Honors Courses for Freshman


Information on Honors Courses

Honors Courses offer opportunities for lively interaction and independent thinking to students in the Honors Program as well as to other qualified and motivated students. The workload is not necessarily more, but it is different. See the course descriptions below for more details. All of these classes are limited to 12 or 15 students, depending on the course.  Indicate your interest in taking one or at most two of these courses on the Academic Interest Form or by contacting Dr. Lois Daly at daly@siena.edu. If you want to take one of them in the future, then choose other courses to take in the fall.


In Honors ECON101: Principles of Microeconomics, students learn about the dynamics of markets, including supply and demand, elasticity, and market structure. In addition, students in the Honors class spend significant time thinking about market failures and what policies might be appropriate in addressing them. Poverty, externalities, public goods, market concentration, and imperfect information are all discussed at length. In addition to the textbook,  students are required to read Corporate Crime and Violence as well as numerous newspaper and journal articles. Participation in class discussions is emphasized.  Entering Honors students in Business will be enrolled in this class unless they already have credit for microeconomics. This course fulfills the core disciplinary requirement in social science.


ENGL090: Great Books is a student-centered course, designed for those who seek an intellectually exciting, collaborative learning experience. Instruction is conducted in seminar format, with students encouraged to take an active role in determining the direction of the class. Students will meet weekly to discuss classic literary works of the Western tradition, such as Sophocles’ Oedipus, Homer’s Odyssey, and Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing, as well as contemporary multicultural works, such as Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. We will draw connections among these works from different times and cultures, each depicting individuals who seek self-knowledge and a place in society. Great Books includes a focus on writing the sophisticated literary analysis paper; there are no exams. This course fulfills the core disciplinary requirement in English; it counts toward the college honors requirements and also toward the English Honors Certificate. Entering Honors students majoring in English will be enrolled in this course.


HIST 190 is the honors level of the core requirement of HIST 101, The Shaping of the Contemporary World. The course is student centered featuring discussion, analysis of pertinent primary sources, and research. There are no exams but it does require a research project as well as several other writing exercises including primary document analyses and response papers. Generally, the course is taken by first and second year students. The course counts toward the college honors requirements and also to the History Honors Certificate. Entering Honors students majoring in History will be enrolled in this class.


PHIL101: HNRS Philosophy and the Human Being.  This is a seminar style introduction to philosophy. Inspired by the example of Socrates and other great philosophers, this class assumes that dialogue and discussion are important if students are to think seriously about freedom, knowledge, holiness, happiness, and other topics central to our humanity. Students also confront the absence of God, the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, the meaning of suffering and death, as well as the human capacity for evil, by reading the works of classical and contemporary philosophers. These include the dialogues of Plato, the report on Adolf Eichmann by Hannah Arendt, and literature and essays by the Existentialists. In this course students are respected as intellectuals, who are enthusiastic about reading, independent thinking, and research. This class features some of the most interesting philosophical literature ever written by men and women, and is oriented to the thoughts of imprisoned human beings, facing death, and wondering about freedom. 


PHYS010: HNRS Astronomy.  Introductory Astronomy explores our current understanding of the Universe and our place within it, covering topics ranging from the earth and solar system to the most distant galaxies and the origin of the Universe itself.  Concepts are presented through experiments, activities, computer simulations, lectures and reading.  Collaborative learning plays a central role in the course structure, and students will work together to complete an original research project.  While the course focuses on the conceptual foundation of ancient and modern astronomy, facility with high-school level mathematics is required.  The course fulfills the CDN core requirement.


POSC100: HNRS Contemporary U.S. Politics. The two basic goals of the course are: (a) to convey information about the diverse political processes, structures, actors and policy outcomes involved in the dynamics of American politics, and (b) to encourage critical discussion and analysis of the information obtained in the course. The long-term goal is to encourage and help students take an engaged, informed and active approach to American politics. The broad underlying question around which the course is organized concerns the issue of democratic accountability, requiring an investigation of the nature and quality of the linkage mechanisms between citizens and the political elite. Although each topic is treated as a complete, independent unit, each will also be examined in terms of its relationship to this question.  Honor students will be expected to take a lead in guiding the questions and direction of the classes by being responsible for class presentations, posting research findings and creating class simulations based on their small group activities.


RELG121: HNRS Introduction to Biblical Studies is a fundamental introduction to the Bible. It is designed to acquaint you with that book and to give you experience in its interpretation. Like all courses in the humanities, it seeks to improve your abilities to read, to write, and to reason. As an honors class, it seeks to do this in an enhanced atmosphere of discussion and thoughtful argumentation. This course fulfills the core disciplinary requirement in Religious Studies.


The Honors First Year Seminars are reserved for incoming Honors Fellows. This year there are two choices: (1) The Environment and (2) Popular Culture and the Meaning of Life. All Honors Fellows will be enrolled in one or the other. Indicate your preference on the Academic Interest Form. In some cases required courses in your major may determine which seminar you will take.

For more information on the Honors Program and/or Honors courses contact Dr. Lois Daly at daly@siena.edu