Honors Courses

The cornerstone of the University Honors Program is its unique curriculum. Students who enter the program as freshmen take an honors seminar each semester through the spring of their junior year. These seminars are normally team-taught interdisciplinary courses that emphasize discussion and challenge students to think critically and creatively about the material they are studying. The details of each course may change from one semester to another, but the general contours of the seminar sequence remain stable:

 

Year 1

Fall

HONR 1757

The Hero’s Journey

Challenges students to consider the idea of the heroic, especially as it pertains to their own lives and to the time they will spend at AUM. Special emphasis is placed on the nature and value of education and the question “what does it mean to be an educated person?” Readings include The Apology of Socrates, 1984, and Brave New World.

Spring

HONR 1757

Being Human

Uses a diverse set of readings from the humanities and sciences to encourage students to think through what it means to be a human being, in the broadest sense of the phrase.

Year 2

Fall

HONR 2757

The Problem of Other People

This course employs Plato’s famous treatise on the well-ordered society, The Republic. Issues to be discussed may include the nature of law, controversial social issues, or any other aspect of the challenges posed by our desire to live in society with our fellow human beings.

Spring

HONR 2757

Seeing the Unseen

Much of what we believe, from the mundane to the cosmically significant, is based on considerations not immediately accessible by our senses: memories, the testimony of others, logical inferences, etc. This course asks students to consider the details, merits, and implications of some of these beliefs. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is a required text.

Year 3

Fall

HONR 3757

Research Seminar

The theme of this course, and the readings that are required, is determined entirely by the professors who teach the course (with approval from the Honors Committee). It must include a substantive research project, preferably with the opportunity for students to connect their research to their major field of study. The goal is to prepare students for the honors thesis projects they will complete in Year 4.

Spring

HONR 3757

Challenging the Process

This course focuses on the nature of leadership and the cultivation of leadership skills, in whatever domain(s) the faculty teaching the course choose to emphasize. Students work in teams to design a proposal for a substantive service project, with the intention that one or more of the proposals will be implemented by the Service Committee of the Honors Assembly the following year.

 

Honors students also take a one-credit hour, pass/fail course known as the honors colloquium. This course is taken three times, and honors students are encouraged to take it in each of its three main forms:

  • the book-of-the-month club version, in which the instructor (frequently a senior university leader rather than a member of the regular teaching faculty) leads discussion of a series of readings
  • the fine arts version, which emphasizes critical appreciation of the visual and/or performing arts
  • the service and leadership version, which is likely to include participation in a service learning project through the course of the semester.

Other options for honors students at AUM include departmental honors courses (e.g., BIOL 1017, COMM 1017, PHIL 2007, etc.), special topics courses (HONR 1997, 2997, 3997, and 4997; these can be taken as general electives), and honors by contract courses, in which a student designs a project that supplements normal course requirements and enables the student to earn honors credit for a regular AUM course.