The Honors Curriculum
Students in the Peake Honors Program are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above. They are also required to complete the following program of study:
- 9 hours of 3000- or 4000-level Honors Courses (only 3 hours of which may be taken within a student’s major)
- 8 Honors events
- 3 hours of an Honors Senior Capstone Project OR 2 independent research projects completed at any point during their time in the program.
Honors seminars are small, discussion-oriented courses with more rigorous reading, writing, and speaking components than average courses. The classes usually revolve around specialized topics and are often interdisciplinary in nature. In order to allow for ﬂexible and innovative course offerings, most Honors seminars are taught as special topics courses that vary from semester to semester.
The Honors Program offers access to a variety of on-campus and off-campus events designed to broaden students’ understanding of and appreciation for a wide range of arts and sciences. Students may attend lectures, plays, and musical performances, visit museums or historic landmarks, participate in a service project, or travel abroad. Qualifying events include honors-speciﬁc events as well as general college events designated as “cultural activities.” (Note: if a student attends a college-designated “cultural activity,” this event cannot serve as both a General Education cultural activity and as an Honors Event.) The student should attend the event and also submit a 1-2 page written reﬂection/critique to the Program Director. Participation in 8 approved events (or 2 per year) over the course of one’s academic career is required.
The Honors experience culminates with a semester-long, interdisciplinary research project. Working closely with at least two faculty members, the student will generate a topic, conduct research, and present his/her findings in a public presentation. The Capstone Project is an especially valuable experience for those who are planning to attend graduate school.
Recent capstone projects have:
- investigated the role (and motives) of women in contemporary terrorist organizations.
- shown how the plant pathogen Ergot has influenced the course of Western civilization through its role in the Black Death, the Great Awakening, and the French Revolution.
- argued that antebellum black spirituals contain a covert rhetoric of independence that functioned to provide strength and guidance to the enslaved.
Capstone Alternative Projects
As an alternative to the Senior Capstone, students may design and complete two smaller, independent research projects at any point during their time in the Honors Program. Such projects could include an independent study with a faculty member, an additional research paper in a regular class, a study abroad journal or presentation, the writing of a play or other creative work, or any other suitable academic/creative exercise.
Recent alternative projects have included a:
- reflective journal kept during a study abroad experience at Oxford University.
- scientific analysis of an algae bloom in an on-campus lake (with treatment recommendations).
- composition of an original Minnesang (a genre of medieval German poetry), including an English translation and explanatory notes.