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Undergraduate Program

Honors Arts and Letters—Concentration in Western Civilization


Working with the faculty of the Honors College the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization helped develop a new concentration in Western Civilization within the Honors Arts and Letters (HAL) degree program. Honors students have the possibility to opt for this program starting at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Mariners require accurate maps and a compass, surgeons a thorough grasp of anatomy, chemists an understanding of molecular structure. In the same way a truly educated person, to say nothing of an effective citizen, needs to gain an accurate set of bearings on the world as a whole. There is no better way of doing so than the study of Western Civilization.

Why? Because like nothing else Western Civilization has transformed the world in which we live. As a result we are today part of a global community, in some sense—as it’s often said—citizens of the entire world. But what ties this world together?

What then is the Western world today? Not by any means just Europe and the Americas. To a very significant extent it now embraces people everywhere, who despite their cultural variety move humankind forward as scientists in labs, engineers at construction sites, workers in factories, physicians in hospitals, directors in board rooms, citizens in voting booths, teachers in classrooms, even fans at concerts. These are the places where the world’s future is being defined, and they all embody institutions and values which received their modern form and operation from the West.

The Honors College now offers its students, as part of the Honors Arts and Letters (HAL) major, a special opportunity to study the world changing cultural phenomenon that is Western Civilization. Students completing the HAL track in Western Civilization will survey Western history from Judea and Ancient Greece to its contemporary intercontinental spread, read some of the greatest Western classics of literature and philosophy, examine the peak achievements of European art, develop a competence in a foreign language, and choose from a carefully selected list of five additional courses delving into more specialized topics of major importance in Western history, literature, philosophy, art, and politics. While doing so they will also have an opportunity to learn of the ways in which other civilizations have influenced and been influenced by Western developments. In addition, HAL students are required to complete a senior thesis, thus allowing them to graduate with Highest Honors. Completion of the track is noted on the student’s transcript as a “Concentration in Western Civilization.”

This is a course of study designed to offer both high challenge and reward. Students undertaking it will gain a solid sense of the world in which they live, where it came from and where it may be going; a rich appreciation of some of the world’s greatest intellectual and cultural achievements; a frame of reference that will stand them in good stead in any field or walk of life that they may choose to enter; and an unimpeachable testament to their own elevated level of cultural literacy and academic mastery.


Program Requirements

The Western Civilization concentration requires that students complete a two-course sequence in Western history; a two-course sequence in U.S. history, a two-course sequence in the Great Books of the Western world; a course in European Fine Arts; four courses in a foreign language; a two-semester integrated science sequence; a philosophy course in ethics, a philosophy or mathematics course in logic, and four additional Western civilization courses largely drawn from history, classics, literature, philosophy, and art. It will thus give those who take it a a rare educational opportunity—encountering the legacy of Western civilization in both substantive depth and integrated breadth.


Suggested Course Progression

First Year—First Semester

HIST 1300—Western Civilization I  * M
POLS 1301—American Government, Organization CC
ENGL 1301—Essentials of College Rhetoric CC / ENGL 2391—Introduction to Critical Writing M F
Foreign Language 15-- M
Total: 14 Hours

First Year—Second Semester

HIST 1301—Western Civilization II M
POLS 2302—American Public Policy * CC F
COMS 2300 * or Equivalent CC
ENGL 1302—Advanced College Rhetoric CC / ENGL2391—Introduction to Critical Writing M F
Foreign Language 15-- M
Total: 17 Hours

Second Year—First Semester

HUM 2301—Western Intellectual Tradition I * M
HIST 2300—History of the United States to 1877 * CC F 
HONS 2406—Honors Integrated Science II * CC F or Equivalent
ENGL 2391—Introduction to Critical Writing * M F
Foreign Language 2301 M
Total: 16 Hours

Second Year—Second Semester

HUM 2302—Western Intellectual Tradition II * M
HIST 2301—History of the United States Since 1877 * CC F 
HONS 2405—Honors Integrated Science I * CC or Equivalent
Track Course 1 M
Foreign Language 2302 M
Total: 16 Hours

Third Year—First Semester

MATH 2300—Statistical Methods or Other Math CC
ECO 2305—Principles of Economics or Equivalent CC
HONS 3305—European Fine Arts * M
Track Course 2 M
Foreign Language 33-- M
Total: 15 Hours

Third Year—Second Semester

Study Abroad Semester M
Courses taken abroad may be foreign language / culture / literature, or elective courses. Students who do not study abroad must complete the university multicultural requirement through alternate eligible university courses.
Total: 15 Hours

Fourth Year—First Semester

PHIL 2310—Logic or Other Math CC
Track Course 3 M
Track Course 4 M
Visual and Performing Arts Course CC V
HONS 3300—Individual Honors Research M
Total: 15 Hours

Fourth Year—Second Semester

Upper-Level Course * M
Track Course 5 M
PHIL 2320—Introduction to Ethics M F
HONS 4300—Individual Honors Research M
Submission of HAL Thesis
Total: 12 Hours

*     Course offered regularly in an Honors section
CC  Course is required for university core curriculum credit
F     Course offered regularly as an Honors FYE
M    Course is required for HAL Major
V     Recommended courses: ARTH 1301, 2302, or MUHL 1308

Possible Track Courses

The courses listed below are only a guide. Track classes prepare the HAL student for the thesis project and should be chosen in consultation with the HAL advisor. Courses that deviate from those listed are encouraged when following a thesis topic but must receive advisor approval PRIOR to enrollment.

CLAS 3302
ENGL 3335
ENGL 3336
ENGL 3337
ENGL 3383
ENGL 3385
HIST 3301
HIST 3302
HIST 3329
HIST 3341
HIST 3344
HIST 3360
HIST 3361
HIST 4348
HIST 4349
HIST 4353
HIST 4375
HONS 3301
PHIL 3301
PHIL 3303
PHIL 3320
POLS 3373

Classical Mythology
Ancient and Medieval World Literature
Early Modern World Literature
Modern and Contemporary World Literature
Bible as Literature
Selected Plays of Shakespeare
Ancient Civilization I
Ancient Civilization II
Development of Modern Science
Women in European Civilization
History of Christianity
The British Isles to 1688
British Politics, Society, and Culture Since 1688
The Renaissance
The Protestant Reformation
The French Revolution and Napoleon
Social and Cultural History of Europe, 1800 to the Present
Honors Seminar in Humanities: "From My Cold Dead Hands:" Shakespeare's Violent Men
Classical Greek Philosophy
Modern European Philosophy
Introduction to Political Philosophy
Governments of Western Europe