UHON 111 - Reacting to the Past

UHON 111 is one of the Honors Program's signature classes. Taken during the second semester of the first-year, student spend half of the semester playing a strategic academic game. This illustrates our pledge to deliver unique, active-learning curriculum.

Honors courses are specifically designed for our students, but they also meet the same academic requirements as equivalent general education courses. However, not every course in the Honors Core is an Honors course; in fact, you'll only enroll in one Honors class each semester.

This design lets you have the full USD undergraduate experience while taking intimate classes with students who are similarly motivated and come from all majors across campus. We teach you to explore complex issues, develop your own opinions and persuasively share your conclusions in writing and discussion. These are skills that will give you a competitive advantage for your plans after graduation.

The Honors Core is made up of Honors classes and general academic requirements. General requirements are courses available to the general student body, while Honors classes are reserved solely for Honors students.


Honors Core Curriculum
UHON 110 – Honors English 3 credits, taken fall of first year
UHON 111 – Ideas in History 3 credits, taken spring of first year
UHON 211 – Interdisciplinary Civilization II 3 - 5  credits, taken spring of second year
UHON 101 – Honors Speech Communication 3 credits, taken sometime during first/second years
UHON 390 – Honors Seminars (take two) 6 credits, taken sometime during third/fourth years
UHON 398 – Thesis Prep 1 credit, taken fall of third year
UHON 498 – Honors Thesis 2-6 credits, taken spring of third year/fall of fourth year
Math option #1: Math 121, 123 or higher 1 semester of calculus-level math
Math option #2: Math 115 + PHIL 200 1 semester of pre-calculus and 1 semester of Honors Logic
Science 2 semesters of lab science
Humanities 2 semesters (non-English language recommended)
Aesthetic Experience 1 semester of fine arts (music, art, theatre), can be 1 credit
Social Science 1 semester 

NOTE: Transfer credit/dual-credit/AP credit is accepted for all courses except UHON 111, 211, 390, 398, and 498.

Honors Seminars

Honors seminars are the most popular classes we offer.  Comprising of two 3-credit courses, students typically take these in their junior and/or senior year. Faculty from across campus design seminars just for Honors students – a seminar has to be unique and cannot already be listed in the catalog. Recent topics have included 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

An Honors thesis is the capstone project for all students who plan to graduate from the Honors Program at USD. The thesis can take many forms – from a scientific experiment or literary analysis to an original novel, play, or music composition – and allows students to explore a topic they are passionate about. Honors students have a thesis advisor, a faculty member that works closely with them throughout their thesis process, and a thesis committee made up of a small number of faculty members and other stakeholders who do work related to the thesis topic. This support network helps guide students through their thesis process to a successful defense and completion of the project.

Students who write a thesis related to their academic and career goals 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 considered priority by employers. 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 prepared to make all the important decisions with plenty of support from faculty and the Honors Program director.

Academic Requirements

To graduate with the designation of University Scholar or Thesis Scholar, a student must have:

  • 2.75 cumulative GPA at the end of their first year
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the fall semester of their second year
  • 3.25 cumulative GPA by the end of the fall semester of their third year
  • 3.25 cumulative GPA throughout the rest of their time in the Honors Program
  • 3.25 cumulative GPA at the time of graduation

 Incoming first-year students have two semesters to meet the 2.75 cumulative GPA requirement unless they were accepted to the Honors Program on provisional status (provisionally admitted students must meet the requirements set forth in their provisional admission letter).

Second-year students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of their fall semester. If a second-year student does not have a 3.0 cumulative GPA at that time, the student will be placed on Honors academic probation and should achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of their spring semester to return to good academic standing with the Honors Program. A student on Honors academic probation who does not achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the spring semester but does make progress toward that GPA, may remain in the Honors Program on the condition of continued GPA improvement. Such decisions will be made in consultation with the student, but ultimately decided by the Honors Program director.

The steps outlined above also apply to third and fourth-year students concerning the 3.25 cumulative GPA requirement. However, students must have a 3.25 cumulative GPA at the time of graduation to graduate with the distinction of University Scholar or Thesis Scholar.

A student placed on academic probation has one semester to demonstrate progress toward the minimum GPA requirement. Failure to make adequate progress for two consecutive semesters will result in dismissal from the Honors Program, regardless of GPA.

Note also that students must have cumulative GPA of 3.25 to register for Honors thesis credits (UHON 498). Additionally, students who do not have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 will not receive priority registration for Honors seminars (UHON 390) however, students may still request to enroll in Honors seminars and will be allowed to register if seats are available.