Honors Program Courses and Curriculum


Honors General Education Curriculum Overview

Students should plan to take at least one Honors course per semester. Honors-recommended sections of General Education can be identified in the class schedule by the letter "H" in the fourth position of the course number. Honors core classes and cross-listed sections carry the HONR prefix. Courses may change each semester based on student needs and departmental resources.


Freshman / Sophomore (Lower-Division Honors): 21 Credits

1. Both Ancient and Modern Legacies (6 credits)

2. Honors Ethics and Values (3 credits)

3. A Science/Quantitative Honors General Education Course (3 credits)

4. Two Additional Honors General Education Courses (6 credits)

5. Three Semesters of Honors Colloquium (3 credits)



Honors Colloquium


Honors Colloquium Overview

A required course in the UVU Honors Program curriculum, Colloquium engages students in a series of intellectually and culturally enriching events both on and off campus. These include lectures, theatrical and musical performances, daylong and overnight outdoor education trips, as well as service and research activities. Students must attend the once-weekly class regularly, attend all required events, at least three optional events they select during sign-up week, and participate in a research group / service project of their choosing.

All students entering the Honors Program are required to take 2 OR 3 semesters of Honors Colloquium (HONR 100R), depending on the students' entry point. Freshmen (having earned fewer than 60 credits) are required to take Colloquium 3 times in their first two years. Juniors entering the Program (having earned 60 credits or more) are required to take Colloquium twice in their first year.


Colloquium Course Objectives / Curriculum

The main objectives of this course are to: (1) introduce students to excellence in cultural expression in Utah; (2) develop an appreciation for a multiplicity of cultural expressions; (3) foster an intellectually engaged community among UVU Honors students.

In any given semester, students can expect to choose from a large number of on- and off-campus events, ranging from lectures by scholars, performances by collegiate and professional actors, musicians, and dancers, exhibits at galleries and museums, documentary and feature films, outdoor activities, and overnight outdoor excursions. Colloquium offers students chances to engage their passions, try out new places, ideas, and experiences, as well as stretch their intellectual horizons. Because Honors spends a large proportion of its budget on tickets to many of these events, we do enforce a strict attendance policy. We are accountable to the university and the citizens of Utah for state funds we spend, so that students who sign up for an event and do not follow the policies below will suffer penalties on their Colloquium grade and may endanger their status as Honors students.


Colloquium Attendance Policy

1. Students must attend scheduled class meetings and sign the roll. Students with more than TWO absences cannot receive an A. Students who regularly arrive late or depart early may be marked absent.

2. Students must honor all commitments made during event sign-up or receive a penalty to their final grade.

3. Canceling on an optional colloquium event results in a one-third letter grade penalty (an A becomes an A-).

4. Students receive a full-grade penalty for every required event missed.

5. Failure to complete all required commitments for a research project will result in an automatic penalty of a full letter grade to the student's final grade for the course.

6. Attendance is taken for every event. It is the student's responsibility to ensure he or she signs an event's attendance roll. Failure to sign a roll can result in a penalty to the student's final grade, even if the event is attended.



Ancient and Modern Legacies


Honors Legacies Overview

HONR 2000 (Ancient Legacies) and HONR 2100 (Modern Legacies) form the backbone of the Honors Core. Taken by incoming Honors students in their first two semesters in the program, Legacies courses connect students with their peers in the Honors Program and prepare them for the intellectual habits and skills that will help them graduate with Honors. Legacies courses qualify as elective credits for all degree programs.

HONR 2000: Ancient Legacies provides students with the opportunity to study selected great works in the history of ideas from an interdisciplinary perspective. Examines Ancient, Medieval, and early Renaissance thought through primary texts composed before 1500 C.E. Focus of the class is determined by the instructor, but must include at least one text written during each of these periods, and at least one non-Western text. Ancient Legacies emphasizes close study of primary texts drawn from disciplines including, but not limited to, astronomy, physics, biology, literature, history, philosophy, and religion. Ancient Legacies develops strong critical thinking, writing, and rhetorical skills.

HONR 2100: Modern Legacies Modern Legacies provides students with the opportunity to study selected great works in the history of ideas from an interdisciplinary perspective. Examines Modern and Contemporary thought through primary texts composed after 1500 C.E. Focus of the class is determined by the instructor, but must include at least one text that adds diversity (for instance, in ethnicity, class, or gender). Modern Legacies emphasizes close study of primary texts drawn from disciplines including, but not limited to, astronomy, physics, biology, literature, history, philosophy, and religion. Modern Legacies develops strong critical thinking, writing, and rhetorical skills.


Honors Legacies Faculty

Faculty who teach Legacies for Honors come from departments all across campus, although primarily from disciplines such as literary studies, history, philosophy, and the social sciences. These professors teach for Honors because they want to interact with bright, motivated students and teach them concepts such as how to:

1. Gain insight about the fundamental questions and methods of investigation that are the foundations of academic inquiry.

2. Explain central ideas in Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance culture (or Modern and Contemporary culture) and their relationship to present day society

3. Integrate knowledge from different sources

4. Increase facility in analytical and critical thinking ability through class discussion and written assignments

5. Improve at formal writing, oral presentations, collaborative exchanges and intellectual dialogue



Upper-Division Honors


Overview of Upper-Division Honors

Students entering the Honors Program at the Junior Entry point or those students who have successfully completed the first two years of the Honors Program need to create a four-semester plan to graduate with Honors. Depending on earned credits, students should complete between 12 and 18 upper-division Honors credits and a two semester Honors Thesis or Project. Transfer and Continuing students admitted to the program should meet with the Director.

Junior Year: Students work with both their Honors Coordinator and an academic advisor in their major to make a clear plan early in their junior year so that they may complete all the necessary coursework for Honors graduation. In general, students complete at least two junior-year majors courses via an Honors Contract (see page XX of this handbook for more information on contracts). We recommend students complete courses already required by their majors, but that they do so via the Honors Contract. This "double-dipping" is completely permissible.



The Honors Thesis or Project

An Honors Thesis or Project is a sustained inquiry or application of a focused idea or skills, allowing the student to develop subject-matter expertise, thorough research or practice, and intensive project management skills. It represents the culmination of a student's undergraduate experience in the Honors Program. All students must complete 6 hours from HONR 498R: Honors Thesis and/or HONR 499R: Honors Project. Students may begin their Honors Thesis during their junior year if they are prepared. If a student's major department requires a comparable course (with substantial written component), students may complete the same project for both courses.

Topics should be determined by the student's interests and based on a background of adequate coursework or other preparation in the area of interest. Frequently, Honors Program students propose interdisciplinary theses, which bring together several areas of interest and represent topics which might not encompass a specific program. Students will develop a formal proposal for a thesis topic during the first semester of HONR 498R or HONR 499R.

The Honors Thesis or Honors Project is a two-semester endeavor, which results in 45-50 typed pages of research, analysis, and synthesis (or a similar time commitment to a project with some kind of public component, e.g., a performance, laboratory research, scientific poster session,conference presentation, a workshop, publication in an academic or creative journal, etc.) on a topic approved by the student's Faculty Committee.

HONR 498R provides an opportunity for seniors in the Program to research and write on a topic related to their major, supervised by a faculty mentor. Includes independent research as necessary and culminates in the preparation of a written paper and oral presentation describing the results of the research project. HONR 499: the Honors Project may be substituted.

HONR 499R: Honors Project provides an opportunity for seniors in the Program to research, design, carry out, and report results of an original project related to their major, supervised by a faculty mentor. Includes independent research and creative endeavor as necessary, culminating in the preparation of two short written papers, one preparatory to the project (the proposal) and one evaluating or reflecting on the project's results. The Honors Project should be presented publicly, for instance, in a recital, show, portfolio, or other appropriate method in the discipline. May be taken as an extension of research pursued in HONR 498R and may also be taken as a substitute for the Honors Thesis.


Starting an Honors Thesis or Project

In choosing the topic, students should work with faculty whom they feel they have or can develop a strong working relationship. Students should choose a topic about which they are truly curious and one about which they feel they can contribute meaningful analysis, innovation, or creativity.


Creating an Honors Thesis Committee

Students should select any three professors from any department who they believe can best guide their research and writing on the topic or the students' execution of the project.

The Chair (or Mentor) should be selected from among with faculty with whom the student has a strong academic relationship. Working as a team, you and your mentor will select the other two members of your committee. The Honors Program has approved a "two thirds rule." That is, at least two of the members of your committee must be senior instructor or tenure-track faculty (one is the Mentor), but the third may be a Research Associate, adjunct faculty member, community-based expert, or other qualified individual who is acceptable to your mentor. Your committee should be three people but there is no problem with it being larger.


Honors Thesis Writing / Presentation Process

During the first semester, the student begins the research, formulates the thesis question, and creates an annotated bibliography and detailed outline, as well as a first draft of the thesis or project plan. The bibliography and outline or plan should be detailed enough to indicate the student is ready to begin the writing or execution process. The outline should provide a sense of the arguments the thesis will make and the evidence that will be used to support those arguments. The project plan should provide a complete series of dates and benchmarks to ensure the project is feasible and can be completed by the deadline.

During the second semester, the student completes a series of drafts of the thesis. Projects should also be substantially underway by this time, with launches, presentations, or performances scheduled. For written theses, the Chair should provide extensive feedback on the first draft and the Thesis Committee on at least one additional draft. Three weeks prior to the oral defense (no later than April 1 or December 1), the student must submit a complete version for committee approval in a 'defense draft.' The student's Thesis Committee Members and the Honors Program Director (or designate) attend the defense, both to support the student and to evaluate how well the student articulates the research and the experience.


Oral Defense

The conclusion of the thesis or project is a 30–60 minute oral defense with the student, Chair, Committee Members, and Honors Program Director in attendance. The defense must take place after all Committee Members have approved the final version of the thesis and at least two weeks prior to the final day of classes). The oral defense provides the student an opportunity to present the thesis and enter into a scholarly dialogue. The defense often takes the form of a discussion of the ideas in the thesis, but it may also incorporate material from the student's related course work. This event provides the student a chance to explain the approach to the thesis and to consider the success of the findings.

At the conclusion of a successful defense, the Chair and Committee Members will sign an official signature page, and also decide upon the student's final grade. The full range of grades, from A to E, is available. The student is responsible for turning in the signature page and formatted final version by the deadline listed in the Honors Thesis & Project Guidelines document.


Official Recognition

Honors Program graduates receive a special Honors medallion and a specially embroidered UVU green satin stole to wear during Commencement and Convocation exercises each May. Graduates are also celebrated at an Honors Awards night each April, to which they may invite guests. Transcripts for students completing Honors requirements will show the student's Honors coursework and feature the statement "Honors Program Graduate." In addition, a special seal appears on the student's diploma. 


Navigation and Links

01. Home / Honors Program Introduction and Overview

02. Honors Program Admissions / Application

03. Honors Curriculum / Classes

04. Honors Requirements / Academic Standards / FAQ

05. Honors Scholarships

06. Additional Honors Program Information


Honors Program Staff


Honors Program Director: 
Dr. Kate McPherson 
Office: LC 204a 
Telephone: 801.863.8055 
Email: kmcpherson@uvu.edu 


Program Coordinator: 
Allen Hill 
Office: LC 202a 
Telephone: 801.863.6841 
E-mail: allen.hill@uvu.edu 


Program Coordinator: 
Tiffany Nez 
Office: LC 204a 
Telephone: 801.863.6223 
E-mail: tiffany.nez@uvu.edu 


On Campus | Main Office: LC 204 | Telephone: 801.863.6262 | Fax: 801.863.6562 |
Email: HonorsProgram@uvu.edu | Web: www.uvu.edu/honors 


Mailing Address | Utah Valley University | Honors Program MS 274 | 800 West University Parkway | Orem, Utah 84058-5999


Student Handbook2 

Honors Student Handbook (pdf)


Sample Honors Classes

• ARTH 271H: Hist of Art to Renaissance

• ARTH 272H: Hist of Art from Renaissance

• ASTR 104H: Elementary Astronomy

• ENGL 101H: Introduction to Writing

• ENGL 201H: Intermediate Writing

• ENGL 202H: Intermediate Writing

• ENGL 225H: Creative/Imaginative Writing

• ENGL 230H: Shakespeare

• GEOL 101H: Introduction to Geology

• HONR 100R: Honors Colloquium

• HONR 2000: Ancient Legacies

• HONR 2100: Modern Legacies

• HUM 101H: Humanities Through the Arts

• LEGL 300H: Business Law

• MATH 121H: Calculus I

• MATH 122H: Calculus II

• MATH 221H: Calculus III

• MUSC 101H: Introduction to Music

• PHIL 100H: Introduction to Philosophy

• PHIL 205H: Ethics and Values

• PSY 101H: Introduction to Psychology

• SOC 101H: Introduction to Sociology

• ZOOL 232H: Human Anatomy

• ZOOL 242H: Human Physiology


Honors Contracts

The Honors Program uses contracts—individualized agreements between a faculty member and a student—to allow highly motivated students to customize their path to graduation with Honors. Contracts are a necessary component of upper-division coursework in Honors.

Honors Contract students are expected to: (1) demonstrate initiative beyond syllabus expectations; (2) display originality or extensive commitment in handling the subject matter; (3) produce a tangible outcome beyond standard expectations; (4) engage in extended inquiry or undergraduate research.

Students interested in completing Honors Contracts for their upper-division Honors courses should note that faculty are not obligated to allow any student to complete a course with a contract, as it does represent additional investment of time and energy from the professor. Please use the "Designing an Honors Contract" to help faculty understand your needs and their options for Honors Contracts.


Guidelines for Completion

1. Students interested in completing an Honors Contract should meet their Honors Coordinator.

2. Students should then approach the course professor during office hours or a scheduled appointment, preferably during the first week of classes to discuss the Honors Contract request.

3. With faculty approval, a student and the professor should review the course syllabus together and work together to determine the activities and deadlines the student will be responsible for completing the Honors Contract.

4. Once the specifics are agreed upon, the Honors Contract Form should be completed, signed by both the professor and student participating in the Honors Contract, and returned to the Honors Program. The Honors Program Director reviews and approves all Honors Contract proposals.

5. At the end of the semester, the student's professor is required to sign the Honors Contract Form a second time, confirming that the participating student has fulfilled the terms of the Honors Contract, has completed all agreed-upon activities, and has earned a grade of B- or better for the course. No Honors credit will be given to students who fail to complete the signature process or who earn less than a B-.



Sample Contractual Activities

For an Honors Contract, professors and students may agree to the following:

1. Ask the Honors student to attain, for instance, scores of at least a 90% on two or three of the most challenging aspects of the course.

2. Require more advanced supplemental reading, especially of primary sources

3. Assign more opportunities for writing, assessed at a higher standard

4. Ask the student to demonstrate enhanced skills in critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation

5. Ask the student demonstrate synthesis of different perspectives or points of view

6. Require use of resources or consultants from beyond the campus itself (such as other university libraries, archives, research sites, interviews or interactions with business or industry personnel)

7. Ask the student to generate community-based experiences: field trips, interviews, cultural events

8. Offer opportunities for Honors student leadership in the classroom: leading study groups, leading class discussion, assisting faculty in preparation and delivery of instructional material

9. Assign the student to investigate an area of the discipline not covered in depth in the regular course, either through a literature search, an annotated bibliography, or a conventional research paper

10. Ask the student to apply the information/expertise learned in the course in a creative or entrepreneurial way


Honors Contract