Honors Program Curriculum
Honors Program students take around two Honors courses per term: one (in most cases) specifically required, the other chosen by each student based on availability and interest. This balance of structure and flexibility is an important feature of the curriculum.
First and Second Year Honors
Honors Sections of Baylor Courses
Honors classes adapt the content and pace of many required introductory courses to the distinctive culture of Honors students. Students may choose, from among an array of options, at least one available Honors class per semester based upon course availability and upon their degree plans, their interests, and their schedules. Students majoring in the sciences or intending to do research in the sciences are encouraged to take at least one Honors science class each semester.
These small classes (maximum enrollment of 18) allow Honors Program freshmen to explore special topics with some of Baylor’s Honors faculty. The seminars are designed to encourage the early acquisition of broad reading, critical thinking, and sound writing skills; and to introduce freshmen to the many opportunities for intellectual and cultural development in university life.
Great Texts Courses
This sequence of courses focuses on the reading and discussion of classic texts, chosen primarily from the western intellectual tradition of liberal arts and sciences. Two Great Texts courses--spanning the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance periods in the West--are usually required as part of the freshman-sophomore curriculum in the Honors Program. The classes are small (max. 18), and can fulfill a class requirement on most degrees. University Scholars will take their first Great Texts class this fall; all other students will take this in the spring. Honors students in the BIC do not take Great Texts classes as their BIC classes cover similar material. CLA 2301 and 2302 can count for GTX 2301 when completed with an Honors contract.
This series of book discussions for sophomores and juniors has long been a highlight of the Honors Program. Students meet five times per semester, usually in small groups of 10-15, to discuss books and readings selected by Baylor professors and civic leaders in Waco. This required Colloquium (2 credit-hours) introduce Honors Program students to a variety of classic and contemporary issues and to the unique perspectives of scholarly disciplines outside of their major fields.
Junior and Senior Year Honors
Continuing Honors Classes
Students continue taking classes for Honors credit, often in the major or preprofessional program. Students take a total of three upper-level classes during their junior and senior year.
Advanced Readings and Research
During the junior year Honors Program students undertake two sections of Advanced Readings (1 credit-hour each), in order to explore specific topics with the guidance of a faculty mentor, usually in the Honors student’s major field. These readings courses enable the student to define an area of research interest that will become the basis for the Honors thesis, which is discussed in occasional, structured workshops.
Honors Thesis Projects
The capstone of the Honors Program is the preparation of a thesis essay that presents the results of original research, or an equivalent project, conducted under the direction of a faculty mentor. Four semester hours are devoted to the thesis project, which must be defended before a committee of faculty in the research field. Upon completion, the thesis demonstrates the student’s mastery of the intellectual skills essential to critical inquiry and scholarship.
Curriculum Overview: Most Majors
Is the Honors Program Harder?
The Thesis Project