What is an honors course?

The Honors Program in the Liberal Arts permits SMU’s most ambitious and sophisticated students to experience challenging academic experiences beyond their major courses. But the Program also presents SMU faculty with opportunities: to develop General Education courses in subjects about which they feel passionate and to forge meaningful relationships with motivated students.

At their best, Honors courses are dynamic, creative, and extended intellectual conversations in which students can move beyond acquiring information and toward a more complex engagement with the material. To encourage interaction between student and professor and among students themselves, courses may have a seminar format, and enrollment should be limited to 20 students whenever possible; it should rarely exceed 25. Honors courses should also have a substantial writing component as a primary means of evaluation. Team teaching is strongly encouraged, and Honors courses should always be considered a laboratory for creative pedagogy.

Approved by the University Honors Program Advisory Council, 14 October 2004