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Above all, Honors is about challenging yourself. You are what you speak, think, do, and believe. And that demands reflection on your life, your community, and the challenges of wider society. Honors exists to encourage you to reflect on your place in the world – where you are now and where you would wish to be. It also exists to give you the tools, techniques, and strategies to plan your adventure, reach your greatest potential, and inspire and empower others.

The best Honors courses stimulate students and faculty to explore and reimagine the creative connections between the world’s problems and their possible solutions. They heighten your native curiosity and help you imagine new futures. They give you entrée into a remarkable community of stimulating thinkers and committed leaders. Honors courses emphasize deep thinking, discussion and persuasion, and challenge students to apply developing skills, tools, and resources in conscientious and imaginative ways. 

There are several types of Honors classes:

Current Courses
Fall 2017

This schedule does not reflect whether a class is open or closed for enrollment.

Check MyMadison for the most accurate enrollment information.


Previous Semesters
Honors Sections of Regular University Courses

The Honors College offers Honors sections of regularly offered university courses. These courses appear in the Schedule of Classes with a normal departmental designator and number followed by an H (e.g., POSC 225H). These courses may count toward General Education requirements, major requirements, or elective credits. They cover the essential content of the regular non-Honors courses as described in the university catalog, but also include experiences appropriate to Honors study.

Honors sections of departmental courses offer closer contact with faculty mentors, opportunities to share a passion for learning in an invigorating environment, and critical skills useful to those interested in post-baccalaureate research, graduate work, professional training, or similar intellectual challenges. Departmental Honors sections may encourage you to think about problems or angles to address in an Honors Capstone Project, a portfolio of creative works, or departmental research with a faculty member. Honors sections also build community between undergraduate scholars within departments and majors, which may lead to special opportunities for independent study or special events, lectures, and field trips.

Honors Seminars

The Honors College also offers unique, inter- or cross-disciplinary Honors Seminars designed specifically to explore a range of complex and cutting-edge topics not easily covered in departments or majors. These courses share the features of small classes and unique styles of teaching, but also a comparison of perspectives which promotes boundary crossing, bridge building, and integration across the disciplines. The seminars carry an HON prefix (e.g., HON 300). They are offered at the 200 and 300 levels.

Honors seminars are defined as much by the students who enroll as by the subjects under study. Because they include students from many majors, experiences, and backgrounds, they promote a broader and deeper vision of what it means to know, understand, and do. Honors seminars are highly collaborative and require competence and effectiveness, excellent communication skills, and trust from team members. Team-based approaches found in these seminars push the problem and best practices leading to solutions, rather than individual academic specialties.

Honors seminars encourage dialogue, relationship, and understanding across lines of difference. Here you will find your own voice and pursue interests leading to a more sophisticated understanding of a complex field that requires knowledge gleaned from more than one discipline. Active participation in inter- and cross-disciplinary learning, as well as mastery of a range of methods, may lead to thematic connections with your Honors Capstone Project, portfolio of creative work, or advanced departmental research under the guidance of a faculty member. 

Areas of Emphasis

The Honors College’s Areas of Emphasis is a signature series of linked seminars organized around extended learning and practicing “skills for success.” Students gain background and first-hand experience in one of the following areas:

  • Creativity
  • Global studies
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Service and Civic Engagement

The signature Area of Emphasis sequence consists of two 3-credit hour seminars usually taken during your sophomore year. To complete this Area of Emphasis, an elective 1-3 hour practicum can be taken in the junior year. Similar suites of courses like these are often available only in graduate and professional programs.

The Areas of Emphasis are Honors courses focused on the acquisition of affective skills, methodologies, and analytical techniques and tools that will give you a competitive edge as a practitioner in the professional world. They are designed to supplement the theoretical and substantive aspects of JMU’s academic curriculum delivered in General Education and across the disciplines. You will be introduced to qualitative, analytical, and strategic decision-making skills. The focus is on understanding personal motivation, values, and goal setting, rather than mere textbook study. Area of Emphasis classes are a valuable complement to the academic, technical, and liberal education provided by a JMU degree. The Areas of Emphasis encourage mastery of skills useful in the Honors Capstone Project and other academic pursuits. 

Learn more.
Honors Seminars Abroad

Studying abroad is more than just sightseeing; it’s education with an edge – an exercise in global citizenship. The Honors College mounts a number of special Honors Seminar Abroad programs for 6-credit hours each spring and summer. 

For all Honors students, study abroad facilitates first-hand immersion in new cultures, an expansion of your worldview, and a new appreciation of things taken for granted. Our Honors Study Abroad directors will also encourage you to think about your own personal reasons for wanting to go abroad. You may simply want a better view of a nation’s people, history, and culture. Exploring a different culture offers exposure to interests and activities unavailable in your own backyard. Honors Study Abroad may open you up to career opportunities, formal education abroad, and challenging new environments.

Burnish your JMU degree with Honors Study Abroad. Employers and graduate schools routinely look for study abroad experiences as evidence of curiosity, independence, and diversity. Study abroad shows your unique commitment to respond responsibly – both locally and globally. You may even discover a fascinating topic for future study back home at JMU. 

Learn more.
Honors Capstone Project

Explicit in the student-centered model of Honors education is the idea that faculty members and students are partners in learning. At JMU, student learning is the paramount indicator of institutional success. The Honors Capstone Project is the culminating experience that challenges you to showcase your learning and skills through meaningful departmental research, a portfolio of experiences, creative endeavors and productions, and sharing with the wider public.

You receive course credit for the Honors Capstone Project by registering for three consecutive 499 courses. This typically begins in the spring semester of the junior year. Discipline-specific capstone courses are offered through your major(s). Inter- and cross-disciplinary capstones are offered by the Honors College.

The Senior Capstone Project is student-selected with the guidance of a faculty advisor and committee. It is directed towards individualized learning in the sense that the project is tailored to your unique interests or career goals, as well as your pathway towards a personal mastery of knowledge and skills. It also involves one-to-one tutoring for every Honors student based on their preferences and needs. The Honors Capstone isn’t something that “just happens” to you; it leans heavily on your training and development at JMU and in the Honors College. The Honors Capstone Project powerfully demonstrates your abilities as an engaged and enlightened scholar-citizen who has “learned how to learn.”  It also states to future employers and professional programs that you have the ability to finish an extended, time-intensive, and intellectually demanding project. No other single project within your undergraduate education will compare. 

Learn more.
Honors Options

The Honors College allows you to earn Honors credit for a non-Honors upper level (200 or above) JMU course not regularly offered as an Honors course. The mechanism for optional study is a formal agreement, co-signed by an Honors student and a JMU professor, in a course of your choice. Students complete additional or enhanced assignments in the course in order to make them eligible for Honors elective credit.

Option courses provide you with the freedom to custom-tailor a part of your curriculum in order to enhance your personal, academic, and/or professional interests. You will get to know your professors and begin exploring topics that can lead into other courses like the Honors Areas of Emphasis and Honors Seminars, as well as the Honors Capstone Project.

Challenge yourself beyond what is required of a traditional JMU course.

Learn more.

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