Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus

Honors Program

Honors Program Course Requirements

For academic years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 the theme for the Honors cohort classes is Heroes, Gods and Monsters. Honors CORE students will enroll in the first four courses listed below and one additional course from the elective Honors Seminars. Honors SCHOLAR students will enroll in the first three courses listed below and the Honors Capstone Course; they may choose the other three courses from among the elective Honors Seminars, the Interdisciplinary Seminar or the Fieldwork option. One Contract Course is also an option for Honors Scholars.

Honors English Seminar (3)

This class will invite students to read, write and reflect on some of the most challenging questions that face any society. The reading and writing projects students will complete in this class will be rigorous and challenging, and they are designed to develop their analytical reasoning and critical thinking while giving them practice in composing well-reasoned academic arguments. But their work will also allow them to be creative, encouraging them to approach assignments and projects in ways that play to their strengths as students and challenging them in productive, engaging ways. Fulfills the University General Education Freshman Writing Requirement.

Honors Philosophy Seminar (3)

Students will cultivate capacities for engaging in critical and self-reflective activities by developing skills in reading, discussing and writing about primary philosophical texts concerned with ethical and/or political issues. They will gain familiarity with the kinds of activities associated with the academic discipline called Philosophy, although they will also acquire an understanding of what philosophical activity is independently of its status as an academic discipline. Satisfies University General Education Requirement of Philosophy 140.

Honors First Year Seminar (3)

The Honors first year seminar is meant to be an introduction to college learning, offering students a chance to engage actively with the program theme, with a single disciplinary approach, and with the City of Chicago as a sort of laboratory or ethnographic field. Umberto Eco observes, "The world is a book that demands to be read like a book," and the Honors freshman seminar is designed to help our students encounter the "City as Text."

Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar (3)

Honors students explore questions revolving around a single theme in their first two years of coursework--considering that theme or issue from several disciplinary perspectives. But while students have had opportunities to make connections across those courses, the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar creates opportunities to make the integration of learning more concrete. Course satisfies the General Education requirement for the Interdisciplinary Seminar and a total of 6 GE units in two different disciplines.

Honors Elective Courses

Additional Honors elective courses are offered each semester that also can be used to satisfy General Education Requirements. All Honors electives emphasize critical thinking and writing and nurture modes of inquiry within the particular discipline engaged by the course. Students may enroll in elective courses in the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Natural Sciences, although because not all types will be offered every semester, careful planning is recommended.

Honors Contract Course (3)

Students pursing the Honors Scholar option may fulfill one course requirement through a non-Honors course that is adapted to meet the standards of the Honors curriculum. Honors Contract Courses require an engagement that is qualitatively different; indeed, the individual honors student's learning should contribute to the learning of the entire classroom community. The students will identify learning objectives in conversation with the professor of record and with Honors program administrators, negotiating terms that will be made explicit in a contract signed at the beginning of the semester of study.

Honors Fieldwork (1-3)

The Honors Fieldwork option is designed to provide hands-on experiences in the students' areas of academic and professional interest; to encourage extracurricular engagements that cultivate skills and a knowledge base that will enrich students' potential for success; and to support students in the development of self-representational materials for professional use. Honors Fieldwork options may include, among others, internships, shadowing professionals, lab research under the direction of a faculty mentor, study abroad, community based learning or service projects, volunteer work in one's academic/professional area and independent applied or creative projects under the direction of a faculty or professional mentor.

Honors Capstone Project I and II (1-3 units each semester)

The Honors Capstone Project enables students to pursue independently a topic to which their curiosity and ambition throughout their college career has led them. Working closely with a faculty expert, doing sustained work of significant scope and substance, learning more about not only their subject but also their own capabilities -- all make this experience unusual and rewarding. The requirement is in part designed to provide an apprenticeship in professional knowledge and skills that will enhance student credentials for advanced graduate education and for employment in their area of professional interest. But the primary purpose is to engage the students in a sustained intellectual and creative process that is self-directed and that integrates and channels the critical skills they have developed during their career in Honors into a substantial product that is uniquely their own.