The core of the Honors College curriculum is a set of five seminar-based courses. These courses emphasize the development of skills in critical reading, writing, and analysis. The first two courses, HON 105 and HON 106 are taken during the freshman year. The remaining three courses, HON 201, 301, and 401, are taken during the three subsequent years.
Modes of Knowledge: An examination of the structure and content of knowledge, as well as the ways in which various kinds of knowledge are constituted. The course examines some classical epistemological and ethical texts and also considers the ways in which modern epistemological theories, as well as knowledge forms characteristic of the natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, have altered and/or affected our understanding of the nature of knowledge.
Modes of Being: Examination of the many different modes of being — aspects of the ways in which people think of themselves and behave in the world — through analysis of literary works and through texts that derive from the various social sciences, including psychology.
Arts & Society: An exploration of the interconnections between art and society, using the biographies and autobiographies of notable visual artists, performers, and composers when appropriate, but also using other texts that focus on art works by anonymous creators such as the architects and sculptors who designed and created medieval cathedrals or the anonymous lyricists and composers who created the songs and dances of traditional cultures. Close examination of the works themselves is an integral part of the course, generally involving field trips.
Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Society: An examination of the mutual relations among science, technology, medicine, and society: how the sciences and various technologies affect society and, at the same time, are affected by it. This examination is conducted through the perspectives of disciplines outside the sciences such as history, philosophy, sociology, and economics, in combination with the natural sciences, applied sciences, clinical medicine, and engineering.
Global Issues: Using historical, geographical, sociological, political, and economic perspectives, students examine global issues. This examination may be either topical or regional and may be oriented either toward the past, the present, or the future.
F irst semester freshmen Honors College students are required to take HON 101 (Introduction to Stony Brook), a 1 credit mini-course intended to integrate students into both the Honors College and the University community by providing information about Stony Brook and a forum for discussion of values, intellectual and social development, and personal as well as institutional expectations. In addition to HON 101, all Honors College students are required to take three 1 credit mini-courses. With small enrollments (averaging 15 or 16), these special topics mini-courses allow students to explore a wide range of topics they might otherwise never have the opportunity to pursue, while getting to work in small groups with faculty and their Honors College classmates. The offerings constantly change, with eight options available to choose from in any given semester. Students are encouraged to use the mini-courses as an opportunity to branch out and experiment with disciplines and topics well outside of their primary academic interests. Past topics: Infectious Diseases; Positive Psychology; Musical Theater; Semiotics and Comics; Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Color in Art and Technology.
Senior Honors Project
The culmination of the Honors College curriculum is a two-semester, six credit, research or creative project. This research project is done under the supervision of a faculty member. Students generally register for HON 495-496, but with the approval of the Honors College, students may substitute for an appropriate, credit bearing departmental honors project. Senior theses represent a wide variety of academic disciplines from liberal arts and humanities to biochemistry and physics with titles such as, Occupy Central- Hong Kong Protest and C1q, gC1qr Fibrinogen, Vitronectin and Staphylococcus Aureaus Protein A.