Honors Activity Options
Types of Honors Activities
First-Year Honors Activity Requirement for Freshmen:
- Honors College Core Courses – 3 HU each
Students joining the Honors College as freshmen must enroll in a 3-credit Honors Core course each semester of the freshman year (two courses total by the end of the first year).Core courses count toward students’ degree requirements and may fulfill university general education requirements. The Honors College updates the list of available Core courses each semester, which is available here.
- First-Year Seminar – 1 HU
All Honors College freshmen must also register for a 1-credit first-year seminar in their first semester. The options vary depending on students’ major. Your Honors College academic advisor will help you register for the appropriate seminar during Orientation.
Honors Activity Options for Upper Division Students:
- Upper Division Seminars (at least TWO required) – 1 HU each
All Honors College students must complete the following two upper-division seminars before entering the senior year:
- HON 201: Honors Seminar (topics vary) (1 credit hour, S/U grading)
- HON 301: Foundations for the Future (1 credit hour, S/U grading)
An updated list of seminar options is available each semester here.
- Other Activity Options
Other Course-Based Options
The Supplement provides the student with an opportunity to go more deeply or broadly in the subject of an otherwise non-Honors course than is specified in the course requirements. For this activity, the student and course professor work together to determine what the additional work will entail. It is not simply an “extra” paper, experiment, or problem set, but an Honors Supplement does provide the student with a greater challenge than that presented to other students.
Examples of Supplements include, but are not limited to:
- Papers on more challenging topics than those required of other students
- More sophisticated experiments
- More complex problems
- Extra problem sets/experiments in an area touched on but not thoroughly covered in the class
- Leading a class discussion on a topic thoroughly studied by the student
- Learning a more advanced computer language than that required in the course and writing a course-related program
- In a basic foreign language course, translating a short work into English
- In an engineering course, building a model of a course-related device
- Meetings with the instructor to discuss additional readings
The work required of the student for a Supplement cannot be precisely quantified across all disciplines and courses. Honors Supplements must be described by the student in as much detail as possible on both Agreement and Completion Forms. The college will not accept forms without such descriptions.
Samples of Honors Supplements:
“As an Honors Supplement to Political Science 216, I will do additional research on the subject of bringing about political awareness and change through the internal manipulation of radio. Essentially, I will examine the strategies that are used at a radio station dedicated to political change. I will base my research on personal experience, staff interviews, and additional readings. I will write a paper of a minimum of 10 to 15 pages.” “As an Honors Supplement to SPAN 103 I will watch a movie by a Spanish director and write a 2-3 page review on it.” “My honors supplement to POLS 209 will compare and contrast the tactics and political mobilization used by undocumented youth that led to the outcomes of the Illinois and California Dream Acts. To gain insight into this issue, I will incorporate media, undocumented youth led organizations, and primary sources [in my research project].” “For my Honors Supplement in BA 200, I will read a motivational business book. I will then apply the reading to my future career by writing a business analysis from the perspective of a finance major about the author’s message.” “For my Honors Supplement in CI 402, in my field placement classroom at Wells Prep, I will be working on a focal student project with one Kindergarten student. I will administer, assess and analyze reading and writing assessments such as a reading inventory and running records.” “For my BIOS 220 Honors Supplement, I will read additional articles about a particular strand of rice and relate it to the material learned in class. This is a collaborative effort that is to be done with other Honors students doing a supplement in the course as well. At the end of the semester, everyone who worked on the supplement will present it to the class.” “For my KN 361 Honors Supplement, I will be planning my own experiment to test relative bat speeds and acceleration using a motion capture system. I will be comparing the angular velocities and accelerations of bats of different lengths and weights to determine which is the fastest.” “For my DES 319 Honors Supplement, I will do an additional type project using Neil Gaiman's ‘Make Good Art’ commencement speech, exploring the concepts of expressive and experimental type explored in the first and second projects required for the class.”
Honors Sections of Regular Courses
Some departments offer special Honors sections of courses. Others reserve seats for Honors College students within a regular course and require students to complete additional course requirements determined by the instructor. The Honors status of the course is noted on the student’s transcript by the addition on the letter “H” after the letter grade given for the course.
Advanced Coursework Outside the Major
Students may take advanced courses (400 level or above) that are not part of their academic program requirements for Honors Activity credit. Students should be sure to verify that they have all required course prerequisites for any advanced courses in which they wish to enroll.
Independent Study and Research
As students enter more advanced coursework in their major, they may consider independent study in an area not covered in standard courses under the supervision of a faculty member. In planning such projects, students should consult the departmental policies and procedures to which they are subject, as well as obtaining their Faculty Fellows’ approvals. Students may also choose to engage in supervised work in faculty research laboratories or on other research projects, again with their Fellows’ approvals. Sometimes these projects provide course credit, in which case students enroll in a course number designated for such work. With the approval of their Fellows, some students may do independent work without course credit that still fulfills the Honors Activity requirement.
Samples of Independent Research:
“I am studying pinewood nematode sampling methods at the Morton Arboretum and determining the distribution within the tree.” (Fellow’s comment: “XXX discussed the project with me at the beginning of the term and added some of the principles of ecology to her study. She is senior author of a poster session to be presented this June at the national Phytopathology meetings. She has most certainly done work of honors caliber.)” “I have a full load of required courses in Bioengineering this term. Having completed BIOE 354 last term, I became aware of electrical safety issues in hospitals. I plan on researching the numerous electrical codes for hospital safety, and then examining the actual application, or misapplication, of the various regulations in a hospital setting, where I volunteer in the engineering department. I plan on creating a file on electrical safety for future reference when employed.” “This independent study project will involve research concerning the phenomenon of ritual fire-walking (particularly in southern India) and participants’ immunity to injury. In addition to information from various sources, I will have the opportunity to study the personal field research of my instructor. After research and contemplation, I will present my findings and attempt to provide a plausible explanation(s) for the apparent immunity to the fire.” “Comparing the distribution of hawkmoths and hummingbirds in the United States, the latitudinal distribution of sunbirds and hummingbirds, and the foraging efficiency of hawkmoths and hummingbirds. I will be doing the bulk of the research.”
Students may complete internships, externships, co-ops, practica, or student teaching (for students majoring in an education or “teaching of” program) to earn Honors Units. HUs will be earned based on hours per week spent in their professional development role (a minimum of 3 hours/week is required) or based on their equivalent academic credits. Students can be paid for their professional development activities.
The Honors College also encourages students to pursue opportunities to receive academic credit for their experiences through courses such as:
ANTH 496, ARCH 395, ART 499, AH 482, AHS 393, BA 289, CHEM 488, COMM 474, CLJ 395, EAES 492, ED 350, ED 351, ED 450, ED 451, ENGR 289, ENGL 493, GEOG 496, GER 492, GER 493, HIM 384, HN 480, KN 393, LALS 497, LALS 498, LAS 289, PA 490, PA 496, PA 497, POLS 301, POLS 302, PSCH 385, SOC 298, THTR 474, US 302, US 495
Students should consult their degree-granting advisor about earning internship credit.
Students are limited to ONE service activity to count toward Honors Units.
Service activities require involvement of at least 3 hours per week or 45 hours per semester, which must be completed within a single organization. Service activities cannot be paid positions.
Service Activities can include:
- Examples: Honors College tutor; Honors Ambassador; tutoring at campus tutoring or writing center, or office campus; serving as a teaching assistant for a course
- Examples: Shadowing a health care professional in a hospital or clinic; volunteering weekly in a local community center; staffing the UIC InTouch Crisis Hotline to provide crisis intervention and referrals; attending a week-long trip with Alternative Spring Break;
- Student Organization or Student Publication Leadership
- Examples: Being on the editorial board for a student publication; executive board member of the Honors College Advisory Board or other UIC registered student organization; acting as the UIC Student Trustee
- If the service performed is related to membership in a student organization, the organization’s faculty advisor must sign off on Agreement and Completion Forms. Other students cannot serve as approvers of Honors Activity credit.
Students are required to complete two reflection documents by the following deadlines (in addition to regular Honors College Agreement Form and Completion Form requirements and deadlines):
- Service Learning Goals Form – Must be submitted by 5pm on the Friday of Week 7
- Service Learning Goals Assessment Form – Must be submitted by 5pm on the last Friday of the semester (Week 15)
The above forms are shared with students via email who have submitted or drafted Service Activity forms in HARS.
1 Honors Unit per term abroad; students do not need to complete an additional Honors Activity while abroad.
In order to receive an Honors Unit for study abroad, students are required to complete three assignments in Blackboard (in addition to regular Honors College Agreement Form and Completion Form requirements and deadlines). Information about these requirements is shared in the HON 222 Blackboard specific to Study Abroad students each semester.