Guy T. McBride, Jr. Honors Program in Public Affairs

Program Educational Objectives

The McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs offers an honors minor consisting of seminars courses with the primary goal of providing a select number of students the opportunity to cross the boundaries of their technical expertise into the ethical, cultural, socio-political, and environmental dimensions of human life. Students will develop their skills in communication, critical and creative thinking, and leadership through seminar style classes that explore diverse aspects of the human experience. The seminars are designed to offer coherent perspectives across the curriculum, allowing for a maximum degree of discussion and debate on complex topics. Themes, approaches, and perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences are integrated with science and engineering perspectives to develop in students habits of thought necessary for a comprehensive understanding of societal and cultural issues that enhance critical thinking, creativity, social responsibility, and enlightened leadership.

Program Description

The McBride Honors Program minor is a 21 credit hour curriculum.

The Program is delivered primarily in an interdisciplinary seminar format that maximizes discussion, debate, and innovative activities. Seminars are taught by dedicated faculty members from the humanities, social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences, and engineering. The curriculum of the McBride Honors Program includes the following features and educational experiences:

  • Student-centered seminars guided by faculty collaborators from various disciplines.
  • An interdisciplinary approach that integrates domestic and global perspectives into the curriculum.
  • One-to-one long-lasting intellectual relationships and camaraderie among students and between faculty and students.
  • The development and practice of oral/written communication, argumentation, and listening skills.
  • The opportunity to develop an individualized learning experience which may involve study abroad, service learning, research, entrepreneurial projects, and/or professional internships.

An important experience in the Program is engaging in a Practicum (e.g. an internship, overseas study, public service, or undergraduate research experience). Because engineers and scientists will continue to assume significant responsibilities as leaders in public and private sectors, it is essential that CSM students be prepared for more than their traditional "first jobs". Leadership and management demand an understanding of the accelerating pace of change that marks the social, political, economic, and environmental currents of society and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Regardless of their career goals, however, this same understanding is demanded of an educated person in the contemporary world. While the seminars in the Program are designed to nourish such an understanding, these Practicum experiences allow students to see firsthand the kinds of challenges that they will face in their professional and personal lives and to engage with the world as their classroom.

Foreign study is also possible either through CSM-sponsored trips or through individual plans arranged in consultation with the Director and the Office of International Programs. The program offers some competitive funding opportunities to selected students to facilitate study abroad or other exceptional educational experiences. Please contact the Director or see the Program website for more information.

Student Profile

The McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs seeks to enroll students who can benefit most from the learning experiences upon which the Program is based while significantly contributing to the broader learning objectives of the McBride community. Most honors programs admit students exclusively on the basis of academic record. Although the McBride Honors Program uses SAT and ACT test scores, and grade point average as important indicators of success in the McBride Program, they form only part of the criteria used in the admission process. The McBride Program also examines extracurricular activities, interest in human affairs, evidence of a mindset of curiosity and exploration, and the willingness to engage actively in discussion and debate. Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to public service, their leadership potential, their intrinsic motivation to learn, willingness to understand and respect perspectives other than their own, and writing, listening, and speaking abilities.

Once admitted into the Program, a McBride student commits to:

  • completing the McBride curriculum as stated in the Catalog;
  • participating in the McBride seminars as an active and responsible member of the learning community, always completing reading and writing assignments on time in order to be ready to learn;
  • engaging in the highest level of intellectual discourse in a civil and respectful manner with all members of the CSM community, particularly with those who hold different beliefs, values, and views;
  • understanding that the McBride faculty are committed to provide the best education to help students become thoughtful and responsible persons, citizens, and professionals; and
  • upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct and the CSM Honor Code, particularly those related to academic honesty and respect for peers, instructors, and Program administrators.

Although the educational experiences in the McBride Honors Program are rigorous and demand a high degree of dedication from the students, McBride graduates have gained positions of their choice in industry, business, government, and within non-governmental organizations, or in other professions more easily than others, and have been successful in winning admission to high-quality graduate, law, medicine and other professional schools.


Students typically begin the Program in the fall of their sophomore year, although in some cases transfer students and juniors may join the program. Students should apply to the McBride Program by the deadline set by the Program, by filling out an application, submitting the required materials, and securing a letter of recommendation (see website for details:, and participating in an interview.

Note: Students must complete HASS100 Nature and Human Values or HNRS105 & HNRS115, Innovation and Discovery in Engineering, Arts and Sciences, prior to, or concurrently with, enrolling in the first course, HNRS305 Explorations in Modern America or HNRS315 Explorations in the Modern World.

Humanities & Social Science (H&SS) Core Curriculum Requirements

Students completing the McBride Honors Program are required to complete HASS100"Nature and Human Values," or HNRS105 & HNRS115, "Innovation and Discovery in Engineering, Arts and Sciences " and EBGN201, "Principles of Economics." McBride students who have completed HRNS315 are exempt from completing HASS200, "Human Systems."

Transfer and Graduation Policies

The McBride Program accepts applications from transfer students as follows:

Transfer students must complete and submit an application and participate in the interview process like other applicants under the time frame set by the Program. Transfer students should expect to complete the entire McBride curriculum, but under some circumstances, transfer students may petition the Director for course substitutions.

Academic Standards

Students must perform to the highest levels of writing, reading, and discussion in preparation for and during McBride seminars. Participation in class projects and discussions is essential. Students who do not maintain an appropriate level of participation and engagement may be asked to leave the Program.

Academic integrity and honesty are expected of all Mines students. Any infractions in these areas will be handled under the rules of CSM and the McBride Program and may result in dismissal from the Program. The Program demands a high level of achievement not only in Honors courses, but in all academic work attempted at CSM. To that end, a student must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA 2.9 is required for admission. Failure to meet the GPA requirement will result in voiding the invitation to join the McBride Program or being placed on probation for one semester.  If the required minimum GPA has not been met at the end of the probationary semester the student will be withdrawn from the Program.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in Honors coursework is required to remain in good academic standing in the Program. Students who drop below the minimum in their McBride coursework will be placed on probation for one semester. If the required minimum GPA has not been met at the end of the probationary semester, or in any subsequent semester, the student may be withdrawn from the Program.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.9 is required in all course work at CSM. Students who drop below a cumulative GPA of 2.9 will be placed on probation for one semester. If the required minimum GPA has not been met at the end of the probationary semester, or in any subsequent semester, the student will be withdrawn from the Program.
  • The minimum cumulative GPA and the minimum Honors GPA at the time of graduation are required in order to receive the "Minor in the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs." Graduating seniors who fall below these minima will receive a "Minor in Public Affairs" without the Honors designation if they choose to complete the Public Affairs minor instead of transferring their credits to the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Exemptions may be granted at the discretion of the program director.
  • If students wish to appeal their withdrawal from the McBride Honors Program, they must write a letter of appeal to the Director, who will review the student's case in consultation with McBride faculty.


The Curriculum Effective for Students Beginning Fall 2013

Each elective will follow a specific theme that provides an in-depth look at a particular problem or case study relating to the overarching topic of the course. These specific themes will change frequently. Prior to registration each semester, the course theme and description will be announced to all McBride students via email and posted on the McBride website. Students may take a given course twice if and only if the course theme is different.

Honors Core Courses (6 credits):
Honors Practicum Requirement (3 credits):
Honors Electives (12 credits):
Special Topics

Teaching Professor

Professor Toni Lefton, Executive Director, University Honors & Scholars Programs

Teaching Associate Professors

Professor Melanie Brandt, McBride Honors Program Director

Professor Justin Latici, McBride Practicum Advisor