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Honors Course Opportunities Guide


HONORS COURSE OPPORTUNITIES

Honors College students are not required to take any Honors (UH) courses or complete any way to earn honors credit in particular. Honors (UH) courses are optional and are innovative and unique opportunities to earn honors credit if the course topics appeal to you!

Before you explore Honors College (UH) Course opportunities, please review the note from Honors faculty below on the Honors College's philosophy of teaching and learning.

The Virginia Tech Honors College offers you exceptional learning opportunities, extraordinary courses, and experiences that are not available to students outside the college. These opportunities are quite challenging and require you stretch yourself beyond what is asked of you in high school and other university settings. As a VT Honors College student, you should be aware of the following Honors College (UH) Course expectations:

  • We expect the best from ourselves and our colleagues – and that includes you, our students. We invest heavily in and have high standards for our collective work, and we expect you will do the same.
  • We will push the boundaries of knowledge and engage with new and challenging ideas in order to drive innovation. This is difficult work and requires more effort than you might initially think, and often more challenging work than you may encounter in your major.
  • An honors education will require you to be a highly motivated, independent, and reflective learner, someone capable of making connections and applying yourself across disparate domains of knowledge and action. This process is individualized and requires you to play an active role in your learning.
  • We care deeply about you, your ideas, and your work, and we engage accordingly. This care and respect is often expressed through feedback and critique designed to push you beyond your current limitations and encourage improvement through iteration. No matter how strong your work is, continually ask yourself, “What have I not yet considered? How could this be improved?”.  
  • We expect that you will be strong partners in your education, asking critical, informed, and well-considered questions that will clarify and foster our collective inquiry and innovation.
  • We value our diversity, our rich differences in disciplinary training, scholarly experiences, and approaches to teaching. As our partners in this transdisciplinary enterprise, you will do well to embrace this diversity as well, moving beyond a desire for single perspectives and simple answers.

While there are many other ways to earn honors credit, this guide reviews the following ways to earn honors course credit:

HONORS (UH) COURSES

Honors (UH) Courses focus on critical real-world issues and allow motivated students to embrace hands-on learning across a variety of academic disciplines.⁠

Most UH courses count in Element One: Honors Core, but some don't. Be sure you understand in which element each UH course counts!

UH 2604: Intermediate Honors Quantitative & Qualitative Research Practices

Dr. Lewis and Dr. Velez
Tuesdays 3:30 - 4:45, Thursdays Asynchronous Online
Squires 134
CRN 90228

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis:

Understanding what research is and how to identify it opens the door for making connections between different fields. Emerging areas of research often fit at the intersection of multiple fields and require understanding of practices in more than one discipline. In this course, you will survey critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research, including approaches to identifying funding opportunities for research, collaborating across disciplines, designing introductory research protocols, managing research projects, and using posters to present research findings. This is the second in the four-course research practices series.

UH 3504: Becoming Washington: A History in 20 Buildings

Dr. Knox
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:45
Squires 134
CRN 91522

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis:

Buildings are living history, simultaneously both outcome and shaper of social, political, cultural, and economic forces. They reflect the imperatives of their time, expressions of the social and economic relationships of particular stages of a city’s development. Many buildings are archetypical: ordinary, everyday representatives of the distinctive building types of particular historical periods. Some become landmarks because of their association with particular people or important events. A few become iconic as a result of media coverage, professional recognition, and their societal resonance. This workshop will tell the story of the history of Washington DC through just twenty surviving buildings, from the Georgian era to the recent past.

UH 3504: Investigating the Global Eco-Social Emergency

Dr.  Mouchrek
Monday/Wednesday 4 - 5:15
McBryde 210
CRN 90243

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis:

In this course, students will engage with the complexities of the socio-ecological emergency from a variety of disciplinary and cultural perspectives, including natural sciences, philosophy, engineering, technology, social sciences, and the arts. Topics for our investigation will include climate change, systems of production and consumption, global inequalities, commodification of natural resources, ecological movements and social justice, systemic thinking, policy and decision-making, and future scenarios for socio-ecological transformation. Students in the course will also reflect on their own perspectives and worldviews, while expanding their awareness of the eco-social responsibilities associated with professional practices.

UH 3504: Transdisciplinary Collaboration

Dr. Mouchrek
Monday/Wednesday 2:30 - 3:45,
Squires 134
CRN 90552

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis

Transdisciplinary collaboration aims for integration of diverse perspectives and ways of knowing and working, in a process of mutual learning between science and society. This course will present methods for transdisciplinary integration, collaborative research, and collective construction of knowledge that are iterative and participatory, requiring innovation, creativity, and flexibility. Students in the course will learn to work productively with uncertainty and complexity, learn to analyze and integrate diverse kinds of knowledge, and develop critical skills in transdisciplinary collaboration. 

UH 3604 Designing Protocols for Honors Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Dr. Velez and Dr. Lewis
Thursdays 3:30 - 4:45, Tuesdays Asynchronous Online
Squires 134
CRN 90245 

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis

Designing the steps for a quantitative and qualitative research study is an involved and iterative process. Often, a study will evolve and update as the researcher learns more about their area of focus, culminating in the final product that we see: A scholarly, peer reviewed paper or conference presentation. In this class, we will walk through the development of a research study. We will evaluate critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research, discuss transdisciplinary project management, learn how to refine research protocols based on feasibility of data collection, identify ways to maintain research ethics and integrity, establish a data collection plan, and develop a strategy for dissemination of research findings.


 

UH 4504: America’s Medical DEBT (Data, Ethics, Bias, and Therapeutics)

Dr. Lewis
Tuesday/Thursday 11 - 12:15
Squires 134
CRN 90256

This course counts for the new Honors College Minor in Transdisciplinary Praxis ⁠— but does not offer SuperStudio credit.

Modern medicine has allowed us to excel in a variety of ways. We live longer, have limited or eradicated a number of formally debilitating illnesses, and have developed technological innovations that allow us to identify therapeutic leads practically overnight. Are “wonder drugs” truly wonderful, or do we only seeing half the story? What are we missing when only the positive outcomes are discussed and highlighted? How has public trust in a medical system once deemed faultless been impacted by the misguided decisions of the few? In this course, we’ll look at the relationship between clinical research practices, data analysis, ethical decision making, bias in publication and reporting, and how prescribed drugs can both help and hurt us.

Watch the video below to learn how to find Honors courses in the VT course registration system. 

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DEPARTMENTAL HONORS COURSES

Departmental Honors Courses are offered through Virginia Tech's many different academic departments. These courses end with an “H” and are found in the course registration system within specific subjects (for example, MATH 2114H is an honors section of "Introduction to Linear Algebra".) A Departmental Honors Course is generally much smaller than non-honors sections of the same course and may be taught in unique ways.

A Departmental Honors Course is a way to earn honors credit in Element Two: Disciplinary Depth and Element Three: Transdisciplinary Capabilities. Be sure you understand in which element each different Departmental Honors Course counts for you.

  • CHEM 1055H: Honors General Chemistry for Majors
    CRN 82765
    Crawford D (crawdad@vt.edu)
    M W F 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. 
    HAHN N 140
    (4H, 4C)
  • CHEM 1055H: Honors General Chemistry for Majors
    CRN 82765
    Crawford D (crawdad@vt.edu
    R 5 - 5:50 p.m.  
    PAM 3001
    (4H, 4C)
  • ECON 2025H: Honors Principles of Economics
    CRN 84326
    TBA
    M W F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
    PAM 1002
    (3H,3C)
  • ENGL 3734H: Community Writing
    CRN 84928 
    Murphy A (aileen@vt.edu
    T R 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
    MCB 204
    (3H, 3C)
  • ENGL 3744H: Writing Center Theory & Practice
    CRN 84930
    Lawrence J (jlwrnc@vt.edu)
    M W F 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
    MCB 134
    (3H, 3C)
  • HNFE 2014H: Nutrition Across the Life Span
    CRN 86146
    Girmes-Gri N (ngirmes@vt.edu
    M W F 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.
    SURGE 104C
    (3H, 3C)
  • MATH 2114H: Introduction to Linear Algebra
    CRN 87115
    TBA
    M W F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
    MCB 316
    (3H, 3C)
  • MATH 2114H: Introduction to Linear Algebra
    CRN 90990
    TBA
    T R 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
    DAV 125
    (3H, 3C)
  • MATH 2204H: Introduction to Multivariable Calculus
    CRN 87150
    TBD
    M W F 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.
    SAUND 408
    (3H, 3C)
  • MATH 2214H: Introduction to Differential Equations 
    CRN 87173
    TBA
    M W F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
    MCB 328
    (3H, 3C)
  • MATH 2405H: Math in Computational Context
    CRN 87174
    TBA
    M W 8 - 8:50 a.m. 
    MCB 223
    (5H, 5C)
  • MATH 2405H: Math in Computational Context
    CRN 87174
    TBA
    M W 8 - 9:15 a.m.
    MCB 223
    (5H, 5C)
  • MKTG 3104H: Marketing Management
    CRN 87955
    Wertalik D (donnaw08@vt.edu
    LOCATION & TIME TBA
    (3H, 3C)
  • MKTG 3104H: Marketing Management
    CRN 87955
    Wertalik D (donnaw08@vt.edu
    LOCATION & TIME TBA
    (3H, 3C)

Watch the video below to learn how to find Departmental Honors Courses in the VT course registration system. 

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HONORS READING SEMINARS

If you have a particularly busy semester planned — or are new to the Honors College — UH 2124: Honors Reading Seminars count in Element One: Honors Core and offer an enjoyable, low-pressure way to earn honors credit. We have several offered throughout the week focused on a variety of fun and interesting topics to explore!

Honors Reading Seminars are small, discussion-based classes in which students read about and explore topics of interest; practice critical reading, thinking, and communication skills; and build community with other Honors students. Reading seminars are taught by the Honors Peer Educator who proposes the seminar topic. Classes meet for 50 minutes, once a week, and earn participants 1 Honors credit. Grading is Pass/Fail only.

Questions? Please reach out to Dr. Paul Heilker.

HONORS SUPERSTUDIO

Dr. Velez, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Underwood, Prof. Williams, Dr. Hall
Squires 134, Honors College Studios

The Honors College SuperStudio provides students with instruction and practice in the transdisciplinary and massively-collaborative skills they will need to employ as professionals and citizens to address critical 21st century issues.

SuperStudio harnesses the work of four advanced courses to examine the potentials and challenges of addressing interconnected crises in climate change and economic inequality outlined in the Green New Deal.

All four course sections will meet at the same time and place to facilitate collaboration within and across the classes.

Note: SuperStudio will not be offered for Fall 2022. Below is course information from the previous semester. 

Students will enroll in one of the following:

Dr. Velez
Squires 134

Our lives are increasingly shaped by public policy and by the need collaborate across sectors and groups to identify solutions. Public policy encompasses not just laws, but regulations, funding priorities, and decision-making in public institutions. Many policy decisions reflect systemic inequities in representation and access, often based on race and income. Understanding and participating in policy processes requires both technical and communication skills as well as an understanding of the context and interconnected systems in which policy is made and administered. In this course, we will focus on understanding U.S. environmental policy and social change using the National Environmental Policy Act as a starting point.

Dr. Lewis
Squires 134

National and global health agencies mine patient data to determine trends in health care and make predictions about health crises. But does that data accurately reflect the health of all citizens? Moreover, does that data suggest how we might ensure equitable access to and quality of care as our world progresses? Learn what health data is and how to use it to make informed decisions as part of a team exploring ways to address a global issue.

Drs. Underwood and Williams
Squires 134

Are you ready for Education 4.0? Thanks to COVID, changing employer expectations, and digital learning platforms, education is transforming. Issues explored in this course include access, affordability, and equity. Who is going to college and why go to college? Is education in Zoom equivalent to in-person education? What skills are students gaining in their education? In this course, students will analyze how education succeeds and fails as well as research solutions towards the changing DNA of current learning.

Dr. Ralph Hall
Squires 134

Robots, artificial intelligence, blockchains, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, and driverless cars are no longer the things of futuristic visions. They are with us today and will become increasingly common in the coming years, along with virtual reality and digital personal assistants. As these tools advance deeper into everyday use and every sector of the global economy, they raise fundamental questions about how humans will live and work. During this SuperStudio, we will explore the New Deal (GND) policy framework as a mechanism for transformative change. You will be challenged to apply your skillset/knowledge to the design/development of GND-inspired initiatives that hold the potential to advance sustainable development and meaningful and well-paid employment in the future. 

All students will ALSO enroll in UH4514: Honors SuperStudio, a required corequisite.

UH 4514 is a 1-credit extension of the topics courses where you can explore connections among the topics sections and associated disciplinary approaches, interrogate the Green New Deal, and pursue coordinated transdisciplinary responses to its potentials and challenges. Students benefit from engagement with invited guests with a variety of applicable expertise.

HONORS COURSE ADD-ONS

Students in selected large survey courses can now earn credit toward their Pathways general education requirements AND their honors diploma by taking an Honors Add-On, a supplementary one-credit course that offers a deeper, honors-level engagement with a topic from the survey.

Students that successfully complete both the large survey course and the 1-credit Add-On will earn 3 Honors Faculty-Student Agreement credits toward Elements 2 or 3 AND 1 UH 2984 credit toward Element 1 of their Honors Laureate Diplomas.

Please be sure to register for both the 3 credit course AND the paired 1 credit course. Our Spring 2022 Honors Add-On opportunities appear below.

Note: Honors Course Add-On opportunities will not be offered for Fall 2022. Below is course information from the previous semester. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Associate Dean Dr. Paul Heilker (pheilker@vt.edu).

RED 2604: Residential Design
CRN 21259
TR 3:30 - 4:45
ENGEL 223
3 Credits

AND

UH 2984: Social Dimensions of Residential Design
CRN 21914
W 10:00 - 10:50
Synchronous Online
1 Credit
Instructor: Hina Illahe (hinai@vt.edu)

 

* Satisfies Pathways Area 6D: Critique and Practice in Design *

Analysis of residential spaces to meet the needs of residents. Interrelationship of residential spaces, site and community, including climate, historic traditions, culture, and impact on diversity. House construction systems and finish materials. Current and future trends in design, construction, and marketing of housing for diverse households. Impact of codes and regulations on residential design and construction. Professional and labor force issues in the housing industry. Interpreting residential floor plans, elevations, detail drawings.

The Honors Add-On section will specifically focus the human and social dimensions of residential design; exploring sustainability through design, construction, and operation of buildings that can impact environment as well the social values of the user. Students opting for Honors add-on will explore the concepts of inclusion, increased stewardship, wellbeing, and social responsibility towards the residents and the environment. This additional knowledge will help students to understand and conceptualize a more informed and responsible design for human and non-human nature. This Honors Add-On will critically observe and compare existing housing design among several different cultures and traditions around the globe. 

RLCL/HUM 3204: Multicultural Communication
CRN 21700
TR 5:00 - 6:15
Synchronous Online
3 Credits

AND

UH 2984: Multicultural Communication in Virtual Reality
CRN 21913
W 5:00 - 5:50
Synchronous Online
1 Credit

Instructor: Aaron Ansell (aansell@vt.edu)

 

* Satisfies Pathways Area 3: Reasoning in the Social Sciences *

This course offers students concepts from the field of sociocultural linguistics to help them understand culture-bound communicative practices. We then use these concepts to interrogate aspects of the current “culture wars” in the US that relate to communication across identity groups. We look at controversial issues pertaining to so-called “political correctness,” such as callout and cancel culture, deplatforming, microaggressions, dog whistling, and dead-naming. Students will engage with arguments from various political positions on these topics and should therefore prepare to have their opinions challenged in the spirit of collective learning.

Students enrolled in the Honors Add-On section will explore the topic of multicultural communication in Virtual Reality (VR) settings. Their weekly 50-minute meetings will be held in an immersive VR platform (Horizon Workrooms) that they will attend through the use of Oculus Quest 2 headsets provided on loan by the Center for Humanities at Virginia Tech. Honors students will apply course concepts from HUM/RLCL 3204 to specific aspects of VR interactions (e.g. personal safety bubbles, avatar-concealed identity, etc.) and discuss avatar-based democratic deliberation, VR publics and counterpublics, and workplace harassment in VR settings.

AHRM 1014: Introduction to Art and Design for Consumers
CRN 10249
TR 12:30 - 1:45
WAL 412

- OR -

CRN 10248
Asynchronous Online

 

AND

 

UH 2984: Design Thinking for Consumers
CRN 21915
T 3:00 - 3:50
Synchronous Online 1 Credit

Instructor: Renee Walsh (rwalsh12@vt.edu)

* Satisfies Pathways Area 6A: Critique and Practice in the Arts *

- OR -

* Satisfies Pathways Area 6D: Critique and Practice in Design *

In this course students will develop an understanding and knowledge of design and its importance for all consumers who will select and use a variety of materials and products. Students will identify, evaluate, discuss, and apply design elements, principles and their application to consumer products such as apparel, housing, and residential technologies.

Students will learn the historical and cultural context of design and consumer products through pre-industrial and industrial periods and modern era while applying interpretive strategies and methodologies in design.

Students will work within the design process and learn about human factors and the importance of diverse user needs in the creation of consumer products. Students enrolled in the Honors Add-On section will focus and expand upon the design process and design thinking methodology. Students will research how design thinking has been used to solve complex issues and analyze problems within this methodology. Students will adapt the design thinking process to solve issues that correlate with their interests and major field of study.

 

FACULTY-STUDENT AGREEMENT (FSA)

Looking for a way to earn honors credit that doesn’t mean adding courses to your schedule? Consider completing a Faculty-Student Agreement (FSA) in Element 2 (Disciplinary Depth) or Element 3 (Transdisciplinary Capabilities) for a course you’re already taking! Review the FSA Guide here.

An FSA Form is required by the end of the third week of a fall or spring term in order to pursue an FSA. Find the form and more information about this process in the FSA assignments in the Canvas Honors Credit Tracker. (Review more information about the Credit Tracker below.) 

CANVAS HONORS CREDIT TRACKER

The Credit Tracker serves as the platform through which you will consistently request all of your honors credit once you have completed it. As a result, it is where you can keep track of how many and what type of honors credit you currently have. All Honors students have been given access to the Credit Tracker in Canvas.

Review the Canvas Honors Credit Tracker Guide


Have questions about honors credit or need help planning your Honors Laureate Diploma?

Set up an appointment with the Honors Peer Advising Center (HPAC)!

Learn more about Honors academic requirements and all of the ways to earn Honors credit here.

NOTE: Students who enter the Honors College beginning with the Fall 2021 semester are required to receive approval on their plan to earn an Honors Laureate Diploma. Honors College students as of Spring 2021 and earlier are not expected to meet this new requirement. Provided they maintain a cumulative 3.6 GPA after each semester, plan approval for this more senior cohort is still optional.