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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, students spend half of the semester playing a strategic academic game. This illustrates our pledge to deliver unique, active-learning curriculum.


The Honors curriculum is designed to work with every major and has multiple paths to completion without adding time to graduation. 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 might only enroll in one Honors class each semester.

This design lets you have the full USD undergraduate experience while taking smaller, discussion-based 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.

Students entering Honors in their first semester take a minimum of 18 credits of Honors coursework, as follows:

Complete ALL the following courses (15 credits):

  • UHON 111 Ideas in History (3 credits) Fulfills SGR #3 Social Sciences
  • UHON 211 Interdisciplinary Civilizations (3 credits) Fulfills SGR #1 Written Communication
  • UHON 390 Honors Seminars (6 credits) Fulfills elective requirements and may fulfill general education requirements
  • UHON 398 Thesis Prep (1 credit)
  • UHON 498 Thesis (2-5 credits)

Additional course options to reach (3 credits required to reach 18 Honors credits):

  • UHON 100 Honors Experience (1 credit) 
  • UHON 101 Honors Speech (3 credits) Fulfills SGR #2 Oral Communication
  • UHON 110 Honors English (3 credits) Fulfills SGR #1 Written Communication
  • PHIL 200 Honors Logic (3 credits)
  • UHON 290 Honors Seminar (3 credits) 
  • UHON 390 Honors Seminar (3 credits) 
  • UHON 395 Honors Practicum (1 credit)
  • UHON XXX Additional Honors sections

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. Two 3-credit courses are required, and 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 a business plan or an original novel, play, or musical composition – and allows students to explore a topic they are passionate about. Honors students have a thesis advisor, a faculty member who works closely with them throughout their thesis process, and a thesis committee made up of a small number of faculty members and others 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. Employers are also actively seeking students with the skills demonstrated by conceiving, planning and completing a thesis project. And some students use the thesis as an opportunity to 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.

Enriched Honors Experiences

In addition to coursework, Honors students complete five required Enriched Honors Experiences (EHEs). Honors EHEs embody the idea that important learning takes place outside the classroom and that this learning enhances what students learn in their coursework. There are a wide variety of EHEs to choose from across five domains: Leadership Development, Civic Engagement, Diversity, Personal Development, and Additional Coursework.

Examples include: 

  • serving as a leader for a student organization
  • holding elected office in SGA
  • participating in a week-long service trip through AWOL
  • studying abroad or going on a national student exchange 
  • participating in undergraduate research 
  • presenting at an undergraduate or professional conference or at IdeaFest
  • participating in an internship, student teaching or other professional experience
  • applying for a nationally competitive scholarship
  • taking additional Honors classes