The Honors Curriculum

As a member of the Honors Program, you'll spend plenty of time in the classroom with other members of the Honors community. The Honors Program has its own general education curriculum designed to provide enhanced academic rigor, heightened intellectual discourse, and significant engagement with communities beyond the classroom. Our curriculum is designed to help you learn what you live for, and to ensure that you enter life after Roanoke with a well-rounded education in the best tradition of the liberal arts.

Here's a sampling of some of the courses available in our innovative Honors curriculum:

  • Hnrs 110: Narratives of Urban Space
  • Hnrs 110: Global Health Challenges
  • Hnrs 120: The Moral of Our Story
  • Hnrs 240: Statistics in an Online World
  • Hnrs 250: Chemistry and Crime
  • Hnrs 260: Global HIV/AIDS: The Sociology of an Epidemic
  • Hnrs 270: Gender Across Cultures
  • Hnrs 271: Why Hitler?

More details:

The Honors Curriculum consists of four integrated components:

(a) Honors Core Curriculum 
(b) Honors Portfolio
(c) Distinction Project
(d) Additional general education requirements Honors Program Checksheet

The Core Curriculum

The Honors Core curriculum parallels the Intellectual Inquiry curriculum that is required of all other students. In both curricula, students learn through topic-based courses that apply the skills, knowledge, and methodologies of different disciplines to real questions and issues.  Honors courses provide enhanced learning opportunities for students in two ways: They offer more sophisticated or challenging materials or assignments.  Examples might include greater reliance on primary source material, readings and assignments that dig deeper into complex issues, more discussion, and more student-driven course material or classroom activity.

Each course has a distinctive engagement component that uses course content to connect students with a community beyond the class.  Examples might include collecting data in the Roanoke Valley, participating in an embedded service learning project, exchanging ideas with scholars in the field, and planning an event for the campus or an external community.

Courses in the Honors Core are as follows:

Two first year seminars:

HNRS 110   Honors Seminar
HNRS 120    Living an Examined Life

Seven courses from disciplinary perspectives, which are satisfied by HNRS courses listed below.  Students may also choose to substitute up to three disciplinary courses or INQ courses in place of equivalent HNRS requirements.  A fourth substitution of an INQ course is allowed with permission of the Honors Program Director. However, students applying substitutions still must take at least one HNRS course in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (HNRS 240, 241, 250, 251), one in the Social Sciences (HNRS 260), and one in the Humanities and Fine Arts (HNRS 270, 271).  In addition, at least one HNRS, INQ or disciplinary course must have a global perspective. Global courses are denoted with a G in the course section designation.

HNRS 250    Scientific Reasoning I
HNRS 241    Mathematical Reasoning  OR HNRS 251 Scientific Reasoning II
HNRS 260    Social Scientific Reasoning (2 units required from different disciplines)
HNRS 270    Human Heritage I
HNRS 271    Human Heritage II

The capstone course:

HNRS 300    Contemporary Issues

Honors Core Curriculum FAQs

Honors Portfolio

The Honors Portfolio helps students explore opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and showcase their most meaningful work.  The Portfolio Seminar (HNRS 111, 112, 113, 114) supports development of the Honors Portfolio during the first two years, as students pursue deliberate, individualized programs of cultural, intellectual and service activities that broaden and deepen their understanding of the world outside the classroom.  In the first year students identify and cultivate broad interests by exploring a wide range of opportunities on campus and in the community.  In the second year students move toward depth as they choose extended, more focused experiences and begin to lay groundwork for their Distinction Projects.  In this year students also explore and prepare to participate in high-impact opportunities on and off campus.  In creating the Honors Portfolio, students draw on written and creative works related to these breadth, depth, and distinction experiences along with other academic and personal accomplishments to create an integrated and forward-looking picture of their development at Roanoke College.  

Honors Portfolio FAQs

Distinction Project

During the third and fourth years, students bring their academic, intellectual, cultural and/or service interests to bear on a distinctive extended project that spans at least two semesters and includes a significant written or creative work.  This Distinction Project may take many forms; examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Two-unit research or creative project
  • Semester or year of study away with associated project
  • Extended service leadership project
  • Internship and related one-unit research project

The project will be shared with an on- or off-campus audience through presentation or performance, and the culminating written or creative work becomes part of the Honors Portfolio. Students may apply to the Honors Program Director for funding to support the Distinction Project.

Distinction Project FAQs

Additional General Education Requirements

In addition to the Honors Core, students in the Honors Program must complete the following general education requirements: Proficiency in a foreign language through the intermediate (202) level. Two physical education activities. One of these must be HHP 160 (Fitness for Life); the other may be a ¼ unit course in a different activity or participation in a varsity sport. One unit of Intensive Learning.