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What is an Honors Course? 

Honors courses are interesting, challenging, and you should have fun with them.  With a small class of curious students who incline toward academic excellence (typically no more than 20 students), you can design your course around rich learning experiences that are qualitatively different than what is found in a typical course.  In practice, this often means:

  • Learning is driven less by lecture and more by actively engaging ideas
  • Instructors coach students toward addressing topics at a high level of sophistication
  • Students learn to recognize important nuances
  • Students are confronted with ambiguity, and are equipped to respond in meaningful ways
  • Students learn to understand phenomena at multiple scales or across time
  • Students make connections across subjects or disciplines
  • Students establish and defend positions
  • Students are expected to take pride in their work, and to contribute to a high-quality experience

Honors courses often involve reading of greater depth than ordinary, sometimes including primary sources. Assignments tend to stress theory, analysis, and the synthesis of principles, and often ask students to apply their learning to the world beyond RIT. The student experience may include original research, and it is common to include a culminating project that is publicly shared.


Although honors courses can be designed for students specializing in a given discipline, it is more common to create honors courses that are broadly accessible to curious, intellectually agile, diligent novices who enjoy learning, and who want to know more about themselves and the world they inhabit.