Honors Course Lists
Spring 2014 Course Lists:
Previous Course Lists:
Purpose of an Honors Course :
To introduce a student to new material or new ways of thinking about material, as well as making the student more skilled in analysis and communication. In short, the Honors program seeks, through its courses, to make a student more educated through an interactive classroom environment.
Daily class format focuses primarily on discussion. Students find that they are held responsible for keeping abreast of reading and writing assignments, and come to class prepared to share and discuss their thoughts. In addition, professors welcome the thoughts of the students and provide an environment for all students to express their opinions.
Lectures are generally necessary at times, but no Honors class has lectures everyday.
The content of an Honors class can be one of two things. The content is either broader in scope or deeper in examination than in a comparable non-Honors course. The focus is not on more work or harder work, but instead on more specific or more expansive knowledge of the material. The work required allows students to examine the course material and use critical thinking skills in order to understand the material. The work requires understanding and analysis rather than simple memorization or restatement of material. Traditionally, this has meant more essays and fewer multiple-choice exams. This formula, however, does not always hold true. Short answer exams, short writing assignments, debates, or more diverse projects such as presentations or other creative works are also instituted. Professor and student creativity is embraced and celebrated. Adding an extra paper to a non-Honors course does not make it an Honors course.
The class is a number conducive to discussion. Ideally, the number falls between 15 and 25 -- the latter being the generally enforced upper limit of enrollment.
"The University Honors Program in the Liberal Arts permits SMU's most ambitious and sophisticated students to experience challenging academic experiences beyond their major courses. But the Program also presents SMU faculty with opportunities: to develop General Education courses in subjects about which they feel passionate and to forge meaningful relationships with motivated students.
At their best, Honors courses are dynamic, creative, and extended intellectual conversations in which students can move beyond acquiring information and toward a more complex engagement with the material. To encourage interaction between student and professor and among students themselves, courses may have a seminar format, and enrollment should be limited to 20 students whenever possible; it should rarely exceed 25. Honors courses should also have a substantial writing component as a primary means of evaluation.
Team teaching is strongly encouraged, and Honors courses should always be considered laboratories for creative pedagogy." (2005)