Honors Program Curriculum
Mind-Expanding Classes—Different, Not More
The Honors Program is meant to enrich your college experience rather than piling on extra work. To that end, we have designed a curriculum that allows you exemptions from certain core classes in exchange for completing levels of Honors coursework.
You also have flexibility in fulfilling upper lever Honors requirements—Honors electives, study abroad, writing a departmental honors paper or honors thesis—all of these qualify for Honors credit.
Honors classes are enhanced by field trips, guest speakers and a variety of hands-on activities and special projects. In keeping with the collaborative nature of the program, students meet as a group to decide on the topics of their senior seminars and suggest faculty they would like to teach them.
Students take two seminar classes, FYS 101H in the fall semester and HON 102 in the spring. In addition, most students start their language requirement in the first semester, depending on placement. Check with your advisor and the Honors directors for recommendations.
The fall seminar is co-taught by professors from different disciplines and explores the purpose and history of a liberal arts education. Students will acquire and hone skills in critical thinking, writing, and speaking.
Class field trips for the fall seminar have included:
- The National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
- Performances at Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C.
- Zipline and obstacle course outing at Tree Trekkers in Frederick County
- Walking tour of war and political memorials, Washington D.C.
- Escape room adventures at ClueIQ in Frederick
- The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.
In the spring semester, students may choose one of four different sections of HON102. Each section takes an interdisciplinary approach to the sciences and technology in relation to society.
Some sample classes:
- Not Sustainable: Environmental Burnout and Resilience
- Are Humans Unique?
- Plagues and Peoples
- Thinking about Thinking: Phantom Limbs, Blindsight, and Your Brain
- GIS and Historical Studies
- Nature’s Medicine Chest
Class field trips for the spring seminar have included:
Students take two seminar classes, Hon 201 in the fall semester and Hon 202 in the spring. In addition, most students finish their language requirement (through the 202 level) in the second semester of their second year, depending on placement. Check with your advisor and the Honors directors for recommendations.
Students can choose from a menu of classes that focus on global issues and differing cultural perspectives for HON 201, the fall seminar. They will be encouraged to imagine the world from many points of view and challenged to examine how they think about and interact with the global community.
- Constructing Identity in North Africa
- Religion and Empire
- Pharaohs of the Sun: Akenaten to Tutankamun
- Ethics and Globalization
Class field trips for HON 201 have included:
- Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C.
- Islamic Center, Washington D.C.
- Dinner at Marrakesh Palace, Washington, D.C.
- Crime Museum, Washington D.C.
Students will work closely with a faculty advisor of their choice for the spring semester practicum. Each student chooses a social or intellectual problem to address, writes a research paper and works at an off-campus site, gaining experience and connections that may also lead to paid employment or help determine a future career. The broad, overarching theme of this class is social justice, but the sites students at which students have chosen to volunteer are many and varied.
Recent practicum sites have included:
- Heartly House
- Frederick Memorial Hospital
- UNESCO Center for Peace
- Delaplaine Visual Arts Center
- David Trone Congressional Campaign
- Legal Aid
- Catoctin Nature Center
- Civil War Medicine Museum
- Lincoln Elementary School
- Advanced Biofuels
- Days End Farm
- Monocacy National Battlefield
Sample research papers:
- “Power Shifting and Getting in Gear: The Youth Movement Toward a Sustainable Future” Site: Energy Action Coalition
- “19th Century Health Care” Site: National Museum of Civil War Medicine
- “Environmental Justice Through the Eyes of the Deep Ecologist” Site: Catoctin Zoo
- “Slavery and Social Injustice”
- “Acid Victims: A Spotlight on Social Injustices Faced by Women in South Asian Countries” Site: Frederick Memorial Hospital
Students choose upper-level honors electives from a wide array of options. Students may also elect to study abroad; sites chosen by Honors students include France, Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Israel, Korea and New Zealand. Study abroad counts as one honors elective. Students who successfully complete a departmental honors paper also receive credit for one honors elective.
Sample Honors electives:
- African Political Autobiography
- Images of Women (team-taught by an archaeologist and a historian)
- Law and Cyberspace (team-taught by a lawyer and a computer scientist)
- Dante and Giotto (team-taught by a literary critic and an art historian)
- Censorship in America (team-taught by a political scientist and a journalist)
- Frederick – Colony to Suburb
- Revisioning Motherhood in Modern Western Culture
- The Chesapeake Bay
- Philosophy of Music
- American Landscapes: Environmental Literature in the US
- Exploring Utopia
- Orientalism and Egyptomania
Class field trips for upper-level electives have included:
- Dinner at Mediterranean Grill, Frederick, Md.
- Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.
- Maryland State Police Computer Forensics Lab, Columbia, Md.
- Special Beginnings Birthing Center, Arnold, Md.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The senior seminar is a high point of the honors program. Students choose a topic of broad interest and select a faculty member to teach the course. Sample seminar classes:
- Beauty and Culture
- Investigating Serial Killers
- Heroes and Monsters
- The Politics of Music
- Science Fiction: Text and Context
- Shakespeare’s Tempest and its Ramifications
- Doing and Undoing Gender
- America in the Sixties
Honors 470 field trips have included:
- Performance of "American Idiot" at the Hippodrome in Baltimore
- National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.