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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.

Freshman UHP students take about half of their first-year classes within the Program. Most are asked to enroll for UHP seminars that complete their core Cultures & Ideas, critical thinking and writing, and religious studies requirements. UHP freshmen fill out their curriculum with other Honors classes as well as other university courses.

A full list of UHP courses for the Winter 2016 quarter can be found UHP Winter 2016 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

Download: Course-Contract form

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 2015-2016:

Fall 2014

  • Created or Evolved? The Human Being in Religion and Science  (Oliver Putz, Religious Studies)
Winter 2015
  • Genetics and Medicine (Leilani Miller, Biology)
  • Technology for Social Justice (Keith Warner, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship)
Spring 2015
  • What it Means to be Juvenile (Michelle Bezanson, Anthropology)
  • Friendship and Film (Mike Meyer, Philosophy)
  • Immigration Politics in Europe: Reverse Colonization (Diana Morlang, Political Science)
  • HNRS 120AW: Entrepreneurship for Social Justice (E4SJ) (Thane Kreiner, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship)

Download: 2015-2016 HNRS 20 Courses

For previous years, Download: HNRS 20: Difficult Dialogues Course Descriptions




"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