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Honors Program

Curriculum

Honors seminars are interdisciplinary, and include students from many majors, all of whom have a broad spectrum of ideas and experiences. You’ll be a partner in the learning process, offering your scholarship, opinion, perspective and interpretation, while faculty direct discussion and conversation.

Honors seminars challenge students with a wide scope of subjects and ideas, fostering personal and academic growth.

Sample Courses

Real Science and Science Fiction

This seminar course will examine the link between science fiction and “real” science. Students will explore how science fiction influences actual technological possibilities and affects societal attitudes. The primary focus of this class will be the social, ethical and moral issues surrounding the real science presented in the works of Michael Crichton. Students will learn the basics of scientific research, writing, and ethics. In addition, they will also be given the opportunity to participate in group panels, group collaboration, brainstorming, and presentations. Scientific, creative and critical thinking will be emphasized.

Islam in the Modern World

This course explores the role and place of Islam in modern Muslim societies and covers a historical period that begins around 1800 and continues to the present day. The course presents Islam as a lived religion through observation and discussion of how Muslims from a variety of countries, traditions, and views practice their religion. The course conveys the Muslim experience from different disciplinary backgrounds, which are reflected in the readings and the topics discussed throughout the semester. Case studies range from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Lebanon to the UK, USA, Australia and Indonesia, and cover topics such as music, art, education, law, gender and sexuality.

Sherlock Holmes and Logical Reasoning

As the above story demonstrates, there are many different conclusions that can be drawn from a single observation, and which are drawn depends quite a bit on the style of thinking one adopts. This seminar course will employ the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Homes as a model of one type of thinking: logic and scientific reasoning. Through careful reading and class presentation of Holmes’ methods, students will be asked to reflect on their own patterns of observation and reasoning. As the course develops students will also investigate portrayals of other fictional detectives. Students will be asked to compare and contrast these characters, and use them as models for the construction of their own fictional detective

Markets and Morality

Markets are institutions that facilitate the production and allocation of goods and services. Proponents of markets maintain that even though market participants may operate primarily out of self-interest, markets often result in socially beneficial outcomes. They conclude that markets are moral or at least amoral. Critics of markets focus on negative outcomes of markets and the immorality that may result from unbridled capitalism. This first-year Honors seminar explores what markets are, how they operate, and their effects on moral character. Students will examine contemporary issues involving markets and morality such as the social responsibility of business, sweatshop labor, income inequality and the market for human kidneys.

Full curriculum

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