Honors College Curriculum (Catalog Year 2019-20 and Later)

Starting in their first semesters on campus, Honors College students are challenged to identify, articulate, and evaluate multiple perspectives on questions of cultural, scientific, or global significance and to consider evidence that broadens their understanding and challenges their beliefs. 

The Honors College inquiry-driven curriculum provides exceptionally motivated students with an alternative to the Mason Core and allows students increased opportunities to pursue minors and other individual interests such as extended research. Students may also take honors sections of selected major courses as well as upper division courses offered by the Honors College. Beyond the Honors College requirements, students must satisfy all requirements of their college and major and Mason undergraduate program requirements for admissions, residency, credit hours, quality, and upper level credits.

In order to graduate from the Honors College, students must take a minimum of 12 credits of HNRS courses from the Honors College while at Mason. Most students will require more credits than this to complete all Honors College requirements: students must complete the Foundations, Inquiry in the Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, Civic Engagement and Multi-Disciplinary Challenges requirements. 

Creating a diagram on the white board

The Honors College has a condensed curriculum so students have time to pursue additional academic interests.


Introduction to Inquiry and Research: Honors students are introduced to methods for formulating, articulating, pursuing, and communicating research questions and the subsequent findings. Must take one of the following during their first semester as an Honors College student:

  • HNRS 110         Principles of Research and Inquiry (3 credits)
  • HNRS 111         Honors College Colloquium (1 credit)


  • HNRS 302         Principles of Research and Inquiry for Transfer Students (3 credits)

Inquiry in the Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

Students will pursue answers to focused questions in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Specific topics will vary by semester and section.  (12 credits)

  • Arts: HNRS 122 Reading the Arts (3 credits)
  • Humanities: HNRS 130 Identity, Community, and Difference (3 credits)
  • Social/Behavioral science: HNRS 131 Contemporary Social Issues (3 credits)
  • History: HNRS 240 Reading the Past (3 credits)

Civic Engagement

Students will explore their roles and responsibilities in society and/or identify and address issues of public or community concern. Specific topics will vary by semester and section (3 credits).

  • HNRS 260 Society and Community Engagement (3 credits)


  • HNRS 261 Community Connection Practicum (3 credits)

Multi-Disciplinary Challenges

Students will address complex challenges through scholarly research (HNRS 360) or experiential learning (HNRS 361). Specific topics will vary by semester and section. (3 credits) 

  • HNRS 360 Multi-Disciplinary Topics (3 credits)


  • HNRS 361 Multi-Disciplinary Practicum (3 credits)

Quantitative Reasoning

Honors students must take at least one approved Quantitative Reasoning course. The Honors College quantitative reasoning requirement mirrors the quantitative reasoning requirement of the student’s college and major. Students whose college and major do not have a quantitative reasoning or mathematics requirement must take one of the following courses:

  • HNRT 125 Applied Quantitative Reasoning (previously known as "A Liberal Arts Approach to Calculus")
  • HNRT 225 Applied Calculus
  • MATH 108 Introductory Calculus with Business Applications
  • MATH 110 Introductory Probability
  •  MATH 111 Linear Mathematical Modeling
  • MATH 113 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
  • MATH 115 Honors Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
  • MATH 124 Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B
  • MATH 125 Discrete Math I
  • STAT 250 Introductory Statistics I
  • SOCI 313 Statistics for Behavioral Sciences ​


The Honors College science requirement mirrors the science requirement of a student's college and major.

Honors College Electives

Students are encouraged to explore fields in more depth through departmental approved honors courses. 

  • BUS 100H Honors Business and Society 
  • BUS 200H Honors Global Environment of Business 
  • ECON 103H Honors Contemporary Microeconomic Principles
  • ENGR 107H Honors Introduction to Engineering 
  • CS 211H Honors Object-Oriented Programming 
  • BIOL 213H Honors Cell Structure and Function         
  • BIOL 214H  Honors Biostatistics for Biology Majors     
  • BIOL 308H Honors Foundations of Ecology and Evolution      
  • BIOL 310H Honors Biodiversity       
  • BIOL 311H Honors General Genetics 
  • BIOL 493H Honors Research in Biology
  • CHEM 211H Honors General Chemistry I       
  • CHEM 212H Honors General Chemistry II 
  • CHEM 213H Honors General Chemistry Lab I 
  • CHEM 214H Honors General Chemistry Lab II
  • CLIM 101H Honors Global Warming: Weather, Climate, and Society
  • CLIM 102H Honors Introduction to Global Climate Change Science           
  • GLOA 101H Honors Introduction to Global Affairs
  • HHS 491 Foundations of Clinical Research
  • HHS 492 RS: Internship in Clinical Research
  • HNRS 300 Advanced Study Abroad
  • MATH 116 Honors Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
  • MATH 125H Honors Discrete Math 
  • MATH 215 Honors Analytic Geometry and Calculus III 
  • PHYS 160 Honors University Physics I 
  • PHYS 260 Honors University Physics II 
  • STAT 250  Honors Introductory Statistics I 
  • STAT 350 Honors Introductory Statistics II