Honors Seminars are sorted first by semester and then in ascending order of course number. Use the filtering system to narrow your results. For full course details and descriptions, click the image or course title.
The University Honors Program makes every effort to offer advertised courses. To that end, Honors Seminars with seven (7) or more students are considered viable. Honors Seminars with fewer students will be evaluated for cancellation ten (10) days prior to the start of the semester. Students will be notified and are encouraged to contact their UHP advisor should they need assistance with replacing the canceled course. (Departmental Honors courses cancellation policy is determined by the college/department through which the course is offered.)
This course provides a classroom-support format to assist Honors students with developing a firm foundation for research in advance of their final year of study. Most thesis writing will be done under the direction of the thesis advisor and committee, hence assignments in HCol 3101H are structured to prompt students toward engaging best practices—generically, and in their specific field of study—in preparing to complete thesis work. The course’s ultimate objective is to provide context, structure, third-party scholarly guidance, and a supportive community of peers to promote excellence and expediency in fulfilling the final requirement for graduation with Latin Honors.
4 sections available for spring 2023. Each section has 7 pre-defined meeting dates. See Schedule Builder for details.
This course provides a structured format and outside supervision to assist Honors students and their faculty advisors in drafting and editing the prose of the Honors thesis. Specifically, students are asked to regularly solicit their thesis advisor for specific kinds of feedback on draft writing samples, meet with the faculty member to go over this feedback, and then write up a plan for incorporating the feedback into subsequent drafts. HCOL3103V assumes that the bulk of the work devoted to developing a thesis topic, consulting secondary sources, collecting data, doing analysis, and producing creative output has already been completed. Hence, assignments in HCOL3103V prompt students and thesis advisors to meet regularly in service of crafting prose appropriate for their discipline and project. The final assignment comprises the submission of the completed thesis draft to the full thesis committee.
1 section available for spring 2023. Meets on 7 pre-defined Fridays from 1:25-3:20pm. See Schedule Builder for details.
Museums are a significant, international growth industry. Where museums of the past sought simply to educate their visitors, today’s museums also promise to entertain, move, and provoke them, to express identities, unsettle certainties, question histories, and consolidate communities. How do museums follow through on that promise? What techniques do curators use to shape visitor experience? And when do museums’ ambitions to create culture also court controversy?
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45-11:00am
This seminar offers a selective overview of the most influential Non-Anglo-American “film authors” in post WWII art film history. Throughout the course we will learn the definitions of "art film" and "film author," filmmaking as high art practice, major art film movements in the world: Italian New-Realism, French New Wave, New German Cinema, New Taiwanese Cinema, etc. and their influence on the American filmmaking. We will develop a historical appreciation of art film based on cinematic traditions contained within narrative, documentary, and experimental forms, and acquire a critical, technical, and aesthetic vocabulary relating to particular filmmakers. In particular, we will examine and evaluate the importance of genre and the legacy of individual “auteurs” throughout the history of post-war cinema. We will study the individuality of the filmmakers and their contribution to our understandings of politics, society, and human relationship.
This Honors Seminar fulfills an upper-division elective requirement for the Studies in Cinema & Media Culture major.
This Honors Seminar fulfills a 3xxx-level elective requirement for the Art History major/minor. It satisfies the Era III historical distribution requirement (1800-present), and can be applied to one of two geographic distribution requirements: North America/Europe, or South and/or East Asia.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
Role-playing games are strange: Like a play, they ask you to inhabit the mind and spirit of another person. But, like a game, they also set goals and tasks for you. And, they are centered around the co-creation of a world and its story, like, well.. like nothing else. In this class, we’ll study role-playing games, not only as games, but also as ways of learning about ourselves and the world we (in fact!) inhabit. Along the way, we will play these games, with an eye toward answering our many questions.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
Deception and persuasion are important facets of human communication. This honors seminar will draw on theories of deceit and persuasion to answer questions such as: Why do we lie? Is it easy to tell when someone is lying? How do we use deception to influence others? Is it always wrong to lie? And how has the internet and rise of social media changed the landscape and political impact of persuasion and lies?
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:45pm
This seminar is a ghastly wicked ride through key genres and formats of fantasy literature for adolescents and young adults. Fantasy is explored as a literature of possibilities and empowerment, and in particular as furthering the ongoing transformation of consciousness from local to global humanity. The focus is on eight principal genres and on the role of fantasy in nurturing moral imagination, creative thinking, and the human potential.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am
Encompassing more than 6.5 million square miles, Russia is an immense and ecologically diverse country. The environment of the frigid and heavily forested heartland of early Russian civilization, as well as that of the “wild field” (the Eurasian steppe) on its border, have posed a series of challenges to Russians and have left an indelible mark on modern Russian culture. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will study how Russians have conceived of and used nature from the medieval period to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Articulating a particular approach to nature has been integral to several ideological and cultural projects in Russian history, including the formation of a literary tradition, the establishment of a multi-ethnic empire encompassing several biomes, and the development of a vision of Soviet science conquering and reshaping nature—and the world.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:15am-12:30pm
The microbiome - the communities of microbes living in humans, plants, animals, and the environment, plays indispensable roles in the way they function. This relationship, rooted in the origin of life, has played a role in every aspect of our biology and the way we interact with the specific environment we live in.
We live in a globalized, highly- interconnected world; now, more than ever, it is easier to expose ourselves to different cultures, places, and peoples. Join a journey beyond our borders to understand how different global perspectives help us learn more about ourselves and our society in the current world order, all thorough a microbiome lens. In this class, we will travel to different places around the world to discuss how a microbiomes provide us with a unique lens to understand diverse societies and cultures. From the moment we evolved as humans, to the origin of the first civilizations, we will learn how microbes have been involved in the most complex global social issues, including public health, global politics, and social justice.
Meets on Thursdays from 2:30-5:00pm
This course is designed to explore the complexities of diabetes treatment, including navigating the US health care system and accessing and interpreting medical information. Students will gain foundational understanding of the endocrine system, the pathophysiology that leads to different types of diabetes, and the pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions for management. This is an online-based course and will be discussion based. Topics will be discussed among students across each week with a strong presence of the instructional team within each small group.
Meets remotely onFridays from 2:30-4:00pm
This seminar offers an introduction into legal thinking: not merely what the laws are, but why we have them and, more importantly, how we come up with them. As a focus, students will ground themselves in torts, a fundamental area of legal education that covers the civil wrongs. Students will have an opportunity to get a feeling for the law school experience as we use the case method, along with some Socratic method and ample discussion. We will focus on the basics of legal analysis, and learn how to apply that to critical thinking. Students successfully completing this seminar will be mentally armed and dangerous.
Meets on Tuesdays from 3:35-6:15pm.
This course will discuss how cinematic interpretations of American law were and are perceived and accepted in the United States and elsewhere, both inside and outside the legal community. The class will progress by teaching and discussing some fundamentals of American law using legal films to illustrate the doctrinal concepts and rationales in civil procedure, criminal law and criminal procedure, the jury trial, evidence, contracts, torts, constitutional law and the First Amendment, legal ethics, and professional responsibility.
Meets on Thursdays from 4:00-6:30pm
This course is designed to introduce students to Leonardo da Vinci the historical man, and to his rich body of work produced during his lifetime from 1462-1519. The course will travel to Italy over Spring Break (March 3-12). Because of the abroad component, all students must apply via the Learning Abroad Center.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45am-11:00am
This course will use philosophy, fiction, and film to explore larger questions around the meaning and purpose of life, with special attention to their relationship to digital technology, politics and medicine.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15am-12:30pm
This course is designed to explore in depth the relationship between communication and sport. We will examine theories of communication and connect them to sport. This course will not be a discussion of sport for sport’s sake, but instead ask important questions about how we use sports as a means to create community, define gender and race, and promote or refute political ideologies, among other things. Readings will examine the interrelationship of sports and these critical topics. The purpose is to ask questions that help illuminate the symbolic nature of sports in our or any culture.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45-11:00am
This course provides a classroom-support format to assist Honors students with developing a firm foundation for research in advance of their final year of study. Most thesis writing will be done under the direction of the thesis advisor and committee, hence assignments in HCol 3102H are structured to prompt students toward engaging best practices—generically, and in their specific field of study—in preparing to complete thesis work. The course’s ultimate objective is to provide context, structure, third-party scholarly guidance, and a supportive community of peers to promote excellence and expediency in fulfilling the final requirement for graduation with Latin Honors.
For Fall 2022, there will be 4 sections of HCol 3102H. This course meets every other week. Section 1 meets on Thursdays from 1:25-3:20pm; section 2 meets on Thursdays from 1:25-3:20pm;; section 3 meets on Fridays from 11:15am-1:10pm; section 4 meets on Tuesdays from 4:00-5:55pm.
Art has a social role to serve, and the artist has a moral obligation to society. It can engage the social issues and environment of its day, either directly or indirectly. Not every artwork needs to address poverty, famine, war, corruption, and injustice, but an artist should not ignore the pain and suffering of her/his fellow human beings. This course will discuss the subject matters and practices of major contemporary artists all over the world whose creative work frequently intertwines with commentaries on contemporary politics.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
This seminar will introduce students to critical thinking and behavioral research methods, encouraging them to critically evaluate the evidence for a variety of supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific claims. Students will design and carry out their own experimental tests of these claims. The course includes a guest lecture and demonstration by a local psychic.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am
This course is designed to introduce students to techniques for discovering everyday problems and fashioning potential solutions to those problems. Because the course material deals with ideas and idea generation, it is designed to be helpful to many future careers and callings by unlocking individual creative thinking skills. During the semester we will explore the genesis of ideas and the relationship between deep insight, empathy, consumer problems, ideas, and innovation. Specific topics to be covered during the semester include the role of insights, ethnography, and discovery techniques; individual and group creativity; the creative process and where ideas come from; innovation and the value thereof; and effective communication of ideas.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am
This is a topical, field-trip-based course. This seminar will address some of the solutions to the environmental problems that affect our society by examining the science and by experiencing the solutions that are used on campus or in the neighboring community. Each week we will focus on a solution to a different environmental issue (stormwater, groundwater contamination, disposal or livestock waste, solid waste, public engagement on environmental concerns, and so forth). We will visit the places on or near campus designed as environmental solutions, hear from the experts, and discuss the engineering and human aspects of these solutions. The field-trip destinations are accessible by campus bus, city bus, or train. The class will involve weekly reading and writing assignments. There will also be a semester-long, hands-on project to devise a realistic, potential solution to an environmental issue.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 2:30-4:10pm
Sherlock Holmes, in solving his cases, is relying on a pattern of reasoning known as Inference to the Best Explanation (acronym: IBE). Holmes’s explanation of how some crime was committed tends to be so convincing that it counts as evidence that it was actually committed that way. Although our use of it is seldom as clever as Holmes’s, we rely on IBE all the time in everyday life. So do scientists. In science, however, IBE tends to be less reliable. That a theory explains a range of phenomena does not make that theory true. In other words, we cannot simply take a theory’s explanatory power as evidence for it. Yet, scientists tend to put great emphasis on their theories’ explanatory power if they want to convince others of it. Which raises the question: What exactly is the relation between explanation and evidence in science? In this seminar, we will examine this relation, using examples from everyday life, crime fiction and the history of science (involving such luminaries as Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and Einstein). To improve our understanding of IBE we will contrast it with a probabilistic account of evaluating evidence known as Bayesianism.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00-11:15pm
Exploring museums and special collections on campus, this course will investigate the importance of material objects – maps, rare books, artifacts, instruments, specimens, manuscripts – as these are used to write history, produce public exhibits, and create identities. The materials were collected as part of research agendas, often by faculty, and thus are repositories that relate closely to the history of various sciences. The University of Minnesota provides a rich resource for such exploration of things that, collectively, have been important and continue to shape its history.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Wednesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
This course explores the interaction of human, animals, and microbes and examines how microbes, pathogenic microbes in particular, have influenced human evolution and civilization. The course expects to expose students to the thinking from a historic and interdisciplinary perspective that microbes, especially those causing pandemics and epidemic for centuries, may have played critical roles in influencing human history and shaping modern civilization, although social, cultural, technical, and other factors have been major players.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 3:35-5:30pm
We share the planet with a myriad of living things. The smallest of those are the ones that may impact our lives the most. These creatures are in the news nearly every day: Ebola virus in Western Africa, measles outbreak among visitors to Disneyland, foodborne outbreaks on cruise ships. This course will focus on the importance of infectious disease prevention, control, and treatment to the health and well-being of the global community. Students will explore the many facets of public health response operations and decision-making which are often behind the scenes and not well understood by the general public.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-2:15pm.
This is a course designed for undergraduate students who are interested in medicine. Students will get a broad introduction to the field of medicine via core lectures, book reading, movies, and interactive group discussion, group presentation, and writing a review paper on pain medicine.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays from 3:35-6:55pm, ending on October 31, 2022
Whether you want to be organizing large activism campaigns or become an effective advocate for local issues, this course will go over some of the basic frameworks for advocacy and change-making. Basics of climate change will be covered. The course will feature guest speakers from various campaigns and organizations. Students develop their own advocacy campaigns as a way to center theoretical learning. The focus of this class is on climate change but these basic tools and frameworks are useful for any issue.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:15pm
This seminar course explores the deep connections between fire and the emergence of Great Lakes forests, as well as the cultural use of fire as a tool. In this course, we will explore the development of effective fire suppression, the emergence of fortress-ecology/conservation, and the impacts of reduced fire activity on forest resilience. We will also discuss the concept of ‘wilderness’ and traditional ecological knowledge and the relationship with fire management today, particularly within the framework of a changing climate. This course is meant to merge interdisciplinary topics in ecology, climatology, and geography to explore the important connections between humans and their physical environment in the Upper Great Lakes pine landscapes.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
This course is a global comparative investigation of the traditional myths, legends, and folktales that have been produced by diverse communities ringing the northern polar regions; we will draw a circle around the top of the world (approximately the 58th or 60th parallel) and see what we find. Thus, we will study many cultures and their literatures and beliefs that are not often combined: the indigenous cultures of North America and beyond; the Russian and Baltic regions; the Scandinavian countries and Finland; Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45-11:00am
This class will explore the relationship between political revolution and artistic expression. The primary focus will be on the Soviet Union and Mexico, both famous for the dramatic artistic developments that accompanied their radical political transformation. As secondary points of comparison, the class will also study the art arising from other revolutions in other countries, including the United States, France, Cuba, and Algeria.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
The urgent pressures for equity and justice, and for a response to the changing climate, are complex, intertwined, "wicked problems." The Mississippi River, a storied part of the American landscape that is literally and figuratively the center of the North American continent, provides a profound space to explore how the river and American society have shaped each other. The seminar uses an Environmental Justice lens to examine the past, present, and potential futures of the river's biological, physical, and socio-cultural systems in a changing climate. The seminar will bring together knowledge from a number of academic disciplines, as well as community and cross-sector professional and agency perspectives.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-2:15pm
In the 2016 Presidential race, Donald Trump said that drug companies were getting away with murder and Hilary Clinton charged that they were making a fortune out of people’s misfortune. The main complaint against drug companies is, of course, that they are price gougers. They abuse their government-enforced monopolies to charge extortionate prices that deny some Americans access to treatment for life-threatening illnesses, bankrupt middle class Americans, and place intolerable strains on state budgets. This seminar will use a cure for hepatitis C (Sovaldi) to evaluate the claim that drug companies charge exorbitant prices and (optimistically?) to try to answer the question of what is a just price for a life-saving drug. Or, in other words, how should we price priceless goods?
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:15am-12:30pm
Currently, nanotechnology influences virtually all industrial and public health sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, transport, energy, materials, information, and communication technologies. Despite extensive commercial application, a clear understanding of the adverse effects of Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) is lacking. Deep uncertainties currently pervade every step of the risk assessment of ENPs, making the procedure incapable of properly serving its purpose. The students registered for this seminar will learn key general features of ENPs, how general public might be exposed to ENPs and their potential health effects so that they can make informed decision regarding safe use of ENPs. With serious information gap regarding ENPs safety, whether ENPs are a blessing or a curse is debatable.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
This course will provide a comprehensive overview of law and politics of 20th and 21st-century China, in their historical and cultural contexts. It will introduce undergraduate students to distinctive paradigms and discursive patterns of law and politics in China, with the intention of fostering comparative analysis and critical thinking. Initially, the course will focus upon modern Chinese history since 1840, paying particular attention to traditional Chinese views of the role of law in society, as well as to the legal and political aspects of early Sino-Western interaction. The second part of the course will focus on substantive laws, high profile legal cases, and major political events in the People's Republic of China today. The course will conclude by examining current issues in Chinese law from both sides, and by looking into China's argument for the "Beijing Consensus" -- essentially a new type of capitalism, without Western-style rule of law.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 4:00-6:30pm.
Lawyers, nuns, social workers, and school girls have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In achieving this distinction, they hone their leadership skills to a fine art. They face personal danger, inner conflicts, social challenges, and pointed criticism. Succeeding despite their flaws, their ability to inspire courageous, innovative action cuts across age-groups, decades, borders, and nationality. Students in this Honors Seminar will touch and experience that inspiration.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm.