Your Four-Year Honors Experience
Your four years in the St. Edward’s Honors program will be an adventure. As an Honors student, your first few years will include small seminar discussions and team-taught courses with faculty from different disciplines. In these courses, you'll consider challenging and engaging topics from varied perspectives, such as Why the Batman IS the Joker: Literary and Psychological Perspectives on the Self and Other.
Students also work closely with supportive mentors — St. Edward’s University's highly accomplished professors — and dialogue and share interests with fellow Honors students. What you explore inside and outside the classroom gives you a valuable skill set, introduces you to new ideas, and influences your future personal and professional paths.
During your final year in the program, you engage in independent and original research through your Honors senior thesis. Past projects include creative work such as graphic novels, plays, and fashion designs, as well as varied academic research on Gothic architecture and gentrification and art in Harlem and East Austin. Your final project is intended to reflect intensive learning over the previous four years; it will rely on your individual passions and all of your studies. For some students, the formal research and preparation process can begin during the third year of study.
St. Edward’s University requires honors students to fulfill 24 credit hours of coursework through the Honors Program. Over the course of four years, we provide students with opportunities to study with talented faculty in intimate seminar settings, engage in creative and dynamic interdisciplinary experiences, and undertake rigorous research with the support of faculty mentors within their major.
The First-Year Experience
The first year in the Honors Program is characterized by a supportive and engaging learning community. Students are enrolled in two community-based seminars, one in the fall and one in the spring, that provide opportunities to work closely with talented faculty and learn in intimate environments where dynamic conversations flourish. All first-year Honors students reside in a Living-Learning Community, which extends the classroom conversation into the residence hall, while establishing lifelong friendships. Students also explore the meaning and significance of a community and liberal arts education in the fall of their first year though a one-hour seminar (7 credit hours).
The four community-based seminars for the upcoming academic year include:
- Health and Disease in the Community (Dr. Lisa Goering)
- Speaking Truth to Power (Dr. Teri Varner)
- A Line and a River: Life & Culture in the U.S. Mexico Border Lands (Dr. Laura Hernandez-Ehrisman)
- Memory, Violence and Religion (Dr. Jenny Veninga)
- The Printed Page and Silver Screen: Imagining Community (Dr. Barbara Filippidis)
(Students will select two of the five.)
All of these courses fulfill a university General Education requirement. Please see Current Students for equivalencies.
The one-hour Honors seminar will be:
- Community and a Liberal Arts Education (Fall)
The Second- and Third-Year Experience
The second and third years are designed to foster intellectual independence and curiosity. Three courses and two seminars are split between four semesters. They include two team-taught, interdisciplinary courses that provide innovative learning opportunities to think across disciplines; two one-hour Curiosity Seminars, where students think carefully about a focused and perhaps unexpected topic selected by the professor; and a Contracted Course in the Major, where students develop a mentoring relationship with faculty in their majors as well as develop the skills required for independent research (11 credit hours).
The team-taught courses for the next academic year include:
- Art and Ethics: Van Gogh’s Ear, Blendered Goldfish, Burning the Flag and Beyond (Dr. Jack Musselman and Dr. Mary Brantl)
- The Shaping of the Modern World (Dr. Peter Austin and Dr. Peter Wake)
- Why Batman IS the Joker: Literary and Psychological Perspectives on the Self and Other (Dr. Todd Onderdonk and Dr. Jeannetta Williams)
(Students will select two.)
All of these courses fulfill a university General Education requirement. Please see Current Students page for equivalencies.
One-hour Honors curiosity seminars include:
- Investigating Creativity (Dr. Sasha West)
- The Visual Art of Reading (Prof. Kim Garza)
- Seeking Life Balance Through Yoga, Mediation and Chocolate (Dr. Trish Baynham)
- Income Inequality and Tax Policy (Dr. Louise Single)
Course in the discipline includes:
- Contracted Course in the Major
The Fourth-Year Experience
The fourth year focuses on independent research and an Honors senior thesis. Students prepare for their senior thesis in the fall with a semester-long research preparation course or independent research supervised by a research mentor within their major. Students spend the spring completing their project, submitting their work to the University community at the Honors Symposium and to the faculty mentor as their senior thesis.
Students may also consider beginning their year-long research project in the spring of their junior year. This allows students to work on their project during the summer before the fourth year and apply for financial support for their research through the Office of Fellowships. These students present their research at the Honors Symposium in the fall.
- Honors Thesis Preparation (HONS 4370)
- Honors Senior Thesis (HONS 4399)