Types of Honors College Courses

Instructor with Students in Classroom

The Honors College offers different types of courses from 1000-level for incoming students to 400-level for upperclassmen. 1000- and 2000-level courses typically count towards UNM General Education Requirements. Honors courses must be taken in sequence (1000 level, 2000 level, 300 level, 400 level) and students must take a 1000 level Legacy seminar before they are allowed to take any other Honors courses.

Additionally, students are only allowed to take one course during their first semester and up to two courses each semester after that. Though it does not happen often, special circumstances may dictate exceptions to the rules above on occasion. Students who feel they have a special circumstance should schedule an appointment with Honors Senior Academic Advisor Beth Elkin in LoboAchieve to discuss their situation and available options further.

HNRS 1120: Honors Legacy Seminar

100-level Legacy seminars, required by all students admitted to the Honors College, are interdisciplinary in content and approach. Legacy seminars are expected to provide students with knowledge of works and ideas from earlier cultures that play significant roles in understanding the contemporary culture in which they live. Through examinations of primary texts, explorations of secondary source materials, and intensive discussion and written assignments, the goal of the Legacy seminars is to explore what the current culture has inherited form earlier times, peoples, and cultures. The Legacy seminars fulfill the UNM Core Area 5 (Humanities).

Because the Honors College considers it important that students enrich their knowledge overall as well as gain experience attending academic lectures, Legacy instructors are expected to require students to attend three lectures as part of their course. The Honors office maintains a calendar of lectures found on the Honors website that students may consult for this purpose.

HNRS 2112: Rhetoric and Discourse

UNM General Education Area 1 (Writing & Speaking).

2000-level Honors College core courses will provide students with opportunities to strengthen their writing and speaking skills. Students will analyze and evaluate oral and written communication in terms of situation, audience, purpose, aesthetics, and points of view. They will employ writing and/or speaking processes such as planning, collaborating, organizing, composing, revising, and editing to create oral presentations using correct diction, syntax, grammar, and mechanics. Instructors will use a variety of foundational texts, essays, articles, and literary works to support various writing and speaking activities.
Because the Honors College considers it important that students enrich their knowledge overall as well as gain experience attending academic lectures, thereby understanding oral discourse, instructors are expected to require students to attend at least three lectures as part of their course.


HNRS 2221: Mathematics in the World

UNM General Education Area 2 (Mathematics)

This 2000-level course will provide students with opportunities to gain an interdisciplinary and rigorous introduction to mathematical reasoning by learning from mathematicians, particularly how they do and have done mathematics and how that relates to the rest of human activity and thought. Students will do mathematics in this course, and also are expected to produce work that reflects an understanding of the context in which that mathematical work takes place.


HNRS 2331: Science in the 21st Century

UNM General Education Area 3 (Physical & Natural Sciences)

This core course in the Honors College will introduce students to important elements of the scientific method and scientific inquiry in one or more of the basic sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy. It will familiarize students with scientific inquiry and an understanding of the role of the sciences in society and culture. It will also introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of scientific inquiry. The “theme” and content are not set, allowing for a diverse set of faculty to participate and to offer different foci over time. This core class will include a laboratory component (HNRS 2331L) which students need to sign up for separately. This provides students with important hands-on and/or field experience. Students will be required to take the lab segment, and so the course is designed as a four-credit, single class.


HNRS 2364: The Individual and the Collective

UNM General Education Area 4 (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the social and behavioral sciences. Insight from multiple disciplines including psychology, anthropology, geography, political science, sociology, and economics will be used to critically analyze local, national, and global problems. Students will identify, describe, and explain human behaviors and how they are influenced by social structures, institutions, and the processes within the contexts of complex and diverse communities. They will also articulate how beliefs, assumptions, and values are influenced by factors such as politics, geography, economics, culture, biology, history, and social institutions as well as analyze and critically evaluate relevant issues, ethical dilemmas, and arguments from multiple social science disciplines.


HNRS 2167: Humanities in Society and Culture

UNM General Education Area 5 (Humanities)

This course introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on humanities fields such as literature, history, and philosophy as well as associated disciplines. Each class will be constructed around an individual topic that explores works in humanities fields from interdisciplinary perspectives. Students will gain a basic appreciation of the nature and methods of study in the humanities by engaging works from across cultures and from various historical moments in time. Throughout the semester, students will interpret, analyze, and evaluate the cultural or historical meaning and purpose of diverse texts, especially primary texts. The ultimate goal of the course is for student to recognize the lasting value of the humanities in the development of society and culture as well as in attributing meaning to the human experience. In addition, students will strengthen their reading, writing, and research skills while enriching their knowledge of the world in which we live.


HNRS 2113: Fine Arts as Global Perspective

UNM General Education Area 7 (Fine Arts)

This course introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on fine art fields such as visual arts, theater, architecture, dance, and music. Its goal is to encourage understanding of the role of art in society and culture. The course will engage students with various fine art pieces throughout the semester in order to experience, interpret, and analyze art. They will also explore the role or impact of art globally and historically—how art affects societies and how societies affect art, and the significance and import of the arts, both in terms of production and of experience. They will strengthen their problem solving skills through the creative process and understand the relationship between fine art and other disciplines. Students will also consider various examples of controversy and censorship toward specific works of art.

The Honors College offers interdisciplinary topics courses in all fields. The courses must encourage analysis, application, inquiry, comparison, synthesis, and research. Primary source readings over textbooks are encouraged. Honors courses are seminar-style teaching and learning, so an active learning approach over lectures is fundamental.

300-Level Courses

300-level topic courses focus on interdisciplinary exploration of specific topics designed to demonstrate the interconnectedness of academic disciplines. Recent courses have centered on the significance of gender in myth and literature, bio-medical ethics, the nature and politics of nuclear energy, the origins of prejudice, arts across cultures, the existential imagination, and cross-cultural communication.

400-Level Courses

400-level courses include inquiry and investigation of intellectual currents. Students will explore topics that are more in-depth than that of lower-level courses, and have greater roles and responsibilities. These courses can afford the opportunity for enthusiastic and ambitious students to produce a publishable paper or coordinate a collaborative mini-conference.

Each student majoring in the Honors College is required to take one "integrative block course"; these 6 CH courses are also open to non-majors who are interested a specific topic. These blocks consist of two courses from different fields, combined through a seminar co-taught by professors of different academic disciplines. The combination of perspectives and narratives from two disparate disciplines provides both a unique and inspiring learning experience for students, as well as a grounding in the breadth of skills needed to succeed in a world of unanticipated challenges. These courses are integrative, interdisciplinary and often transformative experiences. Past integrative blocks have included: Conexiones, Reading and Writing the Landscape, Route 66, Locked Up, and Autobiographix and Poetry Comics.

Please complete an Independent Study Proposal Form and obtain approval BEFORE registering. Upon filling out the form, approval comes from first the advising professor (so let them know the form has been submitted) and then the Honors College Curriculum Chair. 

  1. Meet with your professor to discuss your proposed study and secure his/her approval for the project you envision.
  2. Prepare a detailed project prospectus to upload as part of your submission.
    • Problem: Define the rationale and delimit your problem area (explain your interest in pursuing the project. How does this project relate to your degree objective?
    • Purpose and Objectives: What do you hope to accomplish?
    • Procedures: Explain the methods you expect to use and any unusual requirements for materials, equipment or facilities. Include a timeline.
    • Outcomes: What will be the tangible results (deliverables, i.e. software course code, papers, reports, products, or summaries) of your study?
  3. Course number and Credit varies—be sure to include the number of credit hours when you propose your study and when you register in Loboweb.
  4. Fill out and submit the form here, ideally by the end of the semester prior to your study, but no later than one week before the start of the semester of the study.
  5. Notify your professor that the submission is ready for their review.
  6. If your proposal is accepted by the professor and HC Curriculum Chair, you will be notified with registration details by the HC Advisor.

HILA majors undertake a ≥ 6 Credit Capstone as a culmination of their study in the Honors College (HC). While each student's path is unique, there are three major categories of Capstone to choose from.

  • Thesis/project - UHON 490,491
  • Senior Teaching - UHON 492,493
  • Service Learning - UHON 495,496
HILA majors work with their advising professors to determine which of the three options is most appropriate and the specific details of the capstone. Non-majors may also choose to pursue one or more of these capstones as part of their program of study. 

Thesis - UHON 490, 491

The thesis is an interdisciplinary culmination of the diverse topics students encounter throughout their studies. This thesis may take the form of a traditional research-driven text that incorporates the methodologies or theories of multiple disciplines to present a complex topic, or it may take the form of a creative project that incorporates the methodologies, theories, or media of multiple disciplines to present a complex body of work. Over the course of three semesters, the student organizes a thesis committee and crafts a thesis proposal (1 credit hour in the spring of the junior year), thoroughly researches the topic or problem (3 credit hours in the fall of the senior year), and finally writes or creates and presents the thesis (3 credit hours in the spring of the senior year).

Interdisciplinary research entails the use and integration of methods and analytical frameworks from more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question, or topic. Interdisciplinary research makes use of disciplinary approaches to examine topics, but pushes beyond by taking insights from a variety of relevant disciplines, synthesizing their contribution to understanding, and then integrating these ideas into a more complete, and coherent, framework of analysis.

In dealing with multi-faceted issues such as immigration, new drug development, genetically modified foods, and health care access, for example, interdisciplinary perspectives are needed to adequately address the complexity of the problems and to forge viable responses. Interdisciplinary research requires the integration and synthesis of different perspectives rather than a simple consideration of multiple viewpoints.

Students will be expected to complete research on a question, problem, or topic of interest using more than one discipline. They will conduct a thorough search of the existing literature in relevant fields. Their treatment of the subject will include an appropriate review of that literature as it pertains to the subject.

Students may also wish to undertake a project that differs from the traditional thesis model. Such projects may consist of creative work (photographic essays, original poetry, designing and building architectural, engineering, or business models, etc.). The purpose of this approach is to dissolve the boundaries of areas of study and encourage learning across two or more disciplines.

Senior Teaching - UHON 492, 493

During a senior teaching capstone, students co-teach an Honors seminar alongside an HC faculty member. The student and intended HC faculty member work together to create, propose, prepare, and then co-teach an Honors seminar together. This process usually fills three consecutive semesters (a 1 Credit UHON 499 prior to the official UHON 492 and 493 semesters). Senior teaching is especially appropriate for students who anticipate teaching significantly after they graduate from Honors. This could include students who are going to graduate school and expect to be a teaching assistant, students who anticipate teaching in the primary or secondary education system, or students who plan to pursue a career in higher education.

Service Learning - UHON 495, 496

During a service-learning capstone, students will work closely with a community partner to identify needs, propose a project, and execute the project. Students will document all activities as well as participate in an ongoing process of critical reflection on the project, the problem, and the communities served. Service learning is a teaching and learning method that integrates meaningful service in the community with academic learning in order to enrich the learning experience, engender personal growth, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Students engaged in a service learning capstone will expand their academic skills and knowledge, applying them to address real-life needs in communities where they work.