The Morrissy Honors Program seeks to foster a broader worldview and develop a community of independent thinkers. Our program promotes serious inquiry and discussion by considering issues from a variety of viewpoints. The result is a greater ability to intelligently express your opinion through respectful dialogue.

The Honors Program brings together the best and brightest minds representing different majors at NDMU. They form a tight-knit community of active learners and global citizens who take part in unique experiential learning opportunities including study abroad, directed research, service learning, and conference presentations.

Named in honor of Elizabeth Morrissy, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of history, political science and economics at Notre Dame for 40 years, the Honors Program provides opportunities for students to experience the kind of excitement in learning that Dr. Morrissy inspired.

Program Benefits

Morrissy Scholars embrace many exclusive opportunities—from studying and gathering in the charming, cozy Otenasek House to experiencing new cultures and traveling abroad.

Leadership Opportunities

  • Participate in national, regional and state honors conferences
  • Serve on the Morrissy Honors Student Executive Board, an elected group that helps plan activities and events
  • Guide first-year students through the Morrissy Mentorship Program

Cultural Experiences & Study Abroad

  • Scholarship opportunities for two-week study tours abroad
  • International study abroad opportunity every two years
  • Dinners and other social activities in the Otenasek House
  • Baltimore outings including Center Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Opera and The Walters Art Museum​

Otenasek House

The Otenasek House of the Morrissy Honors Program provides welcoming study areas, a seminar room for classes as well as individual and group activities, and a comfortable lounge where students interact with other honors students and faculty.


  • Incoming students accepted to the Honors program receive Notre Dame’s largest and most prestigious merit scholarships
  • Honors courses are designated on student transcripts.
  • “Morrissy Scholar” is noted on transcripts (if required 18 credits of honors courses are completed).
  • Scholars are recognized publicly at Notre Dame’s annual fall Honors Convocation.
Student Achievements

Over the past two years, 22 students have had their proposals accepted to present their research at local, regional and national honors conferences.

National Collegiate Honors Conference, Orlando, FL October, 2021

  • Honors at 40: Learning about Our Past, Understanding the Present, and Planning the Future (Dr. Spratt, Dr. Moore, Kristina Pickering, and Jensen Armstrong)
  • Study Abroad COVID Style! Dr. Spratt and Julie Asbury
  • The Future of Civic Engagement- Jolisse Grey
  • Stepping out of the Page of 2020: Learning to Live in Honors in 2021, Kristina Pickering
  • Comparing the Use of Local Versus Systemic Antibiotic Treatments on Patient Outcomes and Surgical Site Infection Rates- Janelle Sangalang
  • Elucidating HMGA1 Pathways to Target in Therapy for Refractory MLL-rearranged Pediatric Leukemia- Fiedlia Assomani
  • Reinventing American Military and Foreign Policy Initiatives- Jolisse Grey
  • Gromphadorhina portentosa: A Novel Model of Chronic Burkholderia cepacia complex mimics cystic fibrosis- Kristina Pickering
  • Associations Between Benzodiazepine and Diphenhydramine Sedation Regarding the Treatment of Anxiety-Related Conditions- Zohra Ahmed

Northeast Regional Honors Conference, Philadelphia, PA April, 2022

Zohra Ahmed ‘23
Major: Psychology major with pre-medical concentration and biology minor
Research Title: Transdermal drug delivery application in psychiatry

Arianna Clark ‘24
Major: International Relations
Research Title: “And Where is the Union?”

Jolisse Gray Dec. ‘22
Major: International Relations
Research Tiitle: Digital Chaos: Exporting Digital Authoritarianism

Janelle Sangalang ‘22
Major: Biology Minor: Chemistry
Research Title: "Comparing the Use of Local Versus Systemic Antibiotic Treatments on Patient Outcomes and Surgical Site Infection rates"

Laura Forcha ‘22
Major: Nursing
Research Title: "How the Medical field is failing black mothers: the alarming rates of black maternal mortality."

Alycia Hancock “23
Major: Biology Major, Pre-Health concentration, Minor: Philosophy
Research Title: Gender and Self Expression in the New Normal

Kristina Pickering ‘22
Majors: Biology and Philosophy, pre-medicine track
Research Titles: Flourishing Joker? A Philosophical Analysis of the Joker (poster presentation)
Redefining the “Honor Student” in 2021 (video presentation)

Student Research

  • Sr. Alma Scholars:
    Zohra Ahmed, Julie AsburyAlycia Hancock

National Collegiate Honors Conference, Dallas, TX  November, 2022

  • Alycia Hancock, "Gender and Self Expression in Today's World"
  • Jolisse Gray, "(Not) Knowing is Half the Battle"
  • Kacey Vavaroutsos, Zohra Ahmed , Stimulation of Lactobaillus bulgaricus Growth
  • Prof. Schaaf, Alex Malinowski, Ruth Nicola, Jolisse Gray, Kacey Vavaroutsos, & Zohra Ahmed, "Gaming & Society: An Interdisciplinary Adventure into Next-Generation Skills"
  • Dr. Spratt, Jensen Armstrong, & Kristina Pickering, "Morrissy @ 40! An Oral History Project that Strengthened and Centered a Community"
  • Kristina Pickering ’22 served as a student representative on the Board of Directors for the honors governing body the National Collegiate Honors Conference from 2020 to 2022.

Research at other Conferences:

  • Jolisse Gray

Published Research:

  • Kristina Pickering ’22, "The Nietzschean Joker" in Illuminate Fall 2022
  • Zohra Ahmed ’23, “Transdermal Drug Delivery Application in Psychiatry” Vol. 3, 2021

Morrissy scholars continually receive departmental awards at Honors Convocation and Notre Dame Day. Also, many Morrissy students are members of honors societies including Sigma Tau Delta (English); Tri Beta (Biology); Kappa Mu Epsilon (Mathematics); and Delta Epsilon Sigma.

Morrissy Requirements
  • Students must maintain a 3.3 overall average and a B average in honors courses.
  • Honors courses cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis.
  • Students must register for at least one honors course per year.
  • Scholars must take six honors courses (18 credits) to complete the program.
  • The director reviews the records of Morrissy scholars at the end of each semester.
  • Those who are enrolled in “3/2” programs with other institutions must complete a minimum of 15 honors credits.
  • Three credits of honors work may be taken as an independent study with the approval of the faculty member concerned and the Morrissy director.
  • A semester or year of study abroad satisfies 3 credits (one course) of honors work.
  • Morrissy scholars are expected to participate in at least six Morrissy-sponsored events annually.
  • First-year students are required to participate in the Morrissy Mentoring Program.
Honors Courses

Courses offered: 

  • ART 310 Curating Culture: Museum and American Society
  • HIS 352 Educating Women in the United States
  • HIS-402 Women, War and Peace
  • IDS 326 Reading Rare Books
  • IDS-373 Cosmos and Creation: Religion and Science
  • IDS 374 Gaming and Society
  • POL 370 Model OAS
  • SOC-271 Psychology and Sociology of Gender Roles

Honors Councils

The University maintains membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), the Northeast Regional Honors Conference (NE-NCHC) and the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC).

headshot of evelyn spratt

Evelyn Spratt

Director of the Morrissy Honors Program, Associate Professor