Academic Information

Special Programs

The Honors Program

Program Overview

The unique Honors Program at Drake University offers undergraduate and Pharmacy students discussion-based, reading- and writing-intensive courses on interdisciplinary and ever-changing topical issues. It is designed for motivated students who want to actively participate in challenging seminar courses.

Students at Drake University may use the Honors Track as a way to fulfill their general education requirements. Instead of taking Areas of Inquiry (AOI) coursework, students can take six Honors courses as an alternative to AOIs. The one-hour Honors Practicum, while not counting towards the Honors Track, is a good introduction to the Honors Program goals and vision.

Program Options

Honors Track



One Quantitative Literacy AOI course


One Artistic Experience AOI course


One Physical or Life Science AOI course


HONR 100 - Paths to Knowledge


15 additional HONR electives




University Honors

Students may earn the "University Honors" distinction on their Drake transcript and diploma by meeting the following requirements:

  • Complete the Honors Track
  • Earn a “B” or better in an Honors Senior Thesis capstone project
  • Graduate with a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA

Other Requirements

  • No more than two Honors or Honors cross-listed courses from the same department or school may count toward the five Honors elective courses.
  • No more than two study-away experiences (3 credit hours each) may count towards the Honors Track.
  • A student may apply only one summer web course (cross-listed with Honors) toward Honors Track requirements.
  • Courses satisfying the required Areas of Inquiry (AOIs) for Artistic Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, and Life/Physical Lab Science also meet the required Honors Track AOIs. Post-secondary degree options (college credit, AP and IB approved courses) also may meet these requirements.

Honors Program web site


Program Overview

The cross-enrollment allows full-time students from one participating institution to enroll in one course from another participating institution without having to pay the host institution's tuition.  Guidelines were originally adopted by the Des Moines Area Consortium for Higher Education (DMACHE) in 1975 and amended in 1992, 2003, and 2009 to reflect changes in the cross-enrollment program. The agreement has received approval of the presidents of the three DMACHE institutions: Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Drake University, and Grand View University.


  • The DMACHE cross-enrollment program is available only for the fall and spring semesters.
  • Only full-time undergraduate students enrolled at one of the three Consortium institutions will be allowed to participate. Full-time status will be determined by the home institution.
  • A maximum of 75 students from each home institution will be allowed to enroll at each host institution during each semester.
  • Participating students will be allowed to take only one course under the program at only one of the other two institutions.
  • Students must establish their eligibility to participate in the program through the registrar's office at their home institution.
  • Students wishing to cross-enroll may not register as a regular student and then later request to be switched over to be considered a cross-enrolled student.
  • Cross-enrolled students must abide by the start and end dates, policies, and procedures set by the host institution.
  • Each institution will determine which classes will be available for cross-enrollment. A list of excluded courses will be available in each institution's registrar's office and on their cross-enrollment web pages.
  • Each home institution will verify students' eligibility on a tuition waiver form. The waiver must be delivered to the host institution where the registration process will be completed.
  • Students participating in the cross-enrollment program will obtain approval for course enrollment and prerequisites using appropriate procedures of their home institutions.
  • No change to cross-enrollment (other than drops) may occur later than five business days prior to the start of the semester at the host institution.
  • There will be no tuition charges. The students will be allowed to take the course based on the full-time tuition they paid at their home institution. However, the student is responsible for fees associated with the course.
  • Grades will be assigned according to the host institution's grading policies.
  • Each host institution will generate an academic transcript of each participant and will automatically send the transcript to the home institution at the end of each term.
  • Credits will be transferred back to the home institution and may be applicable toward the student's program of study. Advisors should consult with the appropriate registrar or departmental representative if transferability is questionable.
  • This cross-enrollment agreement will be reviewed and renewed/revised no later than December 31 of each year for the coming academic year by the registrars of the participating institutions.

Cross-Enrollment web site

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 and gain admittance to the program. 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


Pre-Engineering 3+2 Pathway with Washington University


This is a dual-degree program where students earn a bachelor’s degree at Drake and an engineering degree at Washington University in St. Louis, MO within 5 years. Students take all the general education courses at Drake University as well as three years of courses in the major of their choice following the B.S. or B.A. curricula and then, upon satisfactory completion of the coursework, transfer to Washington University to finish a program in an engineering field of their choice. Students will transfer back courses from Washington University to complete their Drake University degree. With advisor approval, some of the courses from Washington University could count towards their Drake University degree. At the end they acquire two Bachelor’s degrees, one from Drake University and one in Engineering from Drake University. Undergraduate engineering fields at Washington University include biomedical, chemical, computer, electrical, environmental, mechanical, and systems science.  

A Master’s degree option is also available through Washington University, with even further specializations. At least one extra year will be required at Washington University to complete an additional Master’s degree.

Students can opt to stay at Drake for three or four years, and opt to stay at Washington University for two years for the undergraduate degree, or three for the Master’s degree in Engineering. Academic plans are individualized based on a student’s major at Drake and the engineering path at Washington University, in consultation with the college offices and student’s academic advisors. Students who wish to have financial aid at both institutions will have to earn both degrees simultaneously, so the awarding of the Drake degree will not occur until the Washington University degree is completed. All Drake Curriculum requirements (First Year Seminar, Blueprints for Success, Areas of Inquiry/Honors, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion designated course, Capstone, and Upper-Level Hours (at least 40 credits of courses numbered 100 and above) must be completed before transferring to Washington University.

Admission to Washington University is based on a cumulative 3.25 GPA and a science/math 3.25 GPA, earning at least 90 credit hours, and completing the core requirements below. Certain engineering programs have additional requirements to be admitted to the program. For more admissions information for Washington University, and more information about the Washington University program, please go to their website: Dual Degree Program | McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (


During the first three years, 3+2 pre-engineering participants must take the following basic science core courses, then optional secondary courses based on engineering interests.

Course Credits
Basic Science Core
MATH 050 – Calculus I 3
MATH 070 – Calculus II 3
MATH 080 – Linear Algebra 3
MATH 100 – Calculus III 3
MATH 110 – Variable Calculus 3
MATH 120 – Differential Equations I 3
MATH 121 – Differential Equations II 3
CHEM 001 – General Chemistry I 3
CHEM 003 – General Chemistry I Lab 1
CS 065 – Intro to Computer Science I 3
PHY 001 – Intro to Physics I 4
PHY 002 – Intro to Physics II 4
Complete all requirements for a major Varies
Complete all Drake Curriculum requirements (AOIs, Honors, First Year Seminar, Blueprint for Success, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion designated course, Capstone, 40 upper-level credits.) Varies
Electives at the undergraduate level Varies
Biomedical Engineering additional requirements  
BIO 012: General/Pre-professional Biology I 3
BIO 012L: General/Pre-professional Biology I Lab 1
CHEM 002: General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 004: General Chemistry II Lab 1
Chemical Engineering additional requirements*  
BIO 012: General/Pre-professional Biology I 3
BIO 012L: General/Pre-professional Biology I Lab 1
CHEM 002: General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 004: General Chemistry II Lab 1
CHEM 097: Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 098: Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
CHEM 108: Organic Chemistry II (recommended) 3
CHEM 110: Organic Chemistry II Lab (recommended) 1
Environmental Engineering additional requirements  
BIO 012: General/Pre-professional Biology I 3
BIO 012L: General/Pre-professional Biology I Lab 1
CHEM 002: General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 004: General Chemistry II Lab 1
CHEM 097: Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 098: Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering recommended courses**  
PHY 050: Modern Physics 4
PHY 059: Advanced Lab I 2
PHY 121: Theoretical Mechanics 4
PHY 122: Electromagnetic Theory 4
PHY 133 (with lab): Electronics 4
PHY 149: Advanced Lab II 2

Students may transfer courses from Washington University towards their Drake University majors based on advisor approval. Students must complete their capstone before transferring to Washington University

The requirements above are the bare minimum requirements to be accepted into the program. Students should allow flexibility for courses that can supplement their foundational knowledge in the engineering programs of their choice before transferring to Washington University. Since this is an accelerated program, students will need to be particularly proactive in degree planning with their advisors in order to meet Drake University degree requirements, Washington University pre-requisites, and foundational classes that will help support career interests.

*Students pursuing the Chemical Engineering pathway are highly recommended to be a Chemistry major.

**Students pursuing the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering pathway are highly recommended to be a physics major.

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.