Honors Community Programs of Study
The Honors Community includes two independent yet complimentary academic programs. Qualified students may take either program regardless of whether they have taken or will take the other. Students who successfully complete both programs will earn University Honors.
General Honors courses provide freshman and sophomore Honors students with innovative, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based courses
which are designed to tackle big questions of long-standing and contemporary relevance. General Honors courses fulfill both
Honors requirements and some Core requirements. In fact, they are a more efficient way to fulfill your Core requirements,
because you get more credits per class hour than with ordinary Core courses. Best of all, you get small classes
(maximum 15) composed of similarly bright and motivated students and led by some of the best teachers on campus.
All students who are admitted to Union and have a 3.5 GPA or a 28 on the ACT will be invited to apply to the General Honors program.
Students who do not meet these criteria but think they are up to the challenge of Honors work are also welcome to
Review a brief description of General Honors courses
- HON 205. Wisdom (6 hours). Fall of freshman year.
Prerequisite: Admission to General Honors.
"Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight" (Prov. 4.7).We will inquire after the nature of wisdom and seek the means of acquiring it, giving attention to biblical and extrabiblical literature as well as their historical contexts and their elaborations in subsequent traditions. We will reflect on the purpose and pursuit of contemporary higher education in light of wisdom and consider contemporary applications of various wisdom traditions. Due to the content and skill emphases in these courses, they satisfy the Gateway and the first half of the Written Composition requirements in the General Core.
- HON 215. Beauty (6 hours). Spring of freshman year.
Prerequisite: HON 205. Pre- or Co-requisites: HIS 101.
What exactly makes any particular person, poem, song or object beautiful? The nature of beauty will be explored through both theory and practice. Students will examine and produce beautiful things in various media, reflect on what makes them beautiful, and discuss the history of aesthetic theory-Eastern and Western, theological and secular-as a resource for answering these questions. The class will culminate in a gallery show involving both works of art and theoretically-informed reflections upon them. Due to the content and skill emphases in these courses, they satisfy the Fine Arts and the second half of the Written Composition requirements in the General Core.
- HON 225. Justice (6 hours). Fall of sophomore year.
Prerequisite: HON 215.
What, exactly, is justice? In this course, we will search for an adequate definition-considering biblical and theological resources as well as philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Rawls-while looking closely at attempts to bring justice in particular communities and situations, both historical and contemporary. This course also involves service-learning work and reflection upon it. This course satisfies the General Core Social Science/Humanities requirement and, in light of its historical emphases, the second half of the World Civilization requirement in General Core.
- HON 235. Creation (6 hours). Spring of sophomore year.
Prerequisite: HON 225.
Exploration of the human relation to the natural world through the history of thought about creation as well as through immersion in the natural world itself. Giving special attention to the governing metaphors-gift, dominion, wilderness, matter, threat, resource-used in various times and places for creation and our relation to it, especially those emerging from the Christian tradition and the scientific revolution. We will examine how our practices of relating to creation change our perceptions both of ourselves and of nature. The course will seek to overcome the everyday estrangement of most students from the natural world through activities to include field trips to the lab: the natural world itself. This course fulfills the General Core Laboratory Science/Group B requirement unless the student's major or minor dictates otherwise.
Discipline-Specific Honors is an opportunity to pursue high level, funded research in your major and under the direct supervision
of a faculty mentor. Students interested in Discipline-Specific Honors typically apply in the fall of their junior year.
Eligible students must have an overall cumulative 3.5 and meet any department-specific requirements. To graduate with
Discipline-Specific Honors, students must attend at least four honors colloquia during their junior year and four honors
colloquia during their senior year, complete 12 hours of honors contract courses in the major, produce an honors project/thesis
in their major, maintain a 3.5 GPA, and fulfill any other requirements established by the department. Students already admitted
into Discipline-specific Honors may apply for research and travel funds.
Students who complete both General Honors and Discipline-Specific Honors will earn University Honors,
one of Union's highest accolades.