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Honors Courses

Specialized Honors courses encourage and expect students to develop and share their own ideas in a climate of intellectual debate and sustained scholarly inquiry. The academic growth of students occurs in the context of dynamic interdisciplinary seminars where smaller class sizes permit a more intimate and intensive learning environment.

Honors classes are designed to help students think on their feet and develop their analytical skills, while being mentored by faculty and challenged by their peers. 

Most courses count toward both the Honors Program requirements and the Cabrini general education curriculum (or in some cases, as electives for a given major or minor in that course’s home department).

Multiple Honors seminars are offered each semester; the program varies offerings each year so that new courses are made available along with those which have been offered historically.

Full course listings are available in the undergraduate catalog. Note that not every course will be offered in a given year, and that new courses are regularly being designed. In addition to these Honors courses, students are encouraged to speak with their department chairs and the Honors Program co-directors about doing research projects and presentations.

Current Honors Courses

H-ECG 100 Honors Engagements with the Common Good: 
Reacting to the Past, Engaging the Present 
This writing-intensive course approaches the common good from a variety of perspectives by exposing and interrogating the tension between the individual and society. It also examines the individual’s position in various communities: family, nation, race, class, gender, and other categories of identity. This course makes students increasingly prepared to see solidarity, reciprocity, and mutual engagement as social justice.

Through reading, writing, classroom discussion, and co-curricular activities, students come to a greater understanding of the formal and informal social structures that construct their identities. A key teaching method in the class is the nationally recognized “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy. This method was developed originally at Barnard and Columbia, and it is now used in college classrooms across the country.

“Reacting” calls on students to play out the parts of historical figures in key moments of cultural and political crisis. Students inhabit their roles, getting into the minds and hearts of those historical individuals they portray. Public speaking and writing “in character” are essential features of the “reacting” method. 
For first-year Honors students only. Offered fall. 
3 credits

H-BIO 101 Honors Biology: Biological Science I 
This introductory course for majors includes the scientific method, biochemistry of life processes, cell structure and function, metabolism, taxonomy, and evolution. 
Prerequisite: Placement in MAT 117 or higher or completion of MAT 111. Limited to science, allied health, exercise science and health promotion majors, or by permission of the department chair. Satisfies part of the Scientific Literacy requirement. 
Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Lab fee. Students may not receive credit for both BIO 101 and BIO 177. 
4 credits

H-BIO Honors Biology: Biological Science II 
The second semester continues H-BIO 101 with studies of molecular and Mendelian genetics, diversity of life including animal physiology, and ecology and the environment. Lab includes an independent project and research paper. Limited to science, allied health, exercise science and health promotion majors, or by permission of the department chair. 
Prerequisite: BIO 101, earning a ‘C-’ or higher. 
Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Lab fee. Students may not receive credit for both BIO 102 and BIO 177. 4 credits

H-BIO 170 Honors Biology: Biological Evolution 
This non-majors course will review fundamental theories and mechanisms of biological evolution of life on Earth with a focus on how evolution occurs at the genetic level. Topics will include a review of historical and modern figures in evolution and their theories, DNA and its role as the molecular basis of heredity, the fossil record, phylogeny and the evolutionary history of biological diversity with emphasis on the human species. 
Prerequisite: Completion of quantitative literacy requirement. 
Satisfies part of the Scientific Literacy requirement. Three hours integrated lecture/lab. Lab fee. 
3 credits

H-BUS 300 Honors Business Administration: The Great Depression (H) 
This course studies the various conditions leading up to the Great Depression—commercial banking, the Federal Reserve, stock markets, and macroeconomic policies. Current monetary and fiscal policies will be compared and contrasted to those in operation during the Great Depression. Learn the history of banking in the U.S. and contrast it with today’s financial market. 
3 credits

H-BUS 303 Honors Business Administration: Game Theory 
This course introduces students to the basic tools of game theoretic analysis and some of its many applications to economics. Students will learn how to recognize and model strategic situations, and to predict when and how their actions will influence the decisions of others. 
3 credits

H-BUS 304 Honors Business Administration: Business Ethics (V) 
This course will examine issues and scenarios that relate directly to the workplace, so that future employees can develop a clearer sense of how their corporate code of ethics relates to operational decisions made on a daily basis. 
3 credits

H-COM/PSY 302 Honors Communication/Psychology: Psychology in the Media 
This course examines media formats such as books, magazines, movies, video, music, video games, marketing and advertising through the lens of psychological theory and research. Activities and assignments include critiques, debates reaction papers, field and analytic research. 
Prerequisite: PSY 101. 
3 credits

H-ENG 292 Honors English: Reacting to the Past—Advanced Master Class 
This course further engages students in “Reacting to the Past,” a teaching method initially encountered by first-year Honors students in H-ECG 100. This course is primarily designed for veterans of “reacting” who have worked with the pedagogy in other courses; however, motivated students who are new to “Reacting” are also welcome. 
3 credits

H-ENG 305 Honors English: Creation, the Fall, and Redemption in Poetry, Painting, and Music 
Throughout the centuries, biblical stories have been the inspiration for great art in a variety of media, most especially literature, music and the visual arts. This course will focus on the story of the Creation, the Fall, and Redemption as it is treated in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, George F. Handel’s Messiah, the paintings of William Blake and Gustave Dore, and other artistic interpretations of both Old and New Testament biblical narratives. 
3 credits

H-ENG/HIS 314 Honors English/History: The European Renaissance (H) 
This Honors “Heritage” course provides a detailed examination of the European Renaissance from its Italian origins to its unique manifestation in the literature and culture of England. Students will explore the dynamic cultural history of a watershed moment in the transformation of the western world. They will interrogate important yet controversial notions of art, culture, and historical periodization—seen through the linked lenses of primary, secondary, and interdisciplinary sources. 
3 credits

H-ENG 330 Honors English: Theorizing Beauty in Literature and Culture (I) 
In this “Individual and Society” course students will examine various arguments about what and who defines beauty in America. Students will also explore how a culturally constructed standard of beauty becomes complicated by questions about race, class, and gender.

Student researchers will gather data on subjects such as the impact of media on perceptions of physical attractiveness, body satisfaction in different cultures, and the relationship between beauty and justice. The class will develop a consensus theory of beauty that will be applied to texts—material and literary—to see how those texts both express and shape an evolving culture of beauty in America. 
3 credits

H-ENG 344 Honors English: Television as Narrative Art 
From the 1990s to the present, critics and scholars have noted a revolution in long-form storytelling on television, both in drama and comedy. Groundbreaking and ambitious series such as The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Six Feet UnderArrested DevelopmentDeadwoodThe Wire24Lost, and Mad Men have irrevocably transformed the media landscape. What many have termed a new “golden age” of television has emerged to challenge the traditional artistic dominance of cinema.

We now find television, at its best, claiming the status of art and discovering in its narratives the richness of character and plotting once assumed to the be the domain of novels. This course endeavors a scholarly appraisal of television, with special attention to how the medium not only emulates literary narrative, but is in fact transforming narrative as we know it. 
3 credits

H-ENG 355 Honors English: Literature of the Holocaust 
This Honors course examines the literature of the Jewish Holocaust and, specifically, writing by Holocaust survivors (Jewish and non-Jewish) whose work defines the culture of remembrance we associate with this historical event. By looking at the work of writers like Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, Primo Levi, and others—and by examining other media (shtetl diaries, photographs, and film)—we will, as a class, develop an understanding of the political, spiritual, and aesthetic dimensions of this work and its informing influence on cultures around the world.

Through committed study of the period, students will better appreciate our human capacity for hate and the redemptive powers of love, forgiveness, and art. 
3 credits

H-HIS/PHI 309 Honors History/Philosophy: Baseball and the American Tradition (H) 
Within the context of the game of baseball, this course will examine significant historical and cultural aspects of American life. The history of the game itself sets the stage for analyzing class stratification of rich and poor; race and gender relations; the “level playing fields” of baseball as a business; the inspiring influence the game has had on literature and the arts; and the psychology of the human drama of triumph and tragedy played out on and off the field. 
3 credits

H-HIS 315 Honors History: The Civil War (H) 
This course offers a dramatic and detailed examination of causes, people, strategies, and battles that shaped the most violent and pivotal event in American history. 
3 credits

H-LAN/SPA 301 Honors Language/Spanish: Don Quixote and the Art of Imagination 
This online course is a study of Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote, and includes an examination of critical and scholarly approaches to the novel. Particular attention is given to the creative process and the imagination. Emphasis is placed on the theme of injustice and recurrent topics such as identity crisis, the partnership of opposites, appearance versus reality, and idealism versus realism.

Students need not speak Spanish to take this course. The text and other reading selections are in English. Spanish majors wishing to fulfill elective credits must complete all journal entries, quizzes, the midterm paper, and the final oral presentation in Spanish. 
3 credits

H-PHI 302 Honors Philosophy: The Idea of Beauty / The Philosophy of Art (A) 
The seminar explores the human response to aesthetic values. Art forms such as painting, drama, and music are analyzed in light of the philosophical contributions of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and others. 
3 credits

H-PHI 305 Honors Philosophy: Existentialism (I) 
This course offers an examination of philosophies of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche as well as an exposition of major phenomenologists as Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Course is supplemented with readings from contemporary literature. 
Prerequisite: Two courses in philosophy or permission of the instructor. 
3 credits

H-PHI 306 Honors Philosophy: Myths, Symbols, and Images (H) 
The course examines a variety of cultural mythologies such as Native American, Latin American, Nordic, Greek, and African to determine the meaning and significance of these myths as they reveal human experiences. The use of myths, symbols, and images are analyzed within the context of the cultural history and as expressions of profound relationships that humankind bear with each other and their surroundings. 
3 credits

H-PHI 310 Honors Philosophy: American Philosophy (H) 
This course analyzes the philosophical writings of American thinkers from colonial times to the twentieth century. Two fundamental questions will be addressed throughout the course:

  • What are the philosophical theories that support the development of America?
  • Is there a uniquely American philosophy that is independent of European thinkers?

3 credits 

H-POL 301 Honors Political Science: Terrorism 
This course offers an investigation and analysis of the role and functions terrorism plays in contemporary society. This course examines the historical roots of terrorism and attempts to define the differences between terrorists and freedom fighters as well as between state-sponsored acts of violence and those performed by non-state groups and individuals.

Emphasis is placed on the causes of terrorism, the impact of terrorism on international politics and evaluating the strategies of dealing with acts of terrorism. The ethics and justification of terrorism also are critically appraised. 
3 credits

H-PSY 260 Honors Psychology: Social Identity and Psychological Development 
This course will provide a study of how race, class, and gender can influence an individual’s psychological, social, and educational experiences. Students will explore how societal messages about race, class, and gender help to shape an individual’s worldview and what they see as possible for themselves.

Special attention will be given to schools, parents, and media as agents of race, class and gender socialization. We also will focus on how educational and life experiences/opportunities are different for various race, class, and gender groups. Students will be prompted to think about societal and institutional changes that could provide equal opportunities for all human beings regardless of race, class, and gender. 
Prerequisite: PSY 101. 
3 credits

H-PSY 301 Honors Psychology: Psychology of Genius, Creativity, and Discovery 
This course examines genius, creativity and discovery in the fields of science, art, and music from a psychological perspective. Readings from the empirical research literature as well as biographical and autobiographical materials will be studied. 
3 credits

H-REL 220 Honors Religious Studies: Religious Folklife 
Folklife studies refers to the scholarly discipline which cultivates a sensibility and an appreciation for the culture of everyday life in complex societies. Religious folklife means specific cultural creations that express religious attitudes and beliefs.

This course in American religious folklife will examine the history and culture of religion in American with specific reference to Christian and Christian-based systems, as well as believers’ religious artifacts, art, craft, architecture, belief, customs, habits, foodways, costume, narrative, dance, song, and other cultural expressions. 
3 credits

H-REL 221 Honors Religious Studies: Religion in America 
Through this course, students gain an overview of the diverse religious traditions in the United States. Emphasis is placed on Protestantism and Judaism, with some attention to Catholicism and eastern religions in the United States. 
3 credits

H-REL 301 Honors Religious Studies: Heroes of Conscience 
Students are introduced to men and women whose faith has moved them to act in a heroic manner. Individuals studied include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gandhi, and the Maryknoll missionaries of El Salvador. 
3 credits

H-REL 302 Honors Religious Studies: Approaches to the Study of Religion Through Film 
This course will introduce students to a series of classic texts that have been influential in the development of religious studies as a discipline. Included for study are the works of Sir James Frazer, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade, Martin Buber, William James, Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner, and Mary Daly.

Their writings will be complemented by a series of films which consider religion, as well as assist in the appreciation of relevant theoretical approaches to the subject. Students also will read relevant film history and theory, and among the course requirements is the creation of a screenplay that expresses and teaches the ideas of a major theorist. 
3 credits

H-REL 312 Honors Religious Studies: Sects and Cults in American Religion 
This course is concerned with the variety of religious groups and movements found in both historical and contemporary American religion, with a focus on their actual teachings, their religious significance for Western culture and Western perceptions of what is religious, the variety of ways civic organizations and churches have responded/are responding to them, and the artistic expressions created by members of these belief systems. 
Prerequisite: ECG 100. 
3 credits

H-SOC 306 Honors Sociology: The Sociology of Happiness (I) 
This course will examine the relative value of both individual and institutional factors in the creation and maintenance of human happiness. Students will complete a sociological survey and research project on happiness. Various definitions of happiness will be examined with particular attention to historical and cultural ideas that impact the way we come to see “happiness.” The impact of culture, gender, age, income, education, and religion will be assessed. 
3 credits