Past Honors Courses

Past Honors Courses

Honors students have been able to choose from a wide variety of courses to satisfy their honors requirements. Here are a few that have been taught over the past several years.

Philosophy and Literature in Western Culture

This course explores the fundamental issues of human existence through the traditions of Western philosophy expressed in literature. We’ll read the works of several key philosophers and examine literature that engages directly with these ideas. Literary texts will range across time periods and genres. We’ll look at broader questions such as: What is humanity’s relation to the universe? Does existentialism only begin in the modern era?

Introduction to Well-Being and Positive Psychology

This course is an introduction into the area of psychology that studies how ordinary people can live to be happier and fulfilled. Already in this new field of study, significant effort has gone into examining how choices made by people in matters of relationships, leisure, work, health, creativity and love can contribute to flourishing and thriving. We will also look at how character strength, creativity, spirituality and flow influence well-being.

The Art of Transgression

The human impulse toward transgression is as ancient as human consciousness and has produced tragedy and horror as well as soaring advances in knowledge, technology, and spiritual understanding. It has also left us with a rich legacy of painting, sculpture, film, music, and literature that challenges the scope and limitations of human expression. This course will explore some of those representations

Crime and Detection in World Literature

“Crime and its detection” is an enormously popular subject of recreational reading across the world and a fascinating topic for analysis of cultural attitudes toward morality, the individual and society, personal freedom and control, and concepts of value. This course explores these issues, and asks how literary texts employ strategies and trajectories to create doubt, knowledge, and suspense in the reader.

Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy

Science is frequently in the news. That’s because it affects our everyday lives, shapes our view of the world and our place in it, and profoundly affects our future. We will discuss several controversies within science (including stem cell therapy, emerging diseases and climate change), examining why each topic is in the news, the reality of the science behind it, and how accurately it is portrayed in the media.

Introduction to Media Effects: Conspiracy Theory

According to the conspiracy culture, the government, big business, the church, and aliens are concealing some of the biggest secrets in American and world history. This course explores conspiracy theories and conspiracy theory films.

The Science of Physics  

This discussion-based seminar examines the historical development and significance of physical science, with emphasis on the nature of physics and its role in modern life,  for students in non-technical majors.


More than 400 years after his plays first appeared on stage, Shakespeare retains incomparable popularity. His plays are still performed across the world, from high-tech theaters to one-room pubs, prisons, and parks. What is the source of this staying power? Why does Shakespeare still speak so clearly to us?

World Literature

This course presents masterpieces of world literature from the ancient past to the present, and will help you understand and appreciate a work of literature from any time or place more fully.

Film History and Theory

Everybody likes movies. Everybody has an opinion. In this class you will learn a lot about film technique, how it has changed over time, and how it is used to elicit a response from the audience. 

The Hero in World Literature 

This course explores the way the figure of the hero/heroine functions as a vehicle for expressing social and cultural values in world literature. Course materials include literary texts from ancient to contemporary times, as well as films, graphic novels, and diverse cultural products. 

Modern Science, Technology, and Human Values   

This course explores how science and technology have affected the way humans think about themselves, their society, and their place in the universe. We will start with an intense effort to understand exactly what science is and we will explore the effects that science has on us.