declare their interest in the program. Students who meet or exceed the following criteria will automatically be sent an application form:

  • Rank in the top 5 percent of their high school class or have a minimum 3.75 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale; and
  • Have an ACT composite score of 29 or an SAT-I combined score of 1270.

Admission to the Program is not restricted to those meeting the above criteria.

It is recommended that first-year students considering the Honors Program enroll in Honors 1, Honors Practicum, a one-credit class during the fall semester. This course introduces the Honors Program, its community and its structure, and gives first-year students initial experience with some of the learning practices often experienced in Honors courses. In addition, the program sometimes organizes first-year learning community experiences in coordination with the First-Year Seminar (FYS) program, such as an intensive two-course study on American Democracy. Though suggested for interested students, Honors 001 is not required for participation in the Honors Program.

Students in the Honors Program can earn University Honors by completing both the Honors Program Track of the Drake Curriculum and a three-credit Honors Senior Thesis project, while maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA upon graduation.

Advising is typically done with the students’ designated first-year and academic advisers, but Honors students are encouraged to also consult with the Honors Director or Assistant Director regarding their course selection, learning initiatives, and future goals.

Global Ambassador Certificate Program

Program Overview

Offered through the Drake University Center for Global Citizenship (CGC), the Global Ambassador Program is a certificate program designed to complement a student’s central program of academic study. Students who complete the program will receive a certificate and a notation on their university transcript. Undergraduate students from any school or college are eligible to apply. The purposes of the Global Ambassador Program are to:

  1. provide students with a combination of concentrated study, personal experience and reflection that will inform their understanding of global issues and perspectives,
  2. provide students with the intercultural skills that will allow them to make the most of future international opportunities in business, the professions or public service.


To qualify for a Global Ambassador certificate, a student must complete the following requirements:

  • Take WLC 148 Intercultural Communication. An equivalent course from study abroad may be substituted.
  • Complete two semesters of language study through World Languages and Cultures or an equivalent amount of training through study abroad or college transfer credits. Pre-college training (e.g. high school) in a second language other than English may not be substituted for this requirement.
  • Complete any credit-bearing study abroad experience. This may include semester- or year-long programs, summer international study seminars or an internship experience abroad that has been accepted for Drake credit.
  • A minimum of 50 work hours (not credit hours) of service learning. This requirement will most often be met by volunteering for a local community group or organization that has an international focus. The center director will make available a pre-approved list of such organizations. Students may also propose their own volunteer or internship experience. These may include experiences in other cities or countries (internship or volunteer experiences connected to study abroad may also count).
  • Regular attendance at CGC-sponsored events, other internationally oriented events on campus or in the community and regular participation in the activities of the Global Ambassador Program. Students must attend at least four events each semester that they are enrolled as a Global Ambassador.
  • Global Ambassador Capstone Experience (2 credits) As a culmination of the Global Ambassador Program, students will participate in a group learning experience that is designed to put the concept of global citizenship into practice by educating the campus and/or community about a global issue or a cultural perspective. The capstone should be completed in a student's senior year. Students will register for the capstone as independent study credit (2 credits). As an alternative to the group project, students may fulfill the senior capstone requirement by taking (when available) one of the following courses: SCSS 173 Global Citizenship; POLS 123 Grassroots Globalism.

Application Process

Students must apply for the Global Ambassadors Program. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The number of students accepted will vary depending on availability of staff and instructional resources. Applications may be downloaded from the Center for Global Citizenship website. Completed application forms should be submitted to the CGC director.

The Washington Semester

12-15 credits

An intensive semester-long experience in Washington, D.C. with American University’s Washington Semester Program ( All students participate in one of 12 unique topical seminars, complete a part-time internship, and engage in an academic experience (either a course at American University or an independent research paper). Some seminars include travel abroad for 2-3 weeks. To attend the Washington Semester, students must consult with Drake’s Faculty Representative, Rachel Paine Caufield, and must gain admittance to the program. Instructor permission required.

The Washington Center

12 credits

An intensive semester-long experience in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Center ( ). All students complete an internship (30-35 hours/week), take one chosen academic course (one night/week), and complete the program’s Leadership Seminar (4-5 hours/week). To attend the Washington Center, students must consult with Drake’s Faculty Representative, Rachel Paine Caufield, and must gain admittance to the program. Students may also contact Chrystal Stanley, co-liaison for the Washington Center. Instructor permission required.

Air Force Reserve Officer's Training Corps

Air Force ROTC courses are taught on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa, 30 miles north of Des Moines. Students must arrange their own transport to Ames if required. Classes are held one day each week, during the first two years of the program and two days per week for the last two years of the program. Upon request, Air Force ROTC classes may be taught using standard distance-learning technology. In addition a two-hour leadership laboratory is required once a week. Students take the courses as Drake courses, and no additional tuition fees are assessed for full-time students.

The Air Force ROTC curriculum is divided into two basic phases: The General Military Course (GMC) and the Professional Officer Course (POC). The GMC is introductory and consists of four consecutive one-hour courses normally taken during the freshman and sophomore years. GMC completion is not a prerequisite to entry into the POC, although the department recommends it.

Prior to entry into the POC, all students must complete field training at an Air Force base. Students who have completed the GMC phase participate in a four-week program that provides a concentrated experience in the Air Force environment. The training program includes junior officer training, aircraft and aircrew orientation, survival training, base functions and physical training.

Selection for the professional officer course is on a competitive basis, and cadets enrolling in this course must meet certain academic, mental, physical and moral standards. Qualified cadets may compete for classification as flight candidates and receive flight instruction during their final years in the POC phase. Upon enrollment in the POC, all cadets are required to complete a contractual agreement with the Air Force, which obligates them to four years of active duty in the United States Air Force if in a nonflying category; 10 years of active duty in the United States Air Force if a pilot; or 6 years as a navigator. Uniforms and texts are supplied to the cadets, and those in the POC receive a subsistence allowance from $450 to $500 per month. Entry into the program is not dependent on departmental major or year in Drake University.

AFROTC offers a Graduate Law Program, which guarantees duty as a legal officer following successful completion of all law school, AFROTC and bar requirements. Interested students should contact the AFROTC department for more information. Air Force ROTC may be taken in conjunction with nursing programs leading to a bachelor's degree.

Additional information regarding Air Force Officer Education may be obtained from the Air Force Aerospace Studies Department at Iowa State University. Call 515-294-1716 or view the Web site at

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