University Honors Program

The University Honors Program offers exceptional entering students the opportunity to engage in a distinctive, participatory program of study designed to prepare them—whatever their gifts and interests might be—to meet the complex challenges of the 21st century. The program invites students to develop a humane perspective on the world while honing their analytical and expressive powers and deepening their understanding of complex issues and questions. Built upon an interdisciplinary curriculum, the program is fully integrated into and reinforcing of the highest academic aspirations of University schools and departments. Components of the program include:

  • Small seminar-style classes, capped at 15 to 20 students, provide an opportunity to probe a variety of evolving issues and eternal questions.
  • Students enroll in a series of unique courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences that address both cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary questions and issues. In their senior year, students participate in an Honors capstone experience that provides an opportunity to apply and reflect on what they have learned as undergraduates.
  • The Honors experience is enriched by distinctive co-curricular programming, including off-campus activities with faculty members and discussions in the program's Club Room. Events may include student–faculty dinners, hikes, visits to local museums, day trips throughout the region, theater performances, film screenings, guest speakers and debates, and career information sessions. Students may also have an opportunity for summer study abroad.
  • The program offers all Honors students the option of living in an Honors residential community.
  • Designated Honors academic advisors assist students with academic, career, and personal planning.
  • Honors program members have early course registration privileges during their second, third, and fourth semesters.
  • Membership in the Honors program is indicated on the student's transcript.

The University Honors Program serves approximately 500 selected students, or five percent of the undergraduate student body. Incoming students may apply to the Honors Program at the time they apply to the University; a small group of rising sophomores may also apply.

The program is characterized by small, seminar-style classes with enrollments capped at 15 to 20 students; faculty who serve as mentors, models, and guides in the learning process; classroom approaches that call upon students to initiate inquiry, work collaboratively, and drive the exploration and learning process; interdisciplinary tools and modes of inquiry; and global or cross-cultural perspectives and course content.

In their first year, along with other courses, Honors Program students take:
HONR 1015Honors Proseminar: UW 1020: Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought
HONR 1016Honors Proseminar: Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought
HONR 1033Honors Proseminar: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery
HONR 1034Honors Proseminar: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery
** In place of HONR 1033 and HONR 1034, students may take an approved alternative science course.
In their second, third, and fourth years they take:
Two Self and Society courses taken as follows: two offerings of HONR 2047 or two offerings of HONR 2048 or one offering each of HONR 2047 and HONR 2048. Topics may not be repeated.
and
Two Arts and Humanities courses taken as follows: two offerings of HONR 2053 or two offerings of HONR 2054 or one offering each of HONR 2053 and HONR 2054. Topics may not be repeated.

In addition, they pursue coursework in their majors, including special or departmental honors and/or independent or mentored research. All Honors Program students participate in HONR 4199 Honors Capstone Experience, and complete a departmental or Honors senior thesis or project. The Honors proseminars meet certain general curriculum and elective requirements of the respective undergraduate schools. HONR 1015 Honors Proseminar: UW 1020: Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought is the required University Writing course for Honors students.

In order to remain in good standing, Honors Program students must enroll in at least academic 12 credits each semester and, except for the first year, maintain a cumulative GPA that ensures it is mathematically possible to graduate with 3.4 or higher. First-year students must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Successful participation in the program is recognized and recorded on a student’s official transcript.

Executive Director M. Frawley

Deputy Director I. Creppell

Assistant Professors E. Aviv, T. Christov, L. Hammond, B. Kung, M. Ralkwoski, J. Trullinger, W. Winstead

University Honors Advisory Committee A. Zimmerman (Chair), L. Anker, A. Helm, D, Hoffman, C. Jordan, R. Katz, F. Moskowitz, B. Narahari, M. Sodaro

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000–4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

HONR 1015. Honors Proseminar: UW 1020: Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought. 4 Credits.

Exploration of significant exemplars, milestones, and developments of human thought; foundational and representative thinkers and texts from Western and Eastern traditions provide an indication of the diversity and complexity of attempts to articulate responses to universal questions, problems, and aspirations.

HONR 1016. Honors Proseminar: Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought. 3 Credits.

Continuation of HONR 1015. Key developments and trajectories in human thought and inquiry into modern times.

HONR 1033. Honors Proseminar: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery. 4 Credits.

Using an inquiry-based approach, students learn to identify hidden regularities and patterns in nature that may indicate fundamental unifying principles and laws. The scientific method; evaluation of scientific information; limitations of the scientific process; development of a scientific hypothesis. Tools and methodologies of geology, chemistry, physics, biology, anthropology, and other disciplines.

HONR 1034. Honors Proseminar: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery. 4 Credits.

Continuation of HONR 1033. Using an inquiry-based approach, students learn to identify hidden regularities and patterns in nature that may indicate fundamental unifying principles and laws. The scientific method; evaluation of scientific information; limitations of the scientific process; development of a scientific hypothesis. Tools and methodologies of geology, chemistry, physics, biology, anthropology, and other disciplines.

HONR 2016. Enlightenment East & West. 4 Credits.

This course replaces HONR 1016 for students who enter the Honors Program as sophomores.

HONR 2043. Honors Microeconomics. 3 Credits.

An introductory microeconomics course that considers both the philosophical basis of economics as well as its methods and applications. Same as ECON 1011.

HONR 2044. Honors Macroeconomics. 3 Credits.

An accelerated introductory macroeconomics course that includes the study of special topics.

HONR 2047. Honors Proseminar: Social and Behavioral Sciences. 3 Credits.

Topics vary by semester. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs. Consult the Schedule of Classes for more details.

HONR 2047W. Honors Proseminar: Social and Behavioral Science. 3 Credits.

Understanding significant social and political phenomena by using the tools and modes of inquiry of the social and behavioral sciences; relationships among individuals, collectivities, families, and communities; interactions of psychological, social, political, economic, and historical forces at work in a given culture. Includes a significant engagement in writing as a form of critical inquiry and scholarly expression to satisfy the WID requirement.

HONR 2048. Honors Proseminar: Social and Behavioral Sciences. 3 Credits.

Understanding significant social and political phenomena through the use of social and behavioral sciences tools and modes of inquiry; relationships between individuals and among collectivities, families, and communities; interactions of psychological, social, political, economic, and historical forces at work in a given culture.

HONR 2048W. Honors Proseminar: Social and Behavioral Science. 3 Credits.

Understanding significant social and political phenomena by using the tools and modes of inquiry of the social and behavioral sciences; relationships among individuals, collectivities, families, and communities; interactions of psychological, social, political, economic, and historical forces at work in a given culture. Includes a significant engagement in writing as a form of critical inquiry and scholarly expression to satisfy the WID requirement.

HONR 2053. Honors Proseminar: Arts and Humanities. 3 Credits.

Exploration of the ways in which cultures are defined and understood through artistic expression; how particular cultures value and critique these forms of personal and social expression. Topics vary by semester. May be repeated for credits provided the topic differs. Consult the Schedule of Classes for more details.

HONR 2053W. Honors Proseminar: Arts and World Cultures. 3 Credits.

Using an array of artistic forms, including poetry, prose literature, drama, film, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and music, students explore the ways in which cultures are defined and understood through artistic expression and how particular cultures value and critique these forms of personal and social expression.

HONR 2054. Honors Proseminar: Arts and Humanities. 3 Credits.

How cultures are defined and understood through various forms of artistic expression, including poetry, prose literature, drama, film, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and music; how particular cultures value and critique these forms of personal and social expression.

HONR 2054W. Honors Proseminar: Arts and World Cultures. 3 Credits.

Using an array of artistic forms, including poetry, prose literature, drama, film, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and music, students explore the ways in which cultures are defined and understood through artistic expression and how particular cultures value and critique these forms of personal and social expression.

HONR 2182. Honors Internship. 0-4 Credits.

The Honors Program allows credit to Honors students for academic work that puts an internship in a broader scholastic context. Each student must have a GW faculty member oversee his or her project. The Honors internship faculty member determines the student's grade.

HONR 2184. Honors Undergraduate Research. 0-4 Credits.

Independent or faculty-mentored research resulting in a significant written or other product.

HONR 2185. Honors Research Assistantship. 0-4 Credits.

Students provide substantive assistance to a faculty member engaged in scholarly or scientific research.

HONR 4198. Honors Senior Thesis. 3-4 Credits.

One- or two-semester thesis under faculty guidance. May be repeated for credit.

HONR 4199. Honors Capstone Experience. 1 Credit.

Students re-engage with core questions and issues related to the Honors Program curriculum, reflecting on their learning in relation to enduring questions and challenges of our world.