The primary mission of the Pierre Laclede Honors College is to enrich the educational experiences of its students by providing a challenging general education curriculum based chiefly on the traditional disciplines of the arts and sciences. The Honors College accepts and seeks to embody the rationale for General Education laid down by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. With these ambitious goals in mind, the Honors College admits undergraduates who have the potential to act as producers, rather than consumers, of their own education. The Honors program encourages students to cultivate their creative capacities through a seminar-based pedagogy where students' work is judged on the quality of their ideas and the firmness of their foundation in academic study, in critical thought, in clear expression, and in personal and cultural experience. Thus the College seeks to foster an intellectual climate in which democracy, diversity, excellence, and civility are fundamental, coequal values and to produce graduates whose liberal education readies them for a lifetime of learning in, and from, a professedly civil, democratic, diverse, and meritocratic society.

From this primary mission spring several others. The Honors College aims also:

  • To serve the whole University as a laboratory for educational innovation;
  • To encourage critical thinking in the University about new departures in the general education requirement;
  • To cultivate undergraduates' capacity to undertake independent study and supervised research;
  • To exploit the University's location by offering the city and region as subjects for study, as resources for study, and as sources of cultural and intellectual enrichment;
  • To reinforce the University's International and National Student Exchange programs by encouraging Honors students to participate in these programs and by offering its courses to incoming exchange students; and
  • To advance the University's urban land-grant mission through offering a high quality liberal education to a diverse student population and to assist the University's efforts to recruit highly qualified students for all divisions of the University.