Honors Education

Honors education is characterized by in-class and extracurricular activities that are measurably broader, deeper, or more complex than than comparable learning experiences typically found at institutions of higher education. 

Honors experiences include a distinctive learner-centered environment and philosophy, provide opportunities that are appropriately tailored to fit the institution's culture and mission, and frequently occur within a close community of students and faculty. 

Honors Pedagogy

There is no single way to teach an Honors course, and faculty are encouraged to think creatively and flexibly about how to structure Honors courses to challenge and support student learning and development. Approaches that Honors faculty have previously used with success include:

  • Team teaching by faculty with different disciplinary backgrounds
  • Intensive use of original or primary sources (as opposed to relying primarily on compiled textbooks)
  • Extensive creative or writing assignments
  • Independent research, unusual scholarly products, or extramural/community evaluation
  • Intensive discussion-based class sessions or Oxford tutorial-style teaching methods
  • Course projects focused on service and civic engagement
Honors Course Types

Students can earn Honors credit through Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars, Honors sections of General Education courses, and Honors sections of departmental courses. Honors courses provide faculty opportunities to teach topics of special interest or to experiment with new pedagogical approaches. Most courses are taught seminar-style with fewer than 20 students.

Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars

Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars are offered under designated course numbers (HON 200 or HON 300) for three credits. They feature topics that span disciplinary boundaries. These seminars may juxtapose perspectives, integrate knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines, or engage sources of knowledge that transcend or are at the margins of individual disciplines.

Honors Sections of General Education and Departmental Courses

An Honors section of a General Education course or a departmental course should meet the same learning objectives as its non-Honors equivalent but will typically have smaller student enrollment to allow instructors to incorporate activities or assignments that may be infeasible in larger sections. These sections use the same course numbers as their non-Honors equivalents and carry an -H designation on student transcripts.

Proposing an Honors Course

The Honors College invites proposals for Honors courses.

Faculty should discuss their interest in teaching Honors General Education courses with their unit head, who can coordinate, as appropriate, with the relevant area coordinator. Faculty will not be scheduled to teach Honors seminars without the prior approval of their unit head or the person responsible for the assignment of their workload.

Proposals for Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars and Honors sections of other departmental courses should be submitted to the Honors College using the form available at the link below. Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, but should generally be submitted at least one full semester prior to the proposed offering to ensure adequate time to coordinate course scheduling with the faculty member's home department and the Registrar.

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