A Look At The New Honors Program Curriculum

The Honors Program recently announced its new curriculum which will go into effect for all incoming students starting fall 2021. Current Honors Program students are being given the choice to switch from the old curriculum to the new curriculum if they want at any time in the future.

Dr. Amy Lebo, Associate Dean of Honors and Scholars, said this change was made in order to “make the program more feasible to complete for a broader range of students, while also ensuring that the program is meeting outcomes that are going to benefit them during and after their time at BW.”

Lebo said, the new curriculum is “smaller and more focused on developing a specific set of 21st century skills. All students will develop skills in problem solving, research, and at least introductory skills in a non-English language. Additionally, students will now choose a track to build skills in either intermediate/advanced language, statistics, or computing.”

The new curriculum was mainly designed by Lebo with the help of Assistant Professor Dr. Herman Sahni when it came to the statistics and data programming tracks. Over the two years it took to complete this process, the Honors Program Advisory Council (HPAC) along with groups of students also helped find the balance between having the program be feasible to complete and providing a rigorous experience.

When asked about her contribution Sahni said, “Of all the different statistics courses offered across the campus, it was challenging to integrate them into the level I and level II courses that not only complement each other but also do not require any discipline-specific pre-requisites. Additionally, we did not include any courses that focused primarily on the statistical software package.”

Lebo said that the process of coming to this specific curriculum “was a bumpy road.” In fall of 2019, the Honors Program attempted to suggest a different curriculum revision “but it failed to pass the faculty committee approvals required to make a change.”

When motions to continue the revision were taken up once more this fall after being put on hold due to COVID-19, Lebo said she was more “determined to find a path forward.”

Lebo said, “We struggled to move through the approval process again, and ended up having to make concessions related to some of the requirements so that we could gain final approval. However, in the end, I’m happy with how things have turned out.”

So what is this new curriculum? And how does it compare to the old one? This table provided in one of the Honors Program emails details it perfectly:

Updated Curriculum

Older/Existing Requirements 2021 Requirements
Math  – Take one of the following (3-4 credits):

MTH140 (Pre-calculus)
MTH151H (Honors non-calculus)
Any higher-level math

Problem Solving – Take one of the following (3-4 credits):

MTH 151H (Honors Contemporary Mathematics – counts as Core math)
PHY 102H (Quantitative Problem Solving
– counts as Quantitative Extension
PHY 104H (General Problem Solving
– counts as Quantitative Extension)
MTH 141 (Calculus II– counts as Quantitative Extension)


Language Study (0-16 credits, depending on placement testing)

Completion of 202 level course in any non-English language or equivalent competency proven through a language placement exam


Completion of 102 level course in two different languages or equivalent competency proven through language placement exams

Language Study (6-8 credits)
Complete one year (two semesters) of study in a non-English language (6-8 credits). Placement testing will not exempt this requirement.

International students with native fluency are exempt.

(No Equivalent) Tracks – complete one of the following tracks (6-8 credits):

Intermediate/Advanced Language – Take two additional semesters of a single non-English language at the 201 level or above (6-8 credits)

Statistics – take one course at each level (6 credits)
Level I: MTH 105, MTH 108, MTH 235, PSY 278, ECN 279, FNC 280
Level II: MTH 106, FNC 485

Data Programming – take one course at each level (6 credits)
Level I: CSC 210, CSC 211, CSC 212
Level II: CSC 280

Honors Electives (24 credits)

Complete 24 credit hours of Honors experiences. Includes the following options:

· Any course offered as HON or with an H (e.g., FYE 100H)
· Any course taken as an Honors Option (research project added to coursework)
· Thesis work
· FSCs, BUS 221 (CIG Fellows), POL 216IX (Model UN/African Union co-requirement)

Students are also able to reduce their required 24 credit hours through many different credit reduction experiences.  Internships, service hours, study abroad, alternative breaks, Summer Scholars, student leadership, etc., can all generate credit reductions.

Honors Electives (8-9 credits)

Take three additional HON or H courses.

FYE and thesis do not count.
ENG 131H does count.
Courses in the Problem Solving requirement do not count twice, but once the Problem Solving requirement is filled, any addition course taken under that requirement will count as an elective
Any number of Honors Options can be utilized as Honors Electives.
There are no credit reductions (any reductions earned thus far will be deleted)

Thesis (1-4 credits)

Complete a thesis or senior project for a minimum of 1 credit hour.  Thesis work done in the major will fulfill this requirement.

Thesis (1-4 credits)

Complete a thesis or senior project for a minimum of 1 credit hour.  Thesis work done in the major will fulfill this requirement.

Total credit hours:

Greatly variable, but as much as 40 credits for a student who needs four semesters of language and utilizes no credit reductions. 

Total credit hours:

Possibly as low as 24, but more likely between 27-29.


Important Notes

1. Credit reductions are no longer applicable. All credit reductions earned thus far will be permanently deleted and there will be no more opportunities to earn credit hour reductions.
2. The curriculum is no longer based on credit hour earned. It is now based on the courses completed.