L. Wilkes Honors College
Wilkes Honors College Curriculum
Pathways to Graduate School
Link to Course Descriptions for
the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College
Buller, J. L., Dean; Tunick, M., Associate Dean; Barrett, L.; Blue, M.; Cañete
Quesada, C.; Chandrasekhar, C.; Corr, R.; Dragojlovic, V.; Earles, J.; Edwards,
H.; Ely, C.; Fewkes, J.; Harrawood, M.; Hess, J.; Hõim, T.; Ivey, M.; Jakee,
K.; Kirchman, P.; Lanning, K.; Lemeh, D.; Luria, R.; McGovern, W.; McLaughlin,
A.; Moore, J.; Njambi, W. N.; Nur-tegin, K.; O’Brien, W.; Quintyne, N.; Smith,
E.; Steigenga, T.; Strain, C.; Sweet, M.; Vázquez, M.; Vernon, L.; Wetterer,
J.; White, D. R.
The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College offers a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The B.A. program
is designed to develop the qualities of a free and responsible citizen,
one who can reason clearly, read critically and analytically, argue
persuasively in speech and in writing and contribute to society in
fundamental and innovative ways. By providing broad intellectual training
in the liberal arts and sciences and specialized study in an area of
concentration, the College prepares its students for graduate and professional
schools, such as law and medicine, as well as for careers in business,
science, education and government.
Honors College Curriculum
The College’s curriculum has two primary components:
the concentration (www.fau.edu/divdept/honcol/academics_majors.htm). For
the honors core, students take distribution courses in the liberal arts and
sciences aimed at sharpening written and oral communication, enhancing problem-solving
skills and developing competency in a foreign language. Another component of
the honors curriculum is a series of interdisciplinary seminars and team-taught
courses, some of which introduce students to two of the areas of emphasis at
the Wilkes Honors College, international and environmental studies.
In addition to completing the honors core, students choose a concentration.
Concentrations may be traditional choices, such as biology, English, mathematics,
philosophy, political science and psychology or more interdisciplinary programs,
such as environmental studies, international studies or law and society. The
concentration may have a specialized focus, such as American studies, or it
may combine related disciplines, such as philosophy, politics and economics.
As part of the concentration, students synthesize their skills and knowledge
into senior projects or theses. Students may concentrate in more than one area
by fulfilling the requirements of each concentration. It is possible to minor
in some areas. Refer to the Minors heading appearing later in this Honors College
Prerequisite Coursework for Transfer Students
Students transferring to Florida Atlantic University must
complete both the Honors College core/graduation requirements and requirements
for their concentration(s) (see links above). Lower-division requirements may
be completed through the A.A. degree from any Florida public college, university
or community college or through equivalent coursework at another regionally
accredited institution. Before transferring and to ensure timely progress toward
the baccalaureate degree, students must also complete the prerequisite courses
for their major as outlined in the Transfer Student Manual (see www.fau.edu/registrar/tsm.php).
All courses not approved
by the Florida Statewide Course Numbering System that will be used
to satisfy requirements will be evaluated individually on the basis
of content and will require a catalog course description and a copy
of the syllabus for assessment.
The Honors Core
All students must successfully complete 120 credits to graduate. Of these,
53-78 credits are core or other graduation requirements. The honors core provides
a broad-based education in the liberal arts and sciences through courses that
emphasize critical thinking and writing skills. These courses introduce students
to ways of thinking analytically about science, politics, history, ethics,
culture, visual images and literature. Some courses serve as introductions
to a specific discipline. Others approach problems and themes in ways that
cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Liberal Arts and
The largest component of the honors core is the distribution requirement in
the liberal arts and sciences. The honors core distribution distinguishes itself
from the general education requirements at most universities by its emphasis
on writing across the disciplines, by its use of conceptually thematic categories—Social
and Behavioral Analysis; Culture, Ideas and Values—that encourage faculty to
offer freshmen and sophomores innovative interdisciplinary courses, and by
the freedom it allows students as it invites them to explore ideas and research
beyond their own areas of concentration. The distribution requirement consists
of the following elements:
Writing (3-7 credits,
One of the most important skills students acquire is the ability to communicate
effectively. Good writing is inseparable from clear and coherent thinking.
Honors College courses are writing intensive and provide guidance in researching,
composing, editing and revising papers. Students undertake substantial writing
in different disciplines and in formats as diverse as essays, research papers,
lab reports and debate briefs. A senior honors thesis or the written component
of a senior honors project interweaves the research, analytical and writing
skills acquired in the first three years. To augment the writing-intensive
curriculum and prepare for the independent thesis or project, students enroll
in three writing courses, at least one of which must be a Writing in the Disciplines
(WID) course. If the student is required to take ENC 1123, then this course
will count as one of the three core writing courses. Students will keep written
projects from their Honors College courses in portfolios that are reviewed
by the writing committee at the end of their sophomore year. These portfolios
affirm that students not only meet, but exceed, the State of Florida’s Gordon
Rule writing requirements and provide for both self-direction in the learning
process and ongoing assessment.
Mathematics (6-8 credits,
One goal of the honors core is to help foster mathematical literacy. Mathematics
is the language of science and technology and, increasingly, of the social
sciences. By virtue of its precision, mathematics allows a clear understanding
of the world and our place within it. Indeed, important health and environmental
issues (acid rain, water management, greenhouse effect) cannot be understood
without mathematical literacy. By taking two courses in mathematics, students
sharpen their critical thinking skills, learning to distinguish evidence from
anecdote and causality from correlation.
Natural Sciences (6-8
credits, 2 courses)
By taking two courses in two distinct disciplines within the natural sciences,
students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the natural world as
well as our place in it. At least one of these courses will include a laboratory
section that will give students hands-on experience and allow them to understand
the meaning of science in both theory and practice.
Social and Behavioral
Analysis (3 credits, 1 course)
The courses in social and behavioral analysis familiarize students with different
approaches to the study of individual behavior and social institutions and
introduce them to some of the concepts and methods of the social sciences.
The courses aim at an understanding of the reciprocal relations among people,
societies, and institutions and encourage students to think critically and
systematically about how these societies and institutions can best be arranged.
Culture, Ideas and
Values (3 credits, 1 course)
These courses help students understand and think philosophically and critically
about different value and belief systems across cultural and historical boundaries.
Students will study primary works in the humanities that are devoted to the
examination of questions such as “What is the life worth living? What is the
basis for distinguishing knowledge from belief? What is beautiful?” Courses
may consider how these questions have been approached throughout history or
how different cultures have addressed these questions, or courses may grapple
with these questions without regard to their historical or cultural context.
In any case, students will be asked to articulate, evaluate and defend moral,
aesthetic or other value judgments, such as judgments about how someone ought
to live and claims about the validity of knowledge.
Literature (3 credits,
Courses in literature are intended to develop students’ appreciation and understanding
of literature, looking at texts in their historical and cultural contexts or
examining themes, approaches and generic conventions across time periods.
Arts (3 credits, 1
Courses in art, music and creative writing are intended to develop students’ ability
to create and appreciate the arts in all of their forms, to enhance sensitivity
to artistic expression and to increase familiarity with theories central to
these forms. Courses may be structured historically, culturally or thematically.
Foreign Language (8 credits, 2 courses)
Learning foreign languages provides access to other cultures and worlds and
to other ways of thinking. As this is an important objective of the Honors
College, students are expected to take two sequential courses in a single language
or demonstrate proficiency equivalent to two basic courses. Students are encouraged
to incorporate the study of language in a study abroad experience.
Honors College Forum
(2 credits, 2 courses)
Students meet the faculty and other leading scholars and artists who present
their work and introduce the leading ideas and controversies in their areas
of expertise. Students are expected to take this weekly 1-credit seminar each
of their first two semesters.
Inquiry Seminars (5-9 credits, 3 courses)
The architecture of a traditional college curriculum, in which knowledge is
broken into highly specific fields, disciplines and departments, gives the
misleading impression that human experience and human problems are neatly compartmentalized
and that there is a clear division of labor, each discipline being assigned
its own subset of problems and experiences. To help convey to students that
knowledge and experience are not so easily partitioned and that many problems
benefit from multiple perspectives, the Honors College curriculum includes
a unique offering of symposia and team-taught seminars, all devoted to interdisciplinary
critical inquiry. Students must take three critical inquiry seminars. These
seminars are specially designated 1- or 3-credit, team-taught courses that
explore problems from a variety of perspectives and reflect on the connections
and shared concerns of scholars from distinct disciplines.
International and Environmental
Studies (2-6 credits, 2 courses)
The increasingly global nature of contemporary issues and the increasing importance
of addressing the effects of growth on our environment, coupled with the unique
resources available in Florida for exploring these areas of inquiry, account
for the Honors College’s focus on international and environmental studies.
Students are expected to take one course in each of these areas. These may
be courses or seminars used to satisfy other Honors College requirements.
Requirement (3-12 credits)
Life in the world beyond the campus provides students with invaluable experiences
that complement their programs of study. The experiential learning requirement
applies to all Honors College students (including transfer and international
students). Students may fulfill the requirement through participation in a
study abroad program (minimum of 3 credits and five-week stay) or through an
internship (minimum of 3 credits and 120 hours of internship experience). All
internships and study abroad programs must be approved by the nonclassroom
learning committee prior to student registration. Internship coursework is
(6 credits, 2 courses)
Many students arrive at college unfamiliar with the specialized areas of study
within the social sciences and humanities. Students have the opportunity to
discover and explore these by taking two additional distribution electives.
While these will often be courses that satisfy the Social and Behavioral Analysis;
Culture, Ideas and Values; Literature or the Arts requirements, they may be
courses from any two distinct disciplines, one within the social sciences and
one within the humanities.
In addition to obtaining a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences
through courses in the honors core, each student chooses an area of specialization
or concentration. The purpose of the concentration is to allow students to
obtain deep knowledge of a focused area of interest. Students may have more
than one major concentration or a major concentration and one or more minors.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the concentration, each student
will complete a thesis or senior project. Students in the Wilkes Honors College
have the opportunity to concentrate in most of the traditional disciplines
and to design their own interdisciplinary course of study in consultation
with the faculty. Among the concentrations the Honors College currently offers
Art (Interdisciplinary Visual Arts)
Latin American Studies
Law and Society
Mathematical Sciences (Interdisciplinary)
For details about requirements for the Wilkes
Honors College and listings of course offerings and concentrations,
The Honors College offers numerous minor concentrations. These require a minimum
of 15 credits, including at least 9 credits at the upper level. Students
must maintain a 2.0 GPA in courses taken for the minor concentration. Minor
concentrations are available in:
Art (Interdisciplinary Visual Arts)
Interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge
Law and Society
Students may also minor in business through coursework at the Honors College and the College of Business. For further
information, visit www.fau.edu/divdept/honcol/academics_minors.htm.
to Graduate School
Students considering careers in law will receive excellent preparation in the
Honors College. Admission to law school requires strong analytical and writing
skills, an outstanding academic record and a competitive LSAT (Law School Admission
Test) score. The Honors College’s emphasis on writing and critical thinking
will provide students with the skills law school admissions committees seek.
In addition, advisors will provide law school information and assist with the
The Wilkes Honors College has an arrangement with the College of Business at
FAU whereby students who have met all Honors College graduation requirements,
maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework and achieved
a score of 500 or above on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
are guaranteed admission into FAU’s M.B.A. program. This guarantee is given
only to students who have been full-time Wilkes Honors College students for
a minimum of six semesters and who have completed the core and concentration
in the Wilkes Honors College.
The Wilkes Honors College has an arrangement with the College of Education
at FAU whereby students who have met all Honors College graduation requirements,
maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework, achieved
a score of 800 or above on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and achieved
a passing score on all four sections of the CLAS are guaranteed admission
into FAU’s M.Ed. Program in Curriculum and Instruction Plus Secondary Education
Certification. This guarantee is given only to students who have been full-time
Honors College students for a minimum of six semesters and who have completed
the core and concentration in the Honors College.
Admission to medical school requires a strong academic record, a competitive
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) score and the completion of certain
prerequisite courses. The Honors College offers all of these courses as well
as assistance with MCAT preparation and with the application process.
Honors College students wanting a fast track to a professional nursing career
can take advantage of the Nursing Pathway. Students receive their Honors
College degree in the liberal arts and sciences, and with an additional 12
months of study at FAU’s nationally acclaimed College of Nursing, receive
a B.S.N. as a second degree. Up to three Honors College students who meet
all College of Nursing requirements are guaranteed admission to this accelerated
B.S.N. program each year. For further information, visit www.fau.edu/divdept/honcol/academics_academic_pathways_nursing.htm.
Link to Course Descriptions for the Harriet L. Wilkes