Curriculum and Assessment Overview

Combining real-world projects with intellectual rigor, the Honors College at Southern Oregon University aims to provide a challenging learning environment. Our creative curricula will take advantage of the university’s unique location by drawing on the rich natural, cultural, and artistic resources that are Southern Oregon. Southern Oregon University seeks to create a community of learners prepared for a lifetime of intellectual curiosity, inquiry, scholarship, and service.

The Honors College curriculum comprises 50 credits of Honors College coursework that collectively satisfy SOU’s University Studies (general-education requirements). In addition, there are specific requirements that are not based on coursework, but that expand the Honors College scholar's horizons and aids in connecting coursework to practical experiences. The list below provides a comprehensive list of all requirements for Honors College Scholars. 

All Honors Scholars - Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Years

  • Successfully complete all required Honors College courses. This equates to 50 total credits, which collectively satisfy all general education requirements, and count toward the 180 credits required to graduate. Successfully complete a minimum of one Honors College course per academic year is required.
  • Participate in all required Honors College co-curricular activities — Students are required to attend all "Essential Events," which are designated in advance as required or mandatory.
  • Maintain minimum grade point average. This includes a 3.5 cumulative overall SOU GPA, and a 3.25 Honors GPA. See university catalog and DegreeWorks for more details on GPA requirements. 

Pick and Choose Activities - ~12-20 hours - Freshman and Sophomore Years

  • Pick and Choose Activities. Freshmen must attend four “Pick and Choose Activities” each term and submit a one-page analytical synopsis at the end of each quarter.  Sophomores must attend three “Pick and Choose Activities” per term, and none is required for juniors and seniors.  

Take the Lead Projects - ~ 50 hours total - Sophomore-Junior Year

  • Each Honors College Scholar must successfully complete two "Take the Lead Projects" in their four years at SOU. 

Substantive Educational Experience - ~120 hours - Sophomore-Junior Year

  • Each Honors College Scholar must successfully complete one substantive supplemental educational experience, which can include community partner mentoring, an internship, practicum, student teaching, service-learning project, study abroad, or National Student Exchange experience.  This is to be undertaken with the advice and guidance of the Honors College Director. 
    • This is considered by the SOU Registrar as a degree requirement for Honors College scholars. 
    • Experiences should be substantial and sustained over a period of time that is roughly equivalent to a course, or a minimum of approximately 120 hours. Some experiences, such as a term or year abroad, may be substantially longer, but experiences should not be significantly shorter. 
    • Students should complete the following in order to fulfill this requirement: 
      • Proposal. Proposal for the supplemental educational experience must be submitted to the director and the Honors College prior to the beginning of the experience. Proposals may be submitted in bullet-point fashion, or 

Required Courses: 


Students who wish to graduate as Honors Scholars will complete the following curriculum: 

Other Required Courses


(28 credits)

Description of Honors College curriculum: 

FIRST YEAR CURRICULUM

HON 101: Honors Foundations (4 credits)

Required of all freshman Honors College students in the fall term, students will demonstrate proficiency in critical reading, analysis, and discussion. They will:

  • Identify a subject, purpose, thesis, supporting points, evidence, assumptions, and conclusions in a text;
  • Craft a thesis claim;
  • Demonstrate that he or she can tailor an essay to fit one’s audience and intent;
  • Overcome writer’s block through exercises like free-writing and clustering ideas;
  • Write paragraphs that have unity, development, and coherence;
  • Show attentiveness to sentence-level choices, so that writing has vigor, precision, economy, and flair, and design effective beginnings and endings.

Open only to Honors College students.

HON 102: Honors Foundations (4 credits)

Required of all freshman Honors College students in the winter term, students will:

  • Demonstrate an ability to choose a general subject;
  • Compile a working bibliography;
  • Limit areas of research;
  • Formulate a tentative thesis and restate it;
  • Master careful reading and taking notes, the arts of summary, paraphrase, and quotation;
  • Master the craft of preparing an outline and writing a first draft;
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify logical fallacies and document sources;
  • Revise work and write a final draft.

Prerequisite: HON 101

Open only to Honors College students.

HON 103: Honors Foundations (4 credits)

Required of all freshman Honors students in the spring term, students will demonstrate continued practice of critical-thinking skills covered in HON 101 and HON 102 through continued discussion of class readings. Students will also:

  • Show evidence of information literacy through library research;
  • Demonstrate a sharpening judgment of legitimate sources;
  • Demonstrate an ability to improve writing skills and revise work;
  • Implement strategies of sharpening a thesis and developing a coherent an essay;
  • Exhibit time-management skills;
  • Work collaboratively in small groups;
  • Speak publicly through classroom presentations;
  • Exhibit creativity by adapting a project from one medium to another.

Prerequisite: HON 102

Open only to Honors College students.

HON 243: Probability & Statistics (4 credits)

Required of all freshman Honors College students in the spring term, this course integrates basic concepts of probability and statistics. Topics from probability will include Venn diagrams, independence, mutually exclusive, conditional probability, and counting techniques such as permutations, combinations, and sampling with or without replacement. Students will learn techniques for describing data both graphically and numerically and will explore inferential statistical concepts such as the Normal distribution, regression, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and p-values. This course is open only to Honors College students and satisfies University Strand D (Quantitative Reasoning): Effectively formulate and use mathematical models and procedures to address abstract and applied problems. Prerequisites: MTH 95 or an appropriate SOU placement level, and enrollment in the Honors College.

SECOND AND THIRD YEAR CURRICULUM

HON 209: Practicum / Internship (1-8 credits)

Credits to be arranged. Repeatable for a maximum of 8 credits.

HON 250: Logic and Lines of Argumentation (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the fall term of their sophomore year, this is the first in a three-term sequence that introduces and develops skills for constructing arguments, including both deductive and inductive. It examines a variety of samples from various disciplines as models for reasoning as well as learning to distinguish between opinion, belief, fact, and knowledge.

HON 251: Fallacies in Arguments (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the winter term of their sophomore year, this is the second in the three-term sequence known as “Modes of Argumentation,” and develops skills for recognizing fallacies or errors in reasoning. It examines fallacies in several categories: Relevance, Weak Induction, Presumption, and Ambiguity.

HON 252: Varieties of Reasoning (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the spring term of their sophomore year, this is the third in the three-term sophomore-seminars sequence and explores varieties of argumentation employed in different areas of human experience. It covers arguments made in science, law, politics, religion, as well as in moral and philosophical settings. Through careful reading and textual analysis, Socratic dialogues and writing exercises, the seminar prepares students to identify and distinguish between argument types and their purposes.

HON 299: Special Studies (1-8 credits)

Credits to be arranged. Repeatable for different content for a maximum of 16 credits.

HON 301: Leadership: Historical and Contemporary Figures (4 credits)

Required of all Honors College students with sophomore standing or higher, this course requires students to consider numerous forms of leadership, and critically evaluate the leadership styles and contributions of various historical and contemporary figures.

HON 315: Art, Culture, and Humanities (4 credits)

Required of all Honors College students with sophomore standing or higher. Students will examine the concepts and works of select philosophers, artists, and historians whose ideas have been central to the ways in which societies have expressed and interpreted art. Students will explore various approaches to aesthetics (the philosophy and theory of “beauty” and “art”), and discuss what influences and values these have for society. A multi-disciplinary approach to the theory, meaning, and production of art will be used.

HON 317: Politics, Institutions, and Society (4 credits)

Required of all Honors College students with sophomore standing or higher. Students will explore the normative complexities involved in the interplay between individuals, institutions, and public policy in modern democracies. They will examine these topics by analyzing some of the most challenging contemporary issues, such as climate change, stem cell research, hunger, access to healthcare, education, legal justice, and human rights. Ethical, social, and political implications for citizens in the context of a civil society will be discussed.

HON 319: Science, Sustainability, and Nature (4 credits)

Required of all Honors College students with sophomore standing or higher. Critical issues facing society that relate to science, nature, or sustainability will be examined. Issues will be explored from scientific, historical, cultural, economic, and social perspectives. Students will analyze nature, origins, and ethical concerns of selected problems and conflicts.

JUNIOR SEMINARS — MODES OF INQUIRY

HON 350: Qualitative and Historical Inquiry (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the fall term of their junior year, this is the first in a three-term sequence of courses known collectively as the “Junior Seminars: Modes of Inquiry.” It introduces students to the methodology of social-scientific research. Students learn how to evaluate social research, and how social scientists gather and analyze data. Students will explore the strengths and weaknesses of using “the scientific method” as a means of producing knowledge about the social world. Topics explored include study design, sampling, measurement, causality, and the political and ethical issues involved in research.

HON 351: Descriptive and Correlational Inquiry (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the winter term of their junior year, this seminar explores the descriptive and correlational aspects of quantitative research. Through descriptive research, they will examine data and analyze statistics related to phenomena, one variable at a time. Building on univariate analysis, students will learn to apply correlational statistical techniques and investigate relations among multiple variables. Through correlational research, students investigate a range of factors, including the nature of the relationship between two or more variables, and the theoretical model that might be developed and tested to explain these resultant correlations. Students examine the degree of strength to which causal inferences can be made using these forms of inquiry.

HON 352: Experimental Inquiry (1 credit)

Taken by Honors College students in the spring term of their junior year, this seminar uses selected examples from fields of natural science to introduce and analyze the process of scientific discovery. Using case studies, students assess the application of scientific method, generation of hypothesis, data collection, experiment design, the drawing of conclusions, and how scientific inquiry informs a society’s understanding of knowledge and nature. Elements in scientific research, such as technology, aesthetics, intuition, and serendipity are discussed.

HON 399: Special Studies (1-8 credits)

Credits to be arranged. Repeatable for different content for a maximum of 16 credits.

HON 409: Practicum / Internship (1-8 credits)

Credits to be arranged. Repeatable for a maximum of 8 credits.

HON 490: Honors College Capstone (4 credits)

Required of all Honors College students, this course provides students with an opportunity to integrate and apply the concepts and techniques they have learned during the course of their studies at Southern Oregon University. In accordance with the SOU Honors College Capstone Guidelines, each student creates and produces a "Capstone Project," which must be an intensive product of the student's independent work, and must be completed under the guidance of the Honors College Director and an SOU faculty member who serves as the Project Supervisor. Consisting of both a written product, and a presentation of the student’s research in a public academic forum, the Capstone Project must focus on a research problem, theoretical issue, new creative work, or innovative area of application, preferably addressing a regional topic that has national or international implications. While striving to make an original scholarly contribution to their academic disciplines, students are encouraged to complete a Capstone Project that will simultaneously fulfill requirements for their major.