Honors Courses

The Liberal Arts honors courses stimulate the imagination and broaden your perspective. As a Presidential Scholar, you have the option of substituting an honors class for a required Liberal Arts course. Honors classes meet all departmental and SUNY requirements.

You can still take honors courses even if you are not accepted into the Presidential Scholars program. All you have to do is maintain a 3.5 GPA and you can substitute an honors course for a required Liberal Arts courses.

All honors courses have a maximum enrollment of 20 students.

EN 302 - Gender and Nationalism in World Fiction
Meets Gen Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities; G9 - Other World Civilization
This course explores how gender and nationalism are constructed and reflected in modern and contemporary works of world fiction from the 1900s to the present; focusing on Asia, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. It includes a basic introduction to literary criticism and theories of nationalism, sexuality and gender.

EN 304 - Writing as Activism
Prerequisite: EN 121
Meets Gen Ed. Requirement G6: Arts
This course will engage critical analysis of literature and creative nonfiction practice to understand the strategies of a diverse range of authors who use writing as a method of activism. Students will use research, creative expression and analysis through writing to consider their own position on causes relevant to them.

EN 381 - Asian Literature: Regional Selections
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G9 - Other World Civilizations; G7 - Humanities
Designed as an introduction to East Asian fiction, this course will focus on literature from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea from a transnational perspective. Through a range of contemporary to classical canonical fiction, students will investigate various literary genres, and explore critical concepts of literary and cultural identity studies. All readings are in English with no prior background on East Asia required.

EN 382 - Contemporary Chinese Cinema
Meets Gen Ed Requirement G9 - Other World Civilization; G7 - Humanities
An introduction to the contemporary cinemas of Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora, this course focuses on selected major directors, movements and genres from the 1990s to the present. Students study the formal and stylistic aspects of films as well as their historical, transnational, and socio-cultural contexts.

EN 390 - The Uncanny
Meets Gen Ed Requirement: G6: Arts and G7: Humanities.
This dual literature and writing course pursues Sigmund Freud’s notion of the uncanny in literature. Readings highlight texts that seek to subvert the familiar, drawing on Gothic, horror, Surrealist, and fantastic literary traditions, and students will apply techniques studied in class to producing their own literature of the strange.

EN 391 - Creative Imagination: Theory and Process
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts; G7 - Humanities
Theories of the creative process and the nature of creativity are explored. Through readings, journal entries, and case studies of writers, painters, and other artists, students discover practices useful in producing creative works. Particular attention is paid to the creative works of artists traditionally marginalized by gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class.

EN 392 - Greek Myths and their Transformations
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G5 - Western Civilization; G7 - Humanities
A selection of Greek myths associated with the house of Atreus, the myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus, and those associated with Orpheus will be examined in detail.

EN 393 - Shakespeare
Meets Gen. Ed Requirement G7 - Humanities
Familiarizes students with the theatre of Shakespeare through language, character, and plot analysis. Discusses theme of deception, betrayal, and power and emphasizes new interpretations of Shakespeare's plays through readings and videotaped performances.

EN 394 - American Lives
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities
This literature seminar presents the opportunity to explore the autobiographical impulse in American writing, past and present, through full-scale biographies, works of fiction, drama, and poetry, and in the memoirs so popular today. Students write an autobiographical essay on an aspect of their lives.

EN 399 - The Craft of Writing Poetry
Meets Gen Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts
Students immerse themselves in writing poems while they examine the technical and historical aspects of poetry. They study the basic elements of poetry such as image, figurative language, rhythm, diction, and form to develop the potential of those elements in their own writing. In order to understand their own creative processes, students read essays about craft and process.

FI 371 - Film Art/Film Critic
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts
Students are introduced to cinema history and the basic tools for writing about the art of film. They study how meaning in narrative film is elaborated by uses of camera, editing, lighting, sound, and acting. The course emphasizes the contrast between studio and non-studio films, especially those of Europe, Asia, and third-world countries in contrast to products of the powerful Hollywood system.

HA 301 - Fashion and Impressionism - Presidential Scholars
Impressionist artists were fascinated by fashion—an obsession shared by almost everyone in nineteenth-century Paris. This course will consider why fashion and modern life became so critically important to artists at this moment and will explore the historic origins of the modern fashion system and of the modern art market.

HA 304 - Holocaust Representations in Art
Prerequisite: HA 112
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7: Humanities
In surveying art about the Holocaust, this course explores the ethical limits of representation in an interdisciplinary framework of history, politics, art history, media studies, psychoanalysis, and Marxist and literary theory. What will emerge is the way that many concerns of Holocaust-related artists have likewise driven so-called mainstream artists since World War II.

HA 381 - The Word and the Page: A History of Writing and Books
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts; G7 - Humanities
A study of the long, complex history of writing and the production of manuscripts and books in Europe, the Near East and the Mediterranean worldfrom cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing to illuminated manuscripts to the digital revolution in type and text. Students will visit letterpress printing studios and papermaking ateliers.

HA 382 - Beauty: The Human Ideal in Visual Culture
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities
This course explores the concept of beauty through the disciplines of art history, philosophy, and social science, as understood through visual representation of the human body. Using the analysis of both fine art and popular and mass-media sources, we examine how concepts of the beautiful reflect a society's structures of power and belief.

HA 383 - Art of the Silk Road: Cross-Cultural Encounters
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G9 - Other World Civilization
The Silk Road was the worlds first great superhighway, linking from ancient times China and Japan to the Mediterranean World across Central Asia. This course offers a new way to look at the ancient and medieval art of Eurasia, as we travel from ancient to early modern periods.

HA 384 - American Narratives in New York City Museums (Honors)
This course examines exhibitions of American Art in New York City museums, considering the ways they construct historical narratives that shape our ideas about collective and individual identities. Students analyze permanent and temporary installations viewed through the lens of museum theory and critical analysis. Most meet at museums.

HA 394 - History of New York Architecture
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts
This course studies the history of architecture in the city of New York. Students are introduced to style, iconography, technical innovation, geography, and the cultural, social, economic, and political forces that have shaped the city's buildings from the early seventeenth century to the present.

HA 395 - Studies in American Indian Art and Civilization
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities; G9 - Other World Civilizations
A study of the art and culture of American Indians from Alaska to the border of Mexico, from prehistoric time to the present. Students study the architecture, painting, carving, pottery, textiles, and rituals and the dramatic changes in American Indian art and culture due to colonial contact.

HA 396 - Art and Patronage in the Italian Renaissance
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G5 - Western Civilization; G7 - Humanities
This course surveys Italian Renaissance art patronage, emphasizing sociopolitical contexts and the celebration of power. Emphasis is given to patronage in courts and republics, and to the merchant class, princes, and popes. The course also considers patronage of less dominant groups, such as women.

HA 397 - Studies in Maya Art and Culture
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G9 - Other World Civilization
An in-depth study of Maya art, architecture, writing, weaving, ceramics and of the way these visual forms express aspects of Maya daily life and belief from 300 BC to the present.

HA 398 - Architecture and Faith: Ancient and Islamic Cities
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities; G9 - Other World Civilization
Prerequisites: Qualification for Presidential Scholars Program or 3.5 GPA with approval of Dean for Liberal Arts This course explores the commercial, cultural and artistic development of urban cultures in the Mediterranean and Near East regions in the ancient, medieval and Islamic periods. Major case studies include Rome, Baghdad, Cairo, Jerusalem and Constantinople/Istanbul.

HI 392 - Religion and Religious Dissent in American History
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7 - Humanities; G10 - American History
Students examine the ways in which religious controversies have figured, directly and indirectly, in many of the major events of the early history of the United States, up to and including the Civil War.

HI 393 - New York City and the Invention of America
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G10 - American History
Students learn the history of America from the Civil War to the present through the lens of its greatest metropolis. Readings stress the roles that New York has played as innovator, counterpoint, and despised exception in politics, economics, technology, and culture of America.

HI 394 - Rebellion and Resistance in America
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G10 - American History
This course examines the social, cultural, and political types of rebellion and resistance from their historical roots in Colonial and Revolutionary America to their modern and contemporary forms in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students analyze the tactics, strategies, and objectives of individual and collective action from across the political spectrum.

HI 395 - Big Ideas in History: Smith, Darwin, Marx, Freud
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G5 - Western Civilization; G7 - Humanities
Students learn Western history through the lens of the Big Four of modern thought-Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. They use their ideas to grapple with European and American history from the Age of Empire to the birth of modern business, politics, and people.

MA 392 - The Mathematics of Personal Finance
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G2 - Mathematics
Want to get fiscally fit? This course covers the mathematics that underlies essential notions of financial planning and will enable students the use of mathematical techniques to inform and influence decisions concerning their own financial well-being. The course focuses on applications in personal finance, exploring interest types, the pitfalls of credit cards, mortgages, retirement portfolios, and investing. Course will include field trips to financial museums and banks in New York City as well as guest speakers.

MC 301 - Imaginary Encounters: Historical Representations of The Caribbean
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G7: Humanities; G9 Other World Civilizations
In this course, students examine diverse representations of the Caribbean region, from the time of Columbus’ arrival to the present, in scientific, legal and literary texts, as well as through the lens of cartography, the visual arts and film. Class discussion will address issues pertinent to colonialism, imperialism, race, gender, ethnicity and cultural identity

MU 391 - Masterpieces of Music in the European Classical Tradition
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G6 - Arts
Through lectures and demonstrations, this course will cover the main musical developments associated with the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods. No previous musical background required.

PL 392 - The Old and New Testaments in the History of Ideas
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G5 - Western Civilization; G7 - Humanities
Students examine the influence of selected books, chapters, and verses form the Old and New Testaments on the literature, philosophy, theology, and politics of western civilization. Emphasis is given to ideas located in scripture as they have been developed by religious thinkers, systematic theorists, and creative artists.

SC 391 - Crime Scene Chemistry
Meets Gen. Ed Requirement G3 - Science
This course explores fundamental concepts in chemistry by examining actual case studies related to criminal activity. Students learn the techniques used by investigators to gather and analyze evidence and data. The laboratory section of the course provides hands-on experience with the techniques used by scientists in the field of forensics chemistry.

SS 337 - Crime in the Global, Digital Society - Honors
Students are familiarized with critical and contemporary sociological theories of crime. They will apply these theories to global and local empirical case studies and examine how the nature, extent, causes and control of crime and criminal offending should be understood within interrelated local, transnational, and global societal contexts.

SS 338 - Happiness & Human Flourishing - Honors
Students explore the psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life by critically reviewing and analyzing scientific work drawn from the field of positive psychology. Topics include happiness and positive affect, well-being, empathy, friendship, love, achievement, creativity, mindfulness, spirituality, and humor.

SS 339 - Development Economics
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G4 – Social Science
This course introduces students to development economics and investigates why some countries are poorer than others and what economic policies help countries achieve growth.

SS 391 - Economic Ideas Past and Present
Meets Gen. Ed Requirement G4 - Social Sciences
Traces the rise of major economic philosophies from before Quesnay through Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Keynes, and beyond. The evolution of broad-scale models of social reality and their relationships to the times in which economists lived are emphasized.

SS 392 - Psychopathology and Modern Life
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G4 - Social Science
Students learn the symptoms, causes, and treatment of psychological disorders and the contemporary issues facing mental health researchers and practitioners. Psychopathology is presented as both a scientific and a clinical endeavor that will give students the clearest understanding of the field. Information from the text and lectures are based on current research, findings, and different theoretical approaches.

SS 393 - Politics in the Middle East
Meets Gen Ed. Requirement G9 - Other World Civilizations
This course is designed to give students a background in Middle Eastern politics. The course will examine the ethnic, religious and the geopolitical composition of the Middle East. It will focus on issues of conflict the Arab-Israeli dispute, the Persian Gulf War, several regional and civil wars, and the nature of authoritarian regimes abuses of their own citizens. Finally, the course will explore issues of economic and military cooperation among countries in the Middle East and with other countries.

SS 394 - Global Financial Markets
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G4 - Social Sciences
This course discusses the general principles and main concepts of international finance. Topics such as the world financial system and institutions, global financial instruments, and interruptions in the international financial markets (i.e., the financial crisis of 2008, the East Asian Financial Crisis) are addressed.

SS 395 - International Conflict in the 21st Century
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G9 - Other World Civilizations
This course is designed to examine the nature of international conflicts in the 21st century. Students analyze how international conflicts have occurred through time while examining the question of why people and states take particular types of actions. The course focuses on various parts of the world in which there is a high level of international conflict. Students review cases that demonstrate examples of post-cold war conflict including terrorism, civil war and international intervention.

SS 396 - Social Experiments: Answering the Questions of Social Psychology
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G4 - Social Sciences
This course familiarizes students with basic and applied research in social psychology. This will be achieved through course readings, class discussions, and field assignments. Additionally, since this is an experimental course, students will not only study social influences on the behavior of individuals, but they will also have the opportunity to apply what they learn firsthand by conducting their own controlled field experiment. My goal is for students to leave the course with an interdisciplinary knowledge of social psychology and social research methods, as well as experience conducting their own studies from start to finish.

SS 397 - Religion and Global Politics
Meets Gen. Ed. Requirement G4 - Social Sciences
Religion is driving contemporary political events in multiple, multifaceted and mysterious ways.
This course is designed to understand and reflect on how religion influences global politics.
This course will address such topics as how, why and where individuals are religious across the globe, in what ways their religious ideas and identities influence their political decisions and behaviors, the major questions posed by constitutional and human rights of religious freedom and the values with which they conflict, and the debates over the role that religion should play in democratic politics or pluralist societies.

SS 444 - Presidential Scholars Senior Seminar
The Presidential Scholars Senior Seminar provides students an opportunity to explore topics of their choosing in a culminating academic project. Students will narrow topics, develop research questions, employ research methods, and produce a thesis/creative project with an accompanying presentation of their findings.