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Honors Program




University Honors Program courses, with their characteristic small size and active student involvement, replace many required "core" courses. A seminar-style class typically consists of 15 to 17 members; it emphasizes critical reading, writing, and interaction among students and professors. Courses available exclusively to UHP students include distinctive, interdisciplinary Cultures & Ideas seminars, and special classes in critical thinking and writing, psychology, religious studies, and philosophy. The UHP also provides limited-enrollment courses, laboratories, and seminars in such fields as mathematics, chemistry, biology, English, and history.

First-year UHP students take about half of their first-year classes within the Program. Most are enrolled for UHP seminars that complete their core Cultures & Ideas and Critical Thinking and Writing requirements. UHP first-year students fill out their curriculum with other Honors classes as well as other university courses.

Contract Classes:

The student and the faculty member agree on a course of independent, mentored research conducted over the entire quarter that results in the student’s acquisition of a deeper and richer command of some aspect of the course material.  In some sense, the “contract” is the equivalent of an Oxford tutorial, with set meetings, a reading list, and expectations for an outcome.  The student should be afforded an opportunity to present the results of the research to the class.  Honors Contract courses are especially valuable in the student’s junior year as a precursor to the senior thesis and as an opportunity for students pursuing nationally competitive fellowships to develop a working relationship with a faculty member.

Download: Contract Course Guidelines 2018

Download: Contract Course Form 2018

HNRS 20 - Difficult Dialogues:

Freshman Seminar devoted to the analysis from different perspectives of some issue, text, or problem in the area of a professor's expertise. This course will hone critical thinking skills and provide students an opportunity to discuss and debate the toughest questions faced by society today.

HNRS 20 courses to be offered in 2018-2019:

Fall 2018

  • Wilderness: History of an Idea (Tim Lukes, Political Science)
Winter 2019
  • Food Systems: Sustainability and Change (Chris Bacon, Environmental Science and Studies)
  • Sex, Gender, and Identity (Stephen Carroll, English)
Spring 2019
  • Making Life Meaningful with the Ancient Greeks (Daniel Turkeltaub, Classics)
  • Free Speech, Hate Speech, and Civil Discourse (Lawrence Nelson, Philosophy)
  • Cancer, The Emperor of all Maladies (Angel Islas, Biology)

Class Grading Policy:

We do not allow any class that counts for honors to be taken as pass/no pass.  This includes all honors specific courses (classes with the H on the end), HNRS 20, any class that you are taking to count as an honors elective, any contract class you might take, any extra language course you take hoping to count towards honors, etc..
The only exception to that rule is HNRS 195, the senior thesis, which is P/NP for everybody.  




"All of your scholarship, all your study of Shakespeare and Wordsworth would be in vain if at the same time you did not build your character and attain mastery over your thoughts and your actions."

-Mahatma Gandhi