Honors Program

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Honors Curriculum

Demanding. Challenging. Rewarding. That's what students say of the Honors Program at the University of South Dakota. Through the Honors Program, students will experience intimate class sizes and receive the individual attention needed to excel. See an Honors class in action by clicking the video to the right.
 All students - in every major - must complete a core curriculum. USD has two: the General Education Core and the Honors Program core. All Honors courses are embedded in our core curriculum. But not every course in the Honors Core is an Honors course. In fact, you'll enroll in only one honors class each semester.

This design allows students to participate fully in all aspects of USD's undergraduate experience while taking small classes with students of similar motivation and diverse viewpoints. We teach you to digest complex issues, to cultivate an opinion and to persuasively share your conclusions in writing and discussion. We think of these as the skills that will give you a competitive advantage - no matter what your career.

Core Curriculum:

The Honors Core is made up of both honors classes and honors requirements. Requirements are courses available to the general student body. Honors classes are courses reserved for honors students and make up about half of the honors core curriculum and about 15 percent of an honors student's total coursework.

Honors Courses:
Honors English (UHON 110) Fall freshman year, 3 credits
Honors Ideas in History (UHON 111) Spring freshman year, 3 credits
Honors Speech Communication (SPCM 101) Freshman or sophomore year, 3 credits
Honors Interdisciplinary Civilization I & II (UHON 210 & 211) Fall sophomore year (210), spring sophomore year (211)
Two Honors Seminars (UHON 390) Junior and/or senior year, 3 credits each
Thesis Preparation (UHON 398) Fall junior year, 1 credit
Honors Thesis (UHON 498) Spring junior year or fall senior year, minimum
2 credits

Honors Requirements:
One semester of calculus (MATH 121, 123 or higher) Typical first year course, 4-5 credits
     OR one semester of pre-calculus (5 credits) and one semester Honors Logic (PHIL 220), 3 credits
One course in the fine arts (music, art or theatre) Anytime, 1-3 credits
One year of one laboratory science First two years, 6-10 credits
One year of one foreign language Before senior year, 6-8 credits
*Note: Transfer, AP or CLEP credit is accepted for math, fine arts, science, Honors English (not CLEP), Honors Speech and foreign language.


Honors Seminars:

Seminars are the most popular classes we offer. They are three credit courses usually taken in your junior and/or senior year. Seminars are courses that faculty from across campus design just for Honors Program students. The course has to be unique and cannot be listed in the catalog. Recent topics include things like:  Evil Lurks Among Us: The Moral Dimension of Horror, The Causes and Consequences of Epidemics and Pandemics, and How We Came To Know What We Know: The History and Philosophy of Science.

Honors Thesis:

Honors theses are as diverse as honors students themselves; in the past they have included everything from a microbiology research project to a computer program to a novel to and a suite for piano. Thesis work is conducted in the junior and senior year and students decide what they want to do and who they want to work with. Students who write a thesis that is related to their career objectives regularly get into top graduate and professional programs, win fellowships, and find themselves especially prepared for graduate work. Others, especially in business, political science and education are hired into positions they really want. We also have students who fulfill life-long creative dreams of recording an album, writing a novel or composing a music score. Whatever you choose, you will be in the driver's seat when it comes to making all the important decisions with support from a faculty member and the Honors Program director.