Portland-State-University 2022-2023 Bulletin

Honors Curriculum

First Year: Foundations (15 credits)

The Global City: Hon 101, Hon 102, Hon 103 (15 credits)

This year-long sequence serves as a foundations course and provides the basic intellectual framework for the social, cultural, political, and material study of the urban environment. "The Global City" introduces the means to think critically about the urban environment and the interdependence between the city and the global world. The sequence fulfills the university's lower division writing requirement, and meets the requirement for Wr 121.

Over the course of three terms, this course focuses on developing and refining student understanding and practice of the three writing tools dealt with throughout the Honors curriculum: summary of argument, explication, and placement in relation to a discourse community, as part of the preparation for writing the undergraduate thesis.

While each section of the course will have different material, the writing tools studied throughout the year are the same from section to section. "The Global City" sequence is taken in a cohort model, with students remaining with the same peers and faculty throughout the academic year. Class size is limited to 24.

Second Year: Research Methods (12 credits)

Research Methods: Hon 201, Hon 202, Hon 203 (12 credits)

The three connected courses of the sophomore year take the urban as an appropriately dynamic subject for research shaped by the three “domains” of academic knowledge: the social sciences, the humanities, and the natural sciences. Students progress through an integrated set of research projects that develop not only their understanding of the systems by which cities operate but also their own critical capacities as urban residents and knowledge producers. Class size limited to 24.

Hon 201: Urban Social Sciences
This course examines urban structures and processes through a combination of social science methodologies including, but not limited to, spatial analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods and archival research. Field drawn upon may include sociology, anthropology, geography, and other social sciences. Students will explore and practice these skills by conducting original research in the Portland area.

Hon 202: Urban Humanities
This course examines the city as text, using humanities methodologies that produce closes analysis of cultural artifacts and texts placed in cultural and historic contexts. Disciplinary approaches may include History, Languages and Literatures, Art History, Film Studies, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and others.

Hon 203: Urban Ecology
Utilizing Portland as a living laboratory, this course introduces methodologies in the natural sciences. We explore foundations of experimental design while also sharpening observational skills and awareness of physical and ecological patterns and processes in the city. Different focus areas depend upon seasonal activity and include a range of topics such as stream ecology, plant science, and ornithology.

Third Year: "Let Knowledge Serve the City" (12 credits)

Honors Writing for Transfer Students: Hon 360 (4 credits - counts towards 12-credit third-year HON requirement)

This 4-credit course is the required entry point for transfer students entering Honors College at the junior level. Hon 360 introduces transfer students to ways of thinking about the urban experience, introduces and develops the basic writing and research tools necessary for upper-level seminar work in Honors and for the senior thesis, and provides working examples of disciplinary scholarship.  This is an approved Writing Intensive Course (WIC); it fulfills the university's second writing requirement. Class size limited to 24. 

Honors Junior Seminars: Hon 407 (minimum 4 credits - maximum 12 credits)

At least one 4-credit Hon 407 Junior Seminar is required; additional seminars are encouraged. Students choose from among a wide variety of interdisciplinary seminars, taught by Honors and departmental faculty, broadly focused around key methodological and interdisciplinary questions. Seminar classes challenge Honors students to think creatively and analytically as well as rehearse the essential research and writing skills necessary for the production of a senior thesis. Class size limited to 20.

Honors Abroad: Hon 407 (4 credits - 8 credits)

The Honors College offers faculty-led global Hon 407 seminars for Honors students every year. Past trips have investigated cultural and ecological sustainability in Borneo, studied sustainable development in the highlands of Nicaragua, explored global cities in Vietnam, and examined the history of plague and pestilence in London. These courses fulfill the Hon 407 Junior Seminar requirement.

Internships: Hon 404 (4 credits - 8 credits)

Students have the opportunity to gain experience, apply their academic learning, and make connections through approved cooperative education/internships. During their internship, students must enroll in and complete the online Hon 404: Internship module on D2L. Honors students have in the past interned at OHSU, the U.S. Attorney's office, Portlandia, the National Institutes for Health, the Portland Art Museum, Mercy Corps, the Beaverton City Library, Willamette Week, and the Smithsonian, among many other organizations.

Research: Hon 401 (4 credits - 8 credits)

Students are encouraged to join ongoing research projects, conduct independent research, and develop creative projects under the supervision and mentorship of faculty.

Fourth Year: Undergraduate Thesis (8 credits)

Hon 403 Thesis: Prospectus (4 credits)

Hon 403 Thesis: Continuation (4 credits)

Honors students are required to complete a thesis in their major field during their final undergraduate year. Students first take the 4-credit Hon 403 Thesis: Prospectus seminar, in which they identify their advisor and write their thesis prospectus.  Upon successful completion of the Prospectus course, the student enrolls in one or more Hon 403 Thesis: Continuation sections, in which they complete their thesis.  Finally, the student presents the thesis at the Honors Thesis Symposium. Honors theses are published online through the PSU Library database PDX.Scholar, and are also available in the Undergraduate Research Commons, showcasing undergraduate research from universities nationwide.

Hon 403 Thesis: Prospectus is an approved Writing Intensive Course (WIC). It fulfills the university's second writing requirement.