undergraduate students sit at tables in a circle during a class discussion

Honors Courses

The Aquinas Scholars program offers a variety of honors sections of the university's core curriculum – the liberal arts classes that all students take regardless of major – during the fall and spring semesters.

Most Aquinas Scholars take at least four honors courses, which are specifically designated honors sections of a broader course (e.g. an honors section of THEO 100).

Honors sections are distinctive from non-honors sections in several ways:

  • they offer substantially smaller class sizes (limited to 20 students) and provide an environment for communal learning
  • are taught by faculty recognized for their teaching excellence and are based on active learning, with opportunities to explore provocative subjects in new and exciting ways
  • have an increased focused on student participation and value in-depth topic examination and a depth of knowledge over acceleration of subject matter
  • cover the basics more quickly to give students increased responsibility and greater freedom and creativity in their work.

Although honors courses represent less than one-fourth of a student's classes, they are usually among the most stimulating classes an Aquinas Scholar takes.

Recent Honors Sections

Honors courses (also known as honors sections) are offered during the fall and spring semesters. (Honors courses are often referred to as honors "sections" because they are specifically designated honors sections of broader university courses e.g., an honors section of THEO 100.) Below are examples of recent honors courses.

Accelerated General Chemistry

A one semester general chemistry class that blends significant topics from CHEM 111 and 112 for very strong students interested in majoring in science or engineering. Approximately one-third of the course content is drawn from CHEM 111 with the balance coming from CHEM 112. Topics include atomic theory, stoichiometry, gas laws, phases of matter, atomic and molecular structure, bonding, kinetics, thermodynamics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, and descriptive chemistry. Lecture plus four laboratory hours per week.

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Advanced Critical Thinking: Literature and Writing

English 190 is a core course in literature and writing for specially qualified students who show greater aptitude and preparation than typical first-year students or those whose pre-matriculation credits cover some, but not all, of the content of ENGL 121. The learning goals are the same as those for ENGL 121; however, writing, critical thinking, and textual analysis are taught at a higher level and with increased complexity in this course.

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Intro to Asian Art

This course offers a selective introduction to the artistic concepts and visual art of India, China, and Japan. The course will examine visual expression in Asia from the Neolithic period to the 20th century. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the basis for a life-long appreciation of the arts and cultures of South and East Asia through examinations of varying aesthetic viewpoints and critical and creative interpretations of artistic expression.

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The Person and the Good

Using philosophical methodology, and with substantial attention to Catholic intellectual tradition, this course enquires into the foundations of ethics, including how our conception of the human person affects our understanding of the moral life. It considers also the question of the rationality of belief in God and the difference (if any) God makes to our understanding of the person and the good. In addressing these topics, the course develops and applies basic logic skills, introduced as an essential part of philosophical method and an indispensable tool of critical thinking.

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Principles of Accounting I

The course introduces students to the discipline of accounting through an introduction to financial accounting. Financial accounting is an integral function of every business. Financial accounting data provide insights about the firm's financial condition, operating results, cash flows and capital structure to facilitate decision making. This course introduces the primary financial statements, fundamental financial accounting terminology and calculations, as well as the interpretation and analysis of financial statements. Ethical aspects of accounting are included.

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Technology and Ethics

This Honors section of Technology and Ethics is an application of concepts and principles in philosophical ethics to issues raised by modern technology. Technologies whose ethical use may be considered include: Information Technologies, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Genomics and Artificial Life, Reproductive Technologies, Biomedical and Therapeutic Technologies, Human Enhancement Technologies, Agricultural Technologies, and Environmental Technologies. Special attention will be paid to the application of moral concepts and principles from Catholic intellectual tradition in dialogue with other traditions and perspectives.

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More Ways to Do More

Our students are engaging with their community and the world in astounding ways. Discover more of the activities that Aquinas Scholars Honors students participate in to create community and change the world.