Institute Honors Program

The Institute Honors Program enriches the academic experience of VMI's outstanding cadets through activities that encourage an affinity for intellectual inquiry and develop the capacity for sophisticated engagement of issues and problems, whether ethical, civic, or professional.

Honors Cadets have access to mini-grants for special projects and activities; support for senior project/thesis research through the VMI Center for Undergraduate Research; and events organized especially for them, including meetings with distinguished guests on Post and trips to sites of interest.   

Honors Cadets are viewed as VMI’s prime candidates for prestigious national awards such as the Marshall, Rhodes, Gates Cambridge, Truman, and Goldwater scholarships. Those who complete the program are certified as Distinguished Graduates with Institute Honors at commencement.

Admission / Continuance

Admission to the program is guaranteed for Institute Scholars and open by application to any other cadet with a cumulative GPA > 3.5. New cadets with exceptional high school records may apply for admission prior to matriculation. Continuation in the program requires maintenance of a cumulative GPA > 3.5 and engagement in program activities.


  • HN 100 – Honors Forum – every semester
  • One HNS elective (3 credits): Honors Seminar in Science or Engineering
  • One HNL elective (3 credits):  Honors Seminar in the Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Senior Honors Project/Thesis (6 credits)

Program admission decisions for incoming cadets are made after matriculation. Applicants will be contacted in August for interviews.



Honors Program in the News

Find out more about the cadet research projects and the Honors program in recent VMI news.

Dylan Palmer '24 presented his VMI honors thesis, “Drone Countermeasures, Ethics, and Drones’ Effects on a Modern Battlefield.”

Palmer Debates the Ethics of Drones

According to Dylan Palmer '24, the nature of unmanned systems inherently reduces the risk to operators conducting missions during wartime. He presented his honors thesis, “Drone Countermeasures, Ethics, and Drones’ Effects on a Modern Battlefield" during VMI's Honors Week.

Abigail Basener presents her senior thesis during VMI's honors week on detecting AI-generated writing vs. student writing.

Basener Creates Model to Detect Computer Generated Writing

Abigail Basener '24 addressed plagiarizing and cheating concerns when it comes to the use of Artificial Intelligence during her thesis presentation, “Detecting AI-Generated Writing vs. Student Writing,” for VMI's Honor's Week.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders