Honors Students sitting in classroomHonors Students sitting in classroom

Honors Program Curriculum

Requirements to Remain 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 250: Honors Composition 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 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 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

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

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. 

An Honors addendum allows a student to:

  • Explore a subject of interest in greater depth, detail, or creativity;
  • Pursue work that might contribute to his or her Honors Thesis Project;
  • Pursue work that might provide the basis for a conference presentation, publication, or graduate school application;
  • Learn more about current research and developments in a particular disciplinary area.

An Honors addendum allows an instructor to:

  • Mentor a student on a research project;
  • Explore aspects of a course beyond the scope of the syllabus;
  • Explore potentially new areas of research and inquiry.

Addendum Proposals

In order to initiate an addendum a student must approach his or her instructor early in the semester to create an addendum proposal.  Ideally, the student will have an idea for the content and the form of the addendum.  The student and instructor should discuss the addendum and agree on the following elements:

  • the form;
  • the length or quantity of work;
  • the deadline(s);
  • At least three criteria for evaluation of addendum (see below).

The addendum proposal should include the four items above.  It is due the Friday of the fourth week.  The director or associate director will review the proposal and return it to the student as either "accepted" or "revise and resubmit."  If the proposal requires revision the student will have two weeks to revise the proposal and return it.  The director or associate will provide feedback and be available to meet with the student.

Criteria for Evaluation

The addendum will allow the student to: 

1. have greater participation in and engagement with the course.

2. meet higher performance expectations than regular students.

3. complete more advanced supplemental reading, especially from primary sources.

4. complete more opportunities for writing, and at a higher standard.

5. have more opportunities for presentations to the class or to campus audiences.

6. pursue greater enhancement of critical thinking skills.

7. explore the subject matter of the class in greater depth and/or breadth, especially requiring synthesis of different points of view.

8. have more opportunities for self-initiated research, engaging with current research in a discipline or field, via original work, conference attendance, or exchanges with authorities in the discipline or field.

9. use resources or consultants from beyond the campus, such as university libraries and community figures and so forth. 

10. pursue opportunities for publication or public presentation of work in a journal and/or at local or national conferences.

11. integrate ideas from a variety of sources, particularly in interdisciplinary contexts.

12. participate in community-based experiences: interviews, cultural events, service learning.

13. explore classroom leadership: leading study groups, class discussion, assisting in preparation and delivery of instructional material.

14. socialize within the norms and expectations of a discipline or field.

15. ______________________________________________________________ (create your own)

16. ______________________________________________________________ (create your own)

 

Students have completed a wide variety of addendums in a wide variety of courses.  Some examples of past work include:

  • an in-depth term paper on a topic selected by the student;
  • an in-depth book review or review essay on a book or books related to the course;
  • a literature review on a particular issue in a particular field or discipline;
  • a presentation or series of in-class presentations on topics not covered in class;
  • a creative project which reflects the subject matter of the class;
  • a software application or website that contributes to student learning in the classrooms;
  • a lecture or seminar delivered to the class on a topic or topics not covered by classmates;
  • a problem set(s) or laboratory work that extends the coursework beyond that presented to the other students. 

These are suggestions rather than requirements.  A student's addendum might combine two or more of these or pursue something entirely different.

CalU Honors Addendum Form

University Honors Program Addendum FAQ -- Faculty

What is an addendum?

In order to graduate from the Cal U Honors Program, students must complete 24 credits of Honors coursework.  Because the Honors program does not offer enough courses for students to do this within the program, the addendum system was created so that students may earn Honors credits in non-Honors courses.  An addendum is a contract between the course instructor and the Honors student.  The project should extend beyond the basic goals and objectives of the course.  It should allow the student to work independently under faculty supervision.  Students should expect to devote roughly an additional one quarter to one third more work when doing an Honors addendum for a class.

How long or extensive should an addendum be?

There is no length requirement for addendums.  This is, in part, because addendums take different forms depending on the subject of the course, the level of the course, and the discipline.  An addendum should reflect a substantial amount of intellectual work on the part of the student.  As above, it should constitute roughly a quarter to a third more effort.  It should also reflect the level of the course.  An addendum for a 300-level course would be more substantial than one for a 100 or 200-level course.  In the end, the addendum should demonstrate knowledge the student has acquired beyond the primary outcomes and goals of the course.

How do I grade addendums?

The assessment of addendums is entirely up to the instructor.  He or she may establish any set of criteria or requirements that he or she feels best applies to the project.  The Honors Program, however,  only records whether or not the work is completed.  We do not need a letter grade or score.

What if the completed addendum turns out differently than the proposal?

The final evaluation of an addendum is entirely up to the instructor.  If the completed addendum differs from the proposal, it is the instructor's discretion as to whether or not the changes are acceptable.

What if a student does not complete an addendum?

If a student proposes but does not complete an addendum, he or she does not receive Honors credits for the course.

What if I prefer not to work with Honors students on addendums?

The decision is entirely up to the faculty member.  There is no requirement to provide Honors students with addendum opportunities.

University Honors Program Addendum FAQ -- Students

What should my addendum proposal look like?

Your proposal should describe in as much detail as possible the addendum you intend to complete.  The more thought you devote to your proposal, the easier it will be to complete the addendum.  We encourage you to discuss and develop your proposal in collaboration with your instructor.  The proposal should describe the nature / form of the project, how it coordinates with the course, a set of at least three milestones to chart your progress, and a date of completion.  The addendum form, available in the Honors area, has a description of the proposal.

Do I have to create my own addendum project or does the instructor do it?

An addendum is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to work independently under the supervision of a faculty member.  It is your project.  You might think of it as practice for the sort of work that you will do for your thesis.  Ideally, you should go to your instructor with a proposal or at least an idea of what you would like to do.  He or she should be willing to work with you to create a project that will be beneficial to you and your instructor.

Some instructors might prefer to have you complete a specific assignment.  In these cases, you are welcome to complete the project he or she assigns or, in a professional manner, offer an alternative. 

What if the Director or Associate Director does not approve my addendum proposal?

If your proposal receives a "revise and resubmit," the director or associate director will typically offer some comments and request to meet with you to discuss the proposal.  It is not an indication of failure, rather it is a desire by the director or associate director to work with you more closely on the project to clarify its goals.

How long does my addendum have to be?

There is no length requirement for addendums, but it should require you to devote roughly a quarter to a third as much effort as the class typically requires.  Addendums can take many different forms depending on the subject of the course, the level of the course, and the discipline.  An addendum for a 300-level course would be more substantial than one for a 100 or 200-level course.  In the end, the addendum should demonstrate knowledge you have acquired beyond the basic outcomes and goals of the course.

What if my completed addendum turns out differently than my proposal?

You should keep your instructor updated on your progress so she or he will be aware of any changes.  Ultimately, your instructor is the one who evaluates your addendum and any changes should be discussed with her or him as soon as possible.

How many addendums can I do in a semester?

In order to reach twenty-four Honors credits by graduation, students should earn at least three Honors credits per semester.  That works out to one Honors course or addendum per semester.  We feel this is an ideal number because it allows you to focus your efforts.  Circumstances may arise which require a student to take more than one.  In these cases, we recommend you check with the director or associate director.  Students have taken two or three addendums per semester, but most find this very difficult.

When is my addendum due?

The deadline should be worked out with your instructor, as should be penalties if the deadline is not reached.

What if my professor won't allow me to do an addendum?

Some instructors prefer not to work with Honors students on addendums.  In these cases, the best course of action is to choose another course in which to do the addendum.

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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