Challenging. Stimulating. Engaging.

A hallmark of the Smittcamp Family Honors College is its innovative and challenging curriculum. Courses are selected from among proposals submitted by members of the university’s distinguished faculty. Our goal is to always be at the cutting edge of learning, innovation and exhilarating investigation. Therefore, our courses are not only discipline based but are also cross disciplinary—by design.

At the Smittcamp Family Honors College, being at the front of the class means being at the front of the world of learning.

Political Science 71H RiverTree Volunteers Video

Honors Coursework
General Education (small classes-25 students usually)

  • Lower Division:

    2 Honors GE courses each semester for the first two years, for a total of 8 Honors lower division GE courses
  • Upper-Division:

    3 Honors GE courses satisfy all upper-division GE requirements

Other Special Courses

  • Honors Colloquium  (Town Hall format with guest speakers):
    4 in first two years, 1 in subsequent semester
  • Honors 180 Special Project:
    Research Opportunities in one’s major

HONOR 1 – Honors Colloquium (1; max total 6 units)

Colloquium for students in the Smittcamp Family Honors College. Overview of the university. Presentation and discussion of current topics. Special presentations by faculty, campus guests, and senior honors project students.

HONOR 101 – Emerging Voices after Colonialism: Revolution in Theory, Revolution in Practice (4 units)

Explores the field of postcolonial studies. Critical analysis of the dialectic between Western imperialism and resistance to colonialism in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Readings will include primary sources, essays of criticism and theory, and literature from formerly colonized nations.

HONOR 102 – Revolutions in Natural and Social Sciences (4 units)

Examines fundamental changes in natural and social sciences. Focuses on major shifts of theory and methodology in the natural sciences and addresses comparable changes in the social sciences. Comparison of these “revolutions” and their implications for the sciences as a whole.

HONOR 103 – Ecological Social Effects (4 units)

Explores the interactions of human affairs with their environments through the integration of the natural and social sciences. Examines issues affected by the intrinsic relationships between humans, the environments they evolved in, and their relationships with the modern world.

HONOR 180 – Special Projects in Honors. (1-3; max total 9 units)

Individual projects in the Smittcamp Family Honors College. Projects related to Honors College courses; for example, internships, research papers, community service projects, new classroom approaches, and learning communities.

HISTORY 15H – Trials of the Century (3 units)

Studies celebrated legal trials from 1896 to 2000 as windows for understanding their larger historic context. Cases address issues such as racial discrimination, freedom of speech and religion, reproductive rights, consumer protection, war crimes, treason and capital punishment.

POLITICAL SCIENCE 2H – American Government and Institutions (3 units)

Meets the United States Constitution requirement and the federal, California state, and local government requirement. Development and operation of government in the United States; study of how ideas, institutions, laws and people have constructed and maintained a political order in America.

POLITICAL SCIENCE 71H – Introduction to Environmental Politics (3 units)

Introduction to study of environmental politics and policy making in the United States; a brief history of environmentalism; basic principles in environmental policy making, including policy making for interest groups, legislatures, and levels of government; and selection of current topics in environmental issues.

BIOLOGY 10H – Life Science (3 units)

Shows how living things work and why they work that way. Discusses biology from chemical and physical foundations through ecological and evolutionary processes. Examines biology and its relationship to human affairs.

CHEMISTRY 10H – Chemistry and Society (4 units)

Discusses significance of chemical principles in contemporary society; benefits and hazards relative to areas such as energy, health, diet, environment and agriculture.

MATH 45H – Exploring Mathematics (3 units)

Covers topics from the following areas: (1) The Mathematics of Social Choice, (2) Management Science and Optimization, (3) The Mathematics of Growth and Symmetry, and (4) Statistics and Probability.

NATURAL SCIENCES 4H – Science and Nonsense: Critical Thinking and the Philosophy of Science (3 units)

Shows the use of language, rational inquiry, and logic in science, distinguishing science fact from science fiction. Inductive and deductive methods, judgment, opinion, origins of knowledge, belief and actions. A critical examination of contemporary pseudoscientific issues (creation science, UFOs, astrology, etc.)

EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES 8H – Natural Disasters and Earth Resources (4 units)

Processes and materials that produce the different geologic resources and hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, landslides.) Plate tectonic theory (including continental drift) as the unifying model to explain geologic phenomena. Emphasizes the relationship between geology and humans.

PSYCHOLOGY 62H – Introduction to Social and Cultural Psychology (3 units)

Interaction between social environments and behavior with an emphasis on culture and cultural differences. Includes topics such as social influence and beliefs, conformity, the self, attitude change, group influence, prejudice and racism, aggression, attraction and intimacy, altruism and helping.

COMMUNICATION 6H – Rhetoric for Autonomy and Collaboration in the Marketplace of Ideas (3 units)

Explores invitational rhetoric and its civic function in contemporary public discourse; experience designed to enhance fundamental communication skills – research, organization, reasoning, empathic listening and problem-solving – through series of oral presentations.

DRAMA 75H – Theatre in Contemporary American Culture (3 units)

Introduction to the practice and scholarship of American theatre today. Application of critical methodology for four areas of theatrical production (1) theatre architecture, (2) acting, (3) directing, and (4) design. Attendance at two to three theatre performances is required.

ENGLISH 10H – Honors Accelerated Academic Literacy (3 units)

Reading and writing in academic and public genres; special attention to rhetorical decision-making and critical analysis. Guided instruction in reading and responding to texts. Participation in public and academic conversations via research in primary and secondary sources. Portfolio assessment.

ENGLISH 42H – Creative Writing (4 units)

Beginning workshop in the writing of poetry and fiction; appropriate readings and analysis.

HUMANITIES 10H – Introduction to Humanities of the Western World (3 units)

Accelerated survey of the relationships between the art, literature, and philosophy of classical antiquity, from classical Greece to the dawn of the Renaissance.

MUSIC 60H – Music in Social Context (3 units)

Exploration of various settings in which music has been an important indicator of social class and class values. Emphasis on western classical music and American jazz. Attendance at two to three performances of music required.

PHILOSOPHY 32H – Life, Death and Afterlife (3 units)

Diverse reflections (religious and philosophical) on the meaning of life, death, and afterlife. The nature of the soul (e.g. immortal/mortal); connection to body; implication of an afterlife (if any) for this life; includes Western and non-Western perspectives.

PHILOSOPHY 35H – Logic for Autonomy and Collaboration in the Marketplace of Ideas (3 units)

Explores techniques for analysis of reasoning in contexts ranging from interpersonal communication through scholarly and political discourses. Theoretical grounding for these techniques, including both central ideas from philosophy of logic and readings from classical and contemporary sources on freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and the autonomy of reason.

CHILD AND FAMILY SCIENCES 38H – Honors Life Span Development (3 units)

Basic theories, research, and principles of physical, cognitive, and psychological development from conception to death presented from the perspective of diverse families. Emphasizes reading original theoretical and empirical works by prominent developmentalists and requires a student-conducted research project.

NUTRITION 53H – Nutrition and Health: Realities and Controversies (3 units)

Optimal nutrition to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, hyperactivity, and other diseases. Social, psychological, and cultural dictates that affect food selection and health. Personal strategies to develop a nutrition plan for better health.