Honors Program Curriculum

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Honors Program Curriculum

Requirements to Remain in the Honors ProgramA Cal U student presents in the honors program.

To sustain their membership in the UHP, honors students must:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher
  • Demonstrate ability in all HON courses
  • Demonstrate satisfactory progress throughout their UHP curriculum

Failure of an HON course (not an addendum course) results in immediate ineligibility for the UHP. If a student's GPA slips below a 3.25, he/she may be granted up to two probationary semesters to bring the GPA up to the requirement.  Students who do not meet progress requirements may be granted up to one probationary semester to earn more honors credits.  During the probationary period, students lose some benefits of UHP membership, including early registration, honors courses through addendum and the priority housing option.  Students who earn a GPA that cannot be recovered to a 3.25 within two semesters will be ineligible for the UHP.

Students who join the UHP in their first year must complete a minimum of 12 honors credits (HON or addenda) by the end of their fourth semester of full-time study. Students who join the UHP after their first year of full-time study are required to complete a minimum of nine honors credits (HON or addenda) by the end of their second semester of UHP membership and full-time study.

Students who are declared ineligible for the UHP for any reason lose all UHP privileges, including early registration and the priority housing option.

Questions? Contact the University Honors Program.

Required Honors Courses

All honors students register for the following HON courses:

  • HON 100: Honors and University Orientation
  • HON 150: Honors Composition I
  • HON 200: Honors Research Practice I
  • HON 250: Honors Composition II
  • HON 300: Honors Research Practice II
  • HON 499: Honors Thesis Project

HON 100 fulfills the University's freshman seminar requirement, HON 150 fulfills the University's Composition I requirement and HON 250 fulfills the University's Composition II requirement.

Current UHP Courses

HON — Honors Program

HON 100. HONORS AND UNIVERSITY ORIENTATION.

This course provides the Honors student with an introduction to university life in general and the Honors Program in particular. Practical matters, including a comprehensive review of the Honors Program curriculum, requirements to remain in the program, advisement and registration procedures, and an elaboration and description of ancillary
university services available to the student, are covered. The meaning and function of a university, the importance of the liberal/general education part of the curriculum, the relationship between the university and society and current issues affecting the academy are addressed through selected readings and discussion. Also, students will be required to establish a portfolio that will be maintained throughout the undergraduate experience. (1cr.)

HON 150. HONORS COMPOSITION I.

Honors Composition I, a course designed specifically for first-year students in the Honors Program, is an introduction to the advanced literacy of the academy. In this course, students will develop an understanding of how diverse scholarly disciplines employ differing strategies and conventions for organizing and transmitting knowledge. (3 crs.)

HON 200. HONORS RESEARCH PRACTICE I

This course is intended for undergraduate Honors students in the second year. It builds on concepts introduced in HON 100 and HON 250, and it should serve as preparation both for the Honors Thesis Project (HON 499) and for other research projects related to Honors coursework or major coursework. 1 credit. Not repeatable for additional credit.

HON 250. HONORS COMPOSITION II.

Honors Composition II, a course designed specifically for first-year students in the Honors Program, is a companion and follow-up course to Honors Composition I. In Honors Composition II, students will investigate an academic research question on a topic and in a field of their choosing and produce a research paper addressing this
question. Research results will be presented before a panel of interested peers and faculty. 
Prerequisite: HON 150 or equivalent. (3 crs.)

HON 265. GLOBAL TRANSITIONS I.

This transdisciplinary course rooted in the history of humankind is the first in a two-semester sophomore sequence on the origin, nature, accomplishments, and failures of the diverse complex societies of this planet. This panoramic investigation focuses on two major themes: 1) human interactions with the natural world, and 2) the ways that human societies have changed, grown apart from one another, reestablished contact, and influenced one another. This course covers the dawn of humankind to approximately1300 C.E. Global Transitions I is a stand alone course and need not be taken in conjunction with Global Transitions II. (3 crs.)

HON 270. GLOBAL TRANSITIONS II.

This transdisciplinary course rooted in the history of humankind is the second in a two-semester sophomore sequence on the origin, nature, accomplishments, and failures of the diverse complex societies of this planet. This panoramic investigation focuses on two major themes: 1) human interactions with the natural world, and 2) the ways that human societies have changed, grown apart from one another, reestablished contact, and influenced one another. This course covers events from approximately 1300 C.E. to the present. Global Transitions II is a stand alone course and need not be taken in conjunction with Global Transitions I. (3 crs.)

HON 300. HONORS RESEARCH PRACTICE II

This course is intended for undergraduate Honors students in the third year. It builds on concepts introduced in HON 100, HON 200, and HON 250, and it should serve as preparation both for the Honors Thesis Project (HON 499) and for other research projects related to Honors coursework or major coursework. 1 credit. Not repeatable for additional credit.

HON 320. TOPICS IN SELF AND SOCIETY.

This course is an interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between the self and society with the specific topic of each offering determined by the instructor. The selected topic may be explored through a combination of any of, but not limited to, the following approaches: history; political science; sociology; psychology; anthropology; economics; linguistics; archaeology; communications; ethnic, race, and gender studies; law; social work; and urban and rural studies. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON 325. TOPICS IN EDUCATION.

This course provides students with an examination of issues relating to varying approaches to and impacts of education with a specific topic chosen by the instructor. The selected topic may be explored through a combination of any of the following approaches: instructional strategies, methodologies, and pedagogies; the history and/or philosophy of education; epistemology; and educational anthropology. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON 330. TOPICS IN CULTURE AND SOCIETY.

Culture is not a new idea, and its meaning is a subject of debate. This course employs culture (and its political uses) as a lens through which to examine topics and texts in a range of disciplines from the social sciences, to media studies, to the humanities. In the process, this course examines some of the most pressing issues of today and the past. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON 335. TOPICS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.

This course is an interdisciplinary foray into the hard sciences. It does not presume a prior extensive knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, the environmental sciences, applications of technology and/or the philosophy or history of science. The course defines science and technology, their terminology and method of inquiry, the philosophical ideas underlying scientific inquiry, and how humans value them. Various topics, especially from the physical sciences, may be examined with an emphasis on the specific ways scientific inquiry tries to understand our experience, whether it reflects universal rationality or particular cultural concerns, whether it offers understanding of nature or only control of (some) natural processes, and what impacts –both positive and negative – the application of technology has. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON. 340. TOPICS IN THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES.

Each class will focus on a specific topic selected by the instructor. The selected topic may be explored through a combination of any of, but not limited to, the following mediums: literature, the fine arts, creative writing, photography, the graphic arts, music, theatre, and film. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON. 450. HONORS STUDY TOUR.

Each class will be closely linked to a short-term study tour, in either the United States or abroad, and focus on a specific topic selected by the instructor. The purpose of this course is to provide students with experiential hands-on learning. In addition, this course will expose students to diverse academic and socio-cultural experiences, better preparing them for the community within which they will play a future role. This course is repeatable with the permission of the instructor. (3 crs.)

HON 499. HONORS THESIS.

The senior Honors project serves as the capstone of the University Honors Program. Under the supervision of a faculty adviser of the student's choice, the Honors student seeks to make a substantive contribution to the discipline. Considerable latitude in the form of the contribution is permitted. Empirical and historical research as well as creative products are all appropriate. A reader/reviewer is assigned to independently pass judgment on the student's scholastic effort. An oral defense, demonstration, or display of the completed honors project is required. HON 499 is typically only offered during the autumn term. (3 crs.)

Read all HON course descriptions in the Course Catalog.

Honors Program Course Rotation 

Every Autumn            HON 100, HON 150, HON 499

Every Spring              HON 250, HON 200, HON 300

Variable                     HON 265, HON 270, HON 450

HON 100 Honors and University Orientation

HON 150 Honors Composition I

HON 250 Honors Composition II

HON 265 Global Transitions I

HON 270 Global Transitions II

HON 320 Topics in Self and Society

HON 325 Topics in Education

HON 330 Topics in Culture and Society

HON 335 Topics in Science and Technology

HON 340 Topics in the Arts and Humanities

HON 450 Honors Study Tour

HON 499 Honors Thesis

Fall 2017 Courses

HON 270: GLOBAL TRANSITIONS SINCE 1300 – It’s all About Time (MWF 11:00-11:50 am) will be taught by Dr. Swarndeep Gill, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences department.  Our perception of time has been an important influence on science and culture throughout history.  Why is a second as long as it is?  What about a minute, day, week, month or year?  Are these arbitrary periods, or are they based in the natural world?  How does the perception of time affect our thinking or is it our thinking that has shaped our views about time?  Our ability to measure time has changed throughout history.  From the first water clocks to atomic clocks, our ability to measure time accurately has had important consequences on society and culture.  Finally, how much time have we been around for, and how much time do we have left?  This number has changed throughout history from concepts of time based on religious and philosophical arguments, to the measurement of Earth's history using radioactivity and historical geology.  Finally, we find that however, we choose to measure time it is not constant, but relative as proved by Albert Einstein.  We will also explore some fun topics like time travel and time paradoxes, how different cultures view time, and time in technology and literature. This course will satisfy a Natural Science general education requirement.

HON 320: TOPICS IN SELF AND SOCIETY - Fascism and Political “Style” (TR 9:30-10:45 am) will be taught by Dr. Greg Spicer, Associate Professor of Communication, Design and Culture department.  This course looks at fascism not as a political system belonging to particular party or faction but as a visual language with various forms or “vernaculars.”  These visual vernaculars represent fascist ideals about the nature of humanity, particularly in terms of the natural (and, conversely, “unnatural”) order of things. We will give particular attention to fascist ideals and images around the nature of gender, sexuality and race.  Importantly, while we’ll look at elements of fascist style and aesthetics historically (for example, in Mussolini's Italy), we’ll also focus on how this style has been adopted and refigured by far right political movements in both Europe and the United States.  The course assumes no prior knowledge of rhetorical theory and criticism. This course will satisfy a Public Speaking or Humanities general education requirement.

Addendums

California University of Pennsylvania Honors Program Addendum Instructions and Information 

An addendum is an opportunity for a student to earn Honors credits for a non-Honors course.  Students gain a deeper understanding of the course content by independently pursuing a meaningful project which has been mutually created by the student and the instructor and extends beyond the typical course work.  Students should expect to devote a quarter to a third more effort to a class with an addendum than one without. 

For more information about the addendum process, click here.

Thesis Projects: The Honors Program Capstone

All honors students are required by the PASSHE board of governors to complete an honors thesis project.  Students earn 3 HON credits for their project by registering for HON 499.  For the thesis project, the student works with a committee of three or more faculty members of their choice:

  • A thesis advisor
  • Honors advisory board member
  • Independent reviewer

Members must be faculty at Cal U, and at least one must be from the Honors Advisory Board. The committee guides the student in creating a reliable and valid thesis in his/her chosen area of study.  Once a student has arranged his/her committee and proposed a project, he/she must complete an honors thesis declaration form to the UHP office.  The director's signature signals final approval for the proposed project. 

Students are required to present their theses to their committees and classmates upon completion. They may begin working on their projects at any time; however, they may not register for HON 499 until they have completed 18 honors credits (HON or addenda).  It is common to earn a grade of "Incomplete" for the HON 499 course.  If so, the student is bound by the university's policies for the completion of "Incomplete" courses.  (Students have one year to complete the course from the point at which the "I" grade was assigned.)

Honors thesis projects in the past have ranged from traditional research projects of approximately 30 pages to creative writing pieces to original artistic works.  Students have freedom in designing their thesis projects.  The project is intended to be the capstone of the student's education and honors program experience and an opportunity to show his/her skills in the chosen field. 

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