Program Requirements

honors seminar

Honors students take 45 units of Honors courses (36 lower division and 9 upper division). Exceptions are permitted with permission of the Director.  15 units per semester are required to graduate in four years. Honors students must take at least 12 units per semester. In their freshman and sophomore years, Honors students take approximately three Honors courses (9 units) per semester. The remaining units used to fill out their schedules consist of courses for their major and other General Education courses. 

The core of the curriculum will be a three-semester Honors seminar (HONORS 1, 2, and 3) in which students read some of the great books of world civilizations, consider some of the big issues raised by world thinkers and writers, and improve their skills in critical thinking and writing.   

The Honors courses fulfill almost all Sac State General Education requirements for graduation. GE courses that students take in addition to their Honors courses are English 5 and a physical science course with a lab required by the California State Education Code. Students must also fulfill a university graduation requirement in foreign language.

Honors students are assigned a faculty advisor upon arrival at Sacramento State. They must consult with their advisors at least once a semester before registering for their courses.

The courses taken by Honors students consist of the following:



HONORS 1: Education, Self-Examination, and Living
Introduction to comparative ideas of education and self-development. Examines writings on education, autobiographical accounts, and short stories to explore concepts of teaching, learning, human growth and development, and the role of the school and university in writings from around the world.

HISTORY 50H: Honors World Civilizations I: to 1600
Discussion seminar and intensive study of the major world civilizations to 1600. Emphasis on analytic discourse on primary sources. Covers the classical and medieval traditions of the West as well as at least two major non-western cultures.

MATHEMATICS 15H: Honors Mathematical Reasoning
An introduction to the composition and interpretation of mathematical ideas and to the mathematical reasoning necessary to derive results in a variety of mathematical topics. Emphasis on developing concepts and analyzing results.

HISTORY 15H: Major Problems in U.S. History (May be taken in another semester)
Using primary texts, students explore a variety of issues in American history from the colonial period to the end of the twentieth century. Subjects may include reform movements, immigration, racial problems, religion, politics and the role of women.  


HISTORY 51H: Honors World Civilization II: 1600 to the Present
Discussion seminar and intensive study of the major world civilizations since about 1600. Course focuses on a critical examination of the long process of globalization. Stresses the dual forces of integration and fragmentation that have shaped global history over the past 500 years.

Provides both theoretical and practical training in the art of public discourse. Students learn both to recognize and to demonstrate the strategic processes of organizing and delivering speeches, especially within the context of global citizenship issues. Students are also introduced to the basic idea of forming reasonable challenges to speech in the public square.

EDUCATION 10H: Critical Thinking and the Educated Person
This introductory course will examine thinking processes, including personal dispositions, discourse patterns and logical analysis. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with critical thinking and to provide a systematic approach for analyzing its process and components. Students will learn about problem solving, decision-making, logical and creative thinking, as well as the components that comprise and influence these outputs. Students will evaluate authenticity of primary and secondary sources. The study of critical thinking will be supplemented with readings and discussions. Assignments will deal not only with elements of critical thinking, but also with their application in both our personal and academic lives.


HONORS 2: Great Books in History I: to the End of the Middle Ages
Students read, discuss, and explore some of the most influential works of literature, philosophy, history, and religion from cultures around the world prior to the 15th century. Students will gain knowledge of different cultural traditions, explore ways to criticize and to learn from different genres of literature, examine their own concepts and ideas, and practice skills of critical thinking in dialogue with challenging works. Readings will be drawn from a broad array of sources, including Greek, Chinese, and Indian traditions, different religious faiths, and works of literature representing a variety of outlooks and views. 

Prerequisite: HONR 1 and instructor permission.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 10H: Environmental Science
Course looks at the earth as an ecosystem composed of biological, chemical and physical systems. The focus is on the interaction of systems with each other and with human population, technology, and production. Students acquire a scientific understanding of the ecological implications on human activities. Topics include energy flows, nutrient cycles, pollution, resource use, climate chage, and population dynamics. Students read original research on topics and undertake a project applying the principles of the course to a real environmental issue.

ANTHROPOLOGY 2H: Honors Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to anthropological approaches in the study of people and cultures. Using ethnographic case studies, contributes to a critical understanding of the continuity and diversity in peoples' lifestyles, social institutions, and cultural practices in different societies around the world. Examines the impact of political, economic, and social changes, such as colonization, decolonization, globalization, etc., on people and cultures over the last century.

GEOG 2H: Honors Cultural Geography
Consideration of the diversity of patterns of land use, settlement and movement established and evolved by humans as a result of the interaction of cultural and physical factors; emphasis on student use of maps and other tools of geographic presentation of analyzing the nature, variation and distribution of culutral features of the earth's surface.


HONORS 3: Great Books in History II: from the Renaissance to the Present
Students read, discuss, and explore some of the most influential works of literature, philosophy, history, and religion from cultures around the world from the 16th century to the present. Students will gain knowledge of different cultural traditions, explore ways to criticize and to learn from different genres of literature, examine their own concepts and ideas, and practice skills of critical thinking in dialogue with challenging works. Readings will be drawn from a broad array of sources. Prerequisite: HONR 2 and instructor permission. This course also covers for second semester English Compisition requirements. 

GOVERNMENT 1H: Honors Introduction to Government
This course will acquaint the students with both the abstract design and a portrait of the actual workings of politics, examining how the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary work together and against each other in order to create laws and policy, as well as the bureaucracy that grows up around them and the social world of parties, interest groups and public opinion in which they function. We will examine the foundation of the United States Government, how it has changed under the different Congresses, Presidencies, and Judiciaries it has seen, and its modern form. We will examine how it was meant to function and if its design still suits us in modern times; the relationship of the individual and the government; and the social changes that America has gone through. We will focus upon the role of the government, the rights of citizens, and the views of politics that have been important in this country.

This course introduces the diverse institutional, cultural, and historical issues relating to the past and present life circumstances of Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, Black Americans, and Native Americans.  This course will introduce students to information presented in advanced upper division courses in ethnic studies.


Honors students take three specially designed Honors courses to fulfill their upper division requirement in General Education.  Students must complete HONR 101 and 102 before taking HONR 103. 

HONR 101:Science and the Public Good 
This course examines how scientists employ information derived through the scientific method and statistical analysis to form conclusions. The methodology of science is applied to public policy debates relating to eliminate change, the use of DNA, creationist/evolutionist issues, water conservation, land use zoning, energy, mineral resources, and other topics.

HONR 102: Pursuing the Public Good Through Film 
The “Public Good” will be discussed via film. Along with examining basic human and technical issues, this course will investigate cinema as a medium in its own right. Film as an artistic, aesthetic and social phenomenon will be considered. The course will cover the major elements and techniques of cinema (mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound), and the process of visual perception that affects the audience. It will also introduce various forms of critical analysis. Offered Fall and Spring semesters. Only in the Spring semester. 

*This course is classified as Writing Intensive. Students are required to write not less than 5,000 words (20 typed, double-spaced pages) of clear and logical prose.

HONR 103: Civic Engagement, Service Learning: Pursuing the Public Good 
This class requires the student to be an active participant in his/her own learning process through a service learning experience and participation in a corresponding seminar. Students are offered a reciprocal opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop skills while providing service and assistance to the community. Students will have the opportunity to assess the circumstances of an organization and provide feedback on their situation. The student will evaluate and assess his/her service learning from three perspectives: the physical universe and its life forms, social issues and social science research, and the arts.