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.

Spring 2020 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 spring 2020! Registration is available in MyNIU.

Creativity is inscribed on our DNA. In this course, we'll explore how it may have unfolded and how it permeates all we do, and you'll learn how you may unleash your creativity, no matter where your career or life path takes you. Evolution of Art traces the origins and the development of art making arising from human biological processes, and social interactions; surveys the intellectual evolution of aesthetic philosophy from Aristotle through the present day.

Taught by Paul Kassel, Ph.D., dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts

This course surveys the history the Spanish Inquisition from its fifteenth-century anti-Semitic origins through the demise of the institution in the early nineteenth century. The course examines how the Inquisition contributed to Spanish legal thought and systems of governance and helped condition social stratification, mass migration, and religious persecution and repression under the newly unified Catholic Kingdoms and their early modern colonies in America.

Taught by Kristin Huffine, Ph.D., professor in the Department of History

This seminar investigates some of the most controversial problems and questions facing American society, issues that are seldom if ever treated within most classrooms. Dr. Burch will look at how youth have mobilized across the globe with respect to movements such as climate change, Black Lives Matter and Me Too.

Taught by Kerry Burch, Ph.D., professor in the College of Education.

Wars are always controversial, and their justice and injustice are hotly debated. Is aggression ever justified? How can we conceive the rules of engagement? In this course, you will engage with philosophical tracts and discuss wars –ancient and modern – all with a view to developing your ability to form meaningful judgments about the relationship between morality and war.

Taught by Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Political Science and 2019 Honors Great Professor award winner.

This course will address the big picture. Along the way we shall cover interesting topics in physics including special and general relativity, dark matter and dark energy, quantum mechanics, nuclear and particle physics, and biophysics. We will cover exotic topics including black holes, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, cosmic radiation and its potential effects on life, pulsars, as well as the origin - and fate - of our universe.

Taught by Jim Welsh, Ph.D., professor and director of Clinical & Translational Research at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and Chief of Radiation Oncology at the Hines VA Hospital.

This course examines sociocultural foundations of education from comparative perspectives. Field-based evidence from Western and non-Western societies is used to examine the educational goals and practices across cultures and nations.

Taught by Hide Shimizu, Ph.D., professor in the College of Education. He studies the relationships between culture, individual experience and behavior, and how these processes are acquired and manifested in both informal and formal educational settings.

In the United States and across the globe, individuals and organizations look to sport as a tool to teach positive values and life skills. Just look to policy statements of the International Olympic Committee, UNICEF, UNESCO, YMCA, Active Schools USA, and the Laureus Foundation. In addition to fostering individual success, there is growing interest in using sport as a lever for social change, i.e. to promote peace and community development. In this course, you will explore this issue in detail. You will examine the potential of sport to support both positive youth development and social change.

Taught by Paul Wright, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Fulbright Scholar and Presidential Engagement Professor.

The World Health Organization recommends interprofessional education. Learn about, from, and with each other through readings, discussion, and group projects to learn about different professions and develop your skills with collaboration. In this class, you will participate in interactive learning with other disciplines to prepare you for “deliberatively working together” to improve community and population health care systems.

Melani Duffrin, Ph.D., is a Registered Dietitian and professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions at Northern Illinois University and principal investigator of the FoodMASTER Initiative.

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 to complete and submit your in-course contract proposal. Completed in-course contract proposals must be submitted no later than the Sunday after week two of the academic semester in which the class is being undertaken. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.


The University Honors Senior Capstone is the final experience for students graduating with Full University Honors. This project involves working one-on-one with a qualified faculty member in your area of interest to produce an excellent academic project, the outcome of which matches the expected work from a regular three-credit University Honors course. 

The semester before completing your capstone project, you must make an appointment with an advisor or attend a capstone workshop. The workshop will inform you about the capstone experience and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Go to to complete and submit your Honors Senior Capstone Proposal. Completed capstone proposals must be submitted no later than the Sunday after week two of the academic semester in which the capstone is being undertaken. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.