Developing a New Honors Course

To teach an Honors course, professors must first apply to become members of the Honors faculty. This may be done prior to submitting materials for a new Honors course or section, or may be done simultaneously.

Honors classes aim to combine the University's best teachers with high-ability and high-achieving students who want to get the most out of their education and who are especially likely to be planning to attend graduate or professional schools. The aim is not to make courses more difficult, but to make them more challenging and engaging. It is not unusual for such courses to contain less "busy work" but more challenging assignments; such classes are more likely to have essay tests than multiple choice tests; they almost always give greater focus to theoretical issues and outside scholarship than to rote memorization. Because Honors classes are smaller, they are almost always more interactive and generally involve greater classroom discussion.

If a professor wants to propose a new Honors section of an existing course, that professor must submit a current syllabus and a proposed syllabus for the Honors class indicating the Honors component(s). This might involve special class presentations, greater focus on lab work, field work, or other forms of "hands-on" learning, or more detailed and meaningful research or writing projects. The Honors Council will not approve a class for Honors credit simply on the basis that the class will have a longer paper or unspecified additional work. The syllabus must be accompanied by the appropriate paperwork in the proper format. For a copy of the form, click here.

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