What is CHA?

The Commonwealth Honors Academy is an exciting, challenging academic enrichment program for outstanding high school students who have completed their junior year. Since its beginning in 2001, the Commonwealth Honors Academy has welcomed over 1700 students to learn, live, and grow on Murray State’s campus.

Upon completion of CHA, students will

  • receive six hours of university credit.
  • receive an in-state full-tuition scholarship with a 3.5 cumulative high school GPA and a minimum 25 ACT Composite score. Students who do not meet this criteria will have the opportunity to receive the Academic Achievement scholarship for First-time Freshmen students.
    Learn more about scholarships →

* Online and/or class fees may still be charged
** Excludes Racer and Thoroughbred Academy classes.

CHA is a unique opportunity

The Academy differs from the traditional high school in its approach to learning and in the creation of a living-learning community. CHA offers students a chance to know and make friends with other enthusiastic, energetic students with high intellectual capacities. The interaction of students with different backgrounds is one of the most valuable aspects of the academy.


There is no cost to students except for personal articles, snacks, incidental expenses, and a $250 tuition processing fee. Fee waived for students receiving free or reduced student lunch, or ACT Fee Waiver.

Selection Process

All students applying for the Commonwealth Honors Academy should have a 3.5 GPA (on a 4-point scale) and 25 Composite ACT (or the equivalent PSAT, SAT or another standardized test score). High school juniors throughout Kentucky as well as the Murray State University out-of-state service region are invited to apply.


Interdisciplinary Humanities & Fine Arts Course

All students enroll in an interdisciplinary humanities fine arts course. This course develops the Academy's theme, drawing material from the traditional humanities (e.g., history, literature, philosophy) and the Fine and Performing Arts (e.g., music, visual arts, theatre).

Elective Course

Each Academy student is enrolled in an elective course; subjects will vary according to the faculty members hired. Students selected will be given a chance to indicate their preferences for the available electives, and the Academy will attempt to match students with their top preferences. Each elective course will address the theme of the Commonwealth Honors Academy from its own perspective.


Each student participates in a seminar focused on issues of personal and social development. In small group discussions, students explore topics such as interpersonal communication, family and peer relationships, choosing a university, civic responsibility, and the relationship of the program's theme to their own lives.

Academy Reunion

An Academy reunion will take place in the following September. Students will be asked to return to the Murray State campus for a reunion to renew friendships, evaluate the academy, and receive certificates of achievement during a ceremony honoring Academy graduates. Parents are also invited to the reunion and will be given an opportunity to ask questions and receive information about college life.