Find Courses and Seminars


If you are an honors freshman or sophomore, you are expected to enroll in at least one stand-alone course each semester. If you are an honors junior or senior, we encourage you to enroll in stand-alone courses. You must complete one honors seminar outside your major to satisfy the requirements for Upper Division Honors or Full University Honors.

Unless noted in the schedule book, no permit number is needed to enroll in an Honors course. Before registering for courses, you are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with an honors adviser

General Education

100-200 level, limited to 20-25 students per class, that can satisfy general education (PLUS course) requirements.

Mini Sections

A select number of seats for University Honors Program students within a larger regular section of a course. University Honors Program students enrolled in a mini section will be asked to complete course requirements that are qualitatively different than what is required of students who are regularly enrolled.

Fall 2018 Honors Seminars

300-400 level, limited to 15-20 students per class, satisfies upper division requirements, no prerequisites needed.

Enroll in an Honors Seminar for fall 2018! Registration is available in MyNIU.

Introduction to formative and summative methods used for evaluating various programs and initiatives. Fundamentals of the evaluation process include involving stakeholders; conducting a needs assessment; developing goals and indicators; designing evaluation frameworks; collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; and reporting evaluation findings.

Taught by Professor Todd Reeves

Tuesdays
1-3:40p.m.

This discussion and film-centered course surveys a broad range of educational and political controversies that are national and global in scope. A sampling of the topics that we will investigate, include:

  • how education can be used as an instrument of democracy and human flourishing as well as an instrument of discipline and control
  • the 2018 congressional elections and the contested status of the Trump presidency
  • the evolution of social movements for change (women's, African-American, LGBTQ and native American)
  • school shootings and gun law debates
  • student debt and possible remedies
  • the ecological crisis and education
  • interpreting the 1960s and the Vietnam war through the "lens" of Ken Burns' highly acclaimed documentary series, The Vietnam War
  • critical analyses of America's permanent war society
  • examination of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Taught by Kerry Burch

Thursdays
2-4:40 p.m.

This course will survey emerging technologies and tools that are transforming our society and schools, as well as the implications these changes have for learning. There will be an emphasis on the skills and knowledge students need to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital world.

Taught by Professor Jason Rhode

This seminar is online

This course looks at how people around the world have viewed madness and mental health. It will to cover the following:

  • Ancient Greeks
  • The Middle Ages
  • Revolution in psychiatry in Victorian England
  • Rise of the French school of psychiatry through Philippe Pinel
  • American psychiatry and slavery
  • Invention of hysteria
  • Specific treatments (electroshock therapy, cold baths) for perceived insanity
  • Move away from asylums to hospitals world-wide
  • How different cultures can perceive mental imbalance in different ways
    • for example, some cultures believe that "madness" is actually caused by ancestral spirits being displeased

Our primary source documents will range from Plato to Egyptian papyrus to Durer's Melencolia to advertisements for Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water at the end of the nineteenth century to Freud. We will also look at the pharmacology of madness. Do drugs really suppress the demons in one's psyche?

Taught by Professor Trude Jacobsen

Tuesdays
6-8:40 p.m.

Torture is illegal under international law, yet it is practiced throughout the world, even in democratic countries. This course examines torture from the standpoint of history, sociology, psychology and political science, from the ancient Greeks to Abu Ghraib. We will learn why governments torture, how individuals become torturers and how to prevent torture from happening.

Taught by Professor Chris Einolf

Tuesdays and Thursdays
11 a.m. -12:15 p.m.

You have probably heard the phrase "it's all mental" from a coach, parent or teammate, but how much of sport and exercise is mental? While this question remains in doubt, there are strategies in mental training that can enhance performance, regardless of setting. Through your immersion in class content, you will find that you probably know most of the concepts we will discuss; however, this class will show you why you know them and further your ability to apply knowledge gained in your specific area of interest.

Taught by Professor Todd Gilson

Mondays
6-8:40 p.m.

We all know that politics is a numbers game. Are you prepared to play? In this new class we will learn introductory statistical concepts and focus them on the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. What variables are most important for election success? How sure are you that Candidate X is going to win that House seat? What does that graph really say about the elections most important to you? Utilize the science of data and put the pundits and prognosticators to the test.

Taught by Joel Gimbel

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
2-2:50 p.m.

This undergraduate honors seminar provides an examination of mass political behavior in the United States, with an emphasis on traditional forms of political participation such as voting, protesting, campaign contributions and contacting elected officials. We will also consider the impact of technology and online political participation. In addition, we will discuss mass political behavior more broadly, including the role of political socialization and public opinion.

The goal is to survey what the best and most visible scholarship in the field has to say about why the American electorate behaves as it does.

Taught by Professor April K. Clark

Mondays and Wednesdays
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

In-course Contract

An in-course contract is an individualized project undertaken in a particular class to allow the class to fulfill honors requirements. To begin the process of completing an in-course contract, you will need to either make an appointment with an adviser or attend an in-course contract workshop. This requirement is designed to prepare you for the expectations of an in-course contract experience as a student in the University Honors Program by providing examples and a rubric used for evaluation, as well as give you the opportunity to ask questions. At any time, you can learn more about the process by reviewing the overview and synopsis form (to be submitted with a completed application page). Go to go.niu.edu/honorsicc to complete and submit your in-course contract proposal. Completed in-course contract proposals must be submitted no later than the Sunday after week #2 of the academic semester in which the class is being undertaken. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Capstone

An in-course contract is an individualized project undertaken in a particular class to allow the class to fulfill honors requirements. To begin the process of completing an in-course contract, you will need to either make an appointment with an adviser or attend a capstone workshop. This requirement is designed to prepare you for the expectations of a capstone experience as a student in the University Honors Program, as well as give you the opportunity to ask questions. Completed capstone proposals are due to the University Honors Program no later than the second Friday of the academic semester in which the capstone is being undertaken.