UMass Boston


Summer and Fall 2024 Honors College course descriptions packet (v.4-1-24)

Honors College Course Descriptions SP24_10-26-23

Honors students complete a minimum of 18 credits in honors courses, and meet special requirements in mathematics and foreign language. Students who successfully complete the college's curriculum will be recognized at their major college's annual Honors Convocation in May of senior year, and a notice of successful completion will be added to their official transcripts. The honors curriculum’s six components are divided into lower and upper division studies.

Lower Division

All lower-division honors courses can be counted toward general education requirements. 

  1. An honors-level course in English composition
  2. The Honors First Year Seminar, an exploration of how knowledge is constructed and communicated with emphases on the uses of language and technology
  3. Four 200-level courses
  4. The completion, through course work, placement test, or other evidence, of pre-calculus or statistics and intermediate proficiency in a foreign language, OR calculus and elementary proficiency in a foreign language

Upper Division

  1. The Honors College Junior Colloquium, ideally taken in the second semester of the junior year. Through a multidisciplinary engagement with a specific topic and through the presentations of guest speakers, the colloquium builds the skills necessary to the research process; it prepares the students for the tasks they will encounter in their senior year as they write their thesis.
  2. The senior thesis/final project, normally undertaken in the student’s major department, which earns the student honors in the major while also satisfying Honors College requirements: The college encourages the presentation of such projects at national and statewide conferences on undergraduate research. More information about the Senior Thesis/Final Project can be found on our Student Resources page.

Learning Outcomes

Honors College Learning Outcomes

Honors College students will:

  • Engage in the practice of integrating insights from multiple disciplines, and analyze connections among disciplines
  • Learn from other students from diverse majors and colleges by engaging together in the lively interchange of ideas
  • Appreciate that expertise and deep knowledge in a student’s major can be enriched by conversations about other areas of knowledge
  • Become increasingly aware of current events, ethical issues, and controversies that permeate and impact multiple disciplines of study
  • Understand that asking questions in different ways, utilizing different methodologies, and making different assumptions impacts the construction of new knowledge
  • View complex challenges in ways that incorporate local, national, and global perspectives
  • Engage in intellectual exploration of unfamiliar subjects, places, situations, and cultures, while being aware that deep understanding may only be achieved after significant time and thought
  • Acquire critical writing, critical reading, and critical thinking skills, while recognizing that these skills are continuously refined
  • Work closely and collaboratively with students and faculty
  • Approach complex arguments by evaluating evidence from multiple sources, and draw supportable conclusions based on this analysis
  • Invest time and careful thought into brainstorming and developing ideas for workable solutions to complex issues
  • Build self-awareness about one’s own interests and processes of learning
  • Apply new knowledge outside of the classroom through experiential learning opportunities (e.g. research, internships, service learning, student teaching, studying abroad)
  • Develop and practice the skills necessary to perform independent research
  • Engage deeply in field(s) of interest through a senior thesis/ final project that requires sustained commitment and careful follow-through
  • Practice asking thoughtful questions – both broad and defined
  • Identify primary and secondary sources relevant to a refined thesis statement, and generate an annotated bibliography of those sources
  • Deliver one or more oral presentations at university, local, or national events and conferences
  • Practice informed decision making, in contexts such as selecting courses, applying for internships and jobs, choosing thesis/final projects, and considering as well as preparing for future careers 

The Honors Experience

Honors College Components

The Honors College experience includes the following components:

  • Taking courses in the Honors College (two 100-level courses, four 200-level courses, and one 300-level course)
  • Fulfilling additional requirements in math and foreign language
  • Writing and presenting a senior thesis on a long-term project (e.g. research, internship, service learning, student teaching)
  • Obtaining personalized advising from an Honors College advisor, in addition to a major advisor
  • Engaging in co-curricular activities (e.g. orientation activities, special events, student organizations, etc.)