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 primary components:

  • Honors Core Curriculum
  • Honors Portfolio
  • Distinction Project
  • Additional general education requirements

This information is summarized in the Honors Program Curriculum checksheet.

Core Curriculum

The Honors Core Curriculum parallels the Roanoke College Intellectual Inquiry curriculum. These curricula focus on introducing students to the fundamental ideas and methods of liberal arts fields through topics-based courses that apply these ideas and methods to real-world questions. Honors courses provide enhanced learning opportunities through asking students to engage more deeply with complex issues and to engage with the content as it applies to communities beyond the classroom.

The curriculum is composed of 10 courses. Students begin with two freshmen seminars. The first is an introduction to critical thinking in higher education. Students use guided readings, scholarly discourse, and inquiry-based writing to engage with a scholarly field. The second course asks students to consider questions to ethics and values within a scholarly field. Through readings, writing, and oral communications, students with explore the good life for individuals and communities. While the specific courses offered vary each term, descriptions of recent HNRS 110 and 120 courses are linked below.

HNRS 110  Honors Seminar
HNRS 120  Living an Examined Life

Additionally, students take seven courses across the three major academic divisions: humanities and fine arts, social sciences, and physical sciences. If they so choose, students may substitute up to three disciplinary courses for three HNRS 200-level courses. A fourth substitution may be allowed with permission of the Honors Director. Please talk with your advisor if you would like to pursue a fourth substitution. Note that all students must take at least one HNRS course in each of the three divisions. Examples of recent course offerings are available here.

HNRS 240 Statistical Reasoning
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 class is taken after completing all of the preceding courses. This course focuses on working in small groups to use the experiences and knowledge of each group member to investigate and develop a proposal related to addressing a contemporary problem.

HNRS 300 Contemporary Issues

In addition, each student must take at least one course with a "G" (global) designation.

Honors Portfolio

The Honors Portfolio helps students explore opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and showcase their most meaningful work. The Portfolio Seminar class series (HNRS 111, 112, 113, and 114) supports the development of the Honors Portfolio during the first two years. 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. As part of the Portfolio Seminar classes, students are encouraged to connect to the campus community and beyond through co-curricular activities. There are a number of different opportunities to satisfy the co-curricular requirement as detailed in the co-curricular guidelines. Information about upcoming co-curricular activities is available on the Honors Community page.

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. More information about the Distinction Project is available here.

Additional Requirements

In addition to the courses discussed above, students must also complete through the intermediate (202) level of a foreign language, two physical education classes, and one unit of intensive learning. One of the physical education classes must be HHP 160 while the other may be a 1/4 unit course in an activity or participation in a varsity sport.