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CU Honors College

Create an Honors Course

Have an Idea for a New Course?

A professor talking to his students in a lab

We Have the Students!

The Clemson University Honors College welcomes ideas from University faculty for new courses that showcase  innovative work, explore contemporary challenges, and challenge students to think in new, deeper ways.

Instructors proposing a course that meets a General Education requirement should be certain the course addresses Clemson University’s General Education Curriculum Student Learning Outcomes.

What Makes an Honors Course?

There are many approaches to developing and teaching Honors courses. Fundamentally, however, Honors courses should be qualitatively different than non-Honors courses. In other words, they should be more challenging and demanding – not by simply assigning more work, but by mining more educational value from the work that is assigned.

A new Clemson Honors course will be different in some, but not necessarily all, of the following ways:

  • Approaching the material from an interesting or unconventional thematic perspective
  • Emphasizing written and oral communication skills
  • Emphasizing discussion and other interactive teaching/learning techniques that are generally unsuitable for larger undergraduate classes
  • Promoting learning outside the formal classroom setting (e.g., service projects)
  • Fostering teamwork and collaboration
  • Applying principles learned in class to “real-life” problems and situations
  • Exploring connections among various fields of study
  • Providing opportunities for independent research
  • Providing opportunities for publication or public presentation of work
  • Developing assignments and exercises that require students to reconcile conflicting findings or to synthesize different points of view
  • Emphasizing the use of original or primary sources, as opposed to traditional textbooks and secondary readings

Note: the innovative elements that distinguish the honors course pedagogy and learning objectives should also be incorporated into the grading scheme indicated in the Evaluation section of the Sample Syllabus.

Department-based Honors Courses

Many department-based courses have been approved to be taught with (embedded or standalone) Honors sections. That information can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Faculty members or department chairs interested in seeking approval for new Honors offerings of departmental courses should go through normal curriculum approval processes using Curriculog.

These proposals will route to the Clemson University Honors College Committee (CUHCC) for approval before proceeding to the University Curriculum Committee. In approving Honors sections of departmental courses, the CUHCC will look for some of the characteristics of Honors courses listed in the above section.

The CUHCC meets the third Friday of each month, so faculty and departments are encouraged to plan accordingly to meet deadlines (e.g., proposals considered at the March UCC meeting should reach the CUHCC in time for its February meeting).

An Honors student smiling at the camera during class

Submit an Honors Seminar Idea

New Honors seminar submissions are evaluated twice per year – early in the Spring for the Fall semester and early in the Fall for the Spring semester.

Please contact Dr. Kristine Vernon if you have any questions about seminar idea submissions.

What To Submit

A submission proposing a new Honors seminar should include the following:

Split view of students in a classroom and a student walking down the Honors Center hallway

Course Abbreviation, Prefix and Number

This course will be listed under one of the following rubrics (approved general education areas* in parentheses):

  • HON 1900 - First-Year Seminar: Arts and Humanities (Literature)
  • HON 1910 - First-Year Seminar: Arts and Humanities (Non-literature)
  • HON 1920 - First-Year Seminar: Social Science (Social Science)
  • HON 1930 - First-Year Seminar: Cross-Cultural Awareness (CCA)
  • HON 1940 - First-Year Seminar: Science and Technology in Society (STS)
  • HON 2010 - Structures and Society (Non-literature Humanities and STS)
  • HON 2020 - Science, Culture, and Human Values (Social Science)
  • HON 2030 - Society, Art, and Humanities (Arts and Humanities non-literature)
  • HON 2040 - Honors Study/Travel
  • HON 2050 - Current Issues
  • HON 2060 - Controversies in Science and Technology (STS)
  • HON 2070 - Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving
  • HON 2090 - Border Crossings: Experiences in World Cultures (CCA)
  • HON 2100 - Experiencing the Arts (Non-literature Humanities)
  • HON 2101 - Experiencing the Arts Laboratory
  • HON 2200 - Studies in Social Science (Social Science)
  • HON 2210 - Studies in Literature (Arts and Humanities Literature)
  • HON 2220 - Studies in Arts and Humanities (Arts and Humanities non-literature)
  • HON 2230 - Studies in Communications (Oral Communication)
  • HON 2240 - Global Issues

Course Topic/Title

Provide a short title the Honors Office can use to help “market” your course.


Please include office location, phone, and email.

Course Description

In 100-150 words, explain the content, approach, and learning objectives of the course, with emphasis on interdisciplinary linkages if appropriate. Innovative teaching techniques and learning experiences should be provided.

Required Reading

The Clemson Honors College Committee prefers, where possible, original texts and primary sources over standard textbooks.

Course Requirements

An Honors seminar should be distinguished not by the amount of work required but by the quality of it. “Enrichment, not extra” should be your guide. Requirements should stress development of communication skills. Writing assignments should emphasize analysis and interpretation. Please indicate weights assigned to course requirements.

Course Outline and Reading Assignments

Please indicate, even if in rough form, a semester calendar of topics, readings, special activities, due dates for assignments, etc.


Please direct any questions about Honors courses and seminars to Dr. Kristine Vernon, Associate Dean for the Clemson Honors College.