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Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College

Wilkes Honors College Curriculum

Academic Pathways

Link to Course Descriptions for the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College

Goldey, E., Dean; Tunick, M., Associate Dean; Blue, M.; Buller, J. L.; Caete Quesada, C.; Chandrasekhar, C.; Corr, R.; Dragojlovic, V.; Earles, J.; Ely, C.; Fewkes, J.; Harrawood, M.; Him, T.; Jakee, K.; Kennedy, A.; Kirchman, P.; Lanning, K.; Lemeh, D.; Luria, R.; Macleod, G.; McGovern, W.; Moore, J.; Njambi, W. N.; Nur-tegin, K.; O'Brien, W.; Shamma, Y.; Smith, E.; Steigenga, T.; Strain, C.; Vzquez, M.; Vernon, L.; Wetterer, J.; White, D. R.

The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The B.A. and B.S. programs are designed to develop the qualities of a free and responsible citizen, one who can reason clearly, read critically and analytically, argue persuasively in speech and in writing and contribute to society in fundamental and innovative ways. In addition, the B.S. program provides students a deep understanding of the natural sciences and mathematics. By providing broad intellectual training in the liberal arts and sciences and specialized study in an area of concentration, the College prepares its students for graduate and professional schools, such as law and medicine, as well as for careers in business, science, education and government.

Wilkes Honors College Curriculum

The College's curriculum has two primary components, the honors core and the concentration. For the honors core, students take distribution courses in the liberal arts and sciences aimed at sharpening written and oral communication and enhancing problem-solving skills. In addition, all students develop competency in a foreign language by taking a series of interdisciplinary seminars and team-taught courses, as well as distribution electives in the humanities and social sciences. The students also experience non-classroom learning in the form of either an internship or study abroad.

In addition to completing the honors core, students choose a concentration. Concentrations may be traditional choices, such as biology, English, mathematics, philosophy, political science and psychology or interdisciplinary programs, such as environmental studies, international studies, medical humanities or law and society. In addition, students are able to design their own individual concentration in consultation with faculty. The concentration may have a specialized focus, such as Bioinformatics,or it may combine related disciplines, such as philosophy, politics and economics. As part of the concentration, students synthesize their skills and knowledge into senior projects or theses. Students may concentrate in more than one area by fulfilling the requirements of each concentration. It is possible to minor in some areas. Refer to the Minors heading appearing later in this Honors College section.

Prerequisite Coursework for Transfer Students
Students who transfer to Florida Atlantic University must complete both the Honors College core/graduation requirements and requirements for their concentration(s) (see links above). Lower-division requirements may be completed through the A.A. degree from any Florida public college, university or community college or through equivalent coursework at another regionally accredited institution. Before transferring and to ensure timely progress toward the baccalaureate degree, students must also complete the prerequisite courses for their major as outlined in the Transfer Student Manual.

All courses not approved by the Florida Statewide Course Numbering System that will be used to satisfy requirements will be evaluated individually on the basis of content and will require a catalog course description and a copy of the syllabus for assessment.


The Honors Core

Note: Students who entered FAU prior to fall 2015 are subject to a different set of core requirements, which are listed online.

All students must successfully complete 120 credits to graduate. Of these, at least 36 credits are in the Honors Core. The Honors Core provides a broad-based education in the liberal arts and sciences through courses that emphasize critical thinking and writing skills. These courses introduce students to ways of thinking analytically about science, politics, history, ethics, culture, visual images and literature. Some courses serve as introductions to a specific discipline. Others approach problems and themes in ways that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. In addition, students fulfill other graduation requirements: they write an honors thesis, develop competency in a foreign language, study abroad or complete an internship and finish coursework in their concentration.

Liberal Arts and Sciences
The largest component of the honors core is the distribution requirement in the liberal arts and sciences.

Writing (ENC 1101, three additional WAC-designated courses and submission of a writing portfolio)
One of the most important skills a student acquires is the ability to communicate effectively. Clear writing is inseparable from clear and coherent thinking. Honors College courses are writing intensive and provide guidance in researching, composing, editing and revising papers. Students do substantial writing in different disciplines and in formats as diverse as essays, research papers, lab reports and debate briefs. A senior Honors thesis or the written component of a senior Honors project interweaves the research, analytical and writing skills acquired in the first three years.

As part of the Honors College’s writing-intensive curriculum, students must take four Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) courses. WAC courses are discipline-based courses students may use to satisfy other core or concentration requirements. They are designated as WAC because they provide special attention to the writing and revision process. In most cases the Honors Thesis will count as two WAC courses. WAC courses satisfy the State's Gordon Rule requirement. ENC 1101 is taken as one of the four WAC courses.

Students also submit a writing portfolio, which is a mid-career assessment of their writing at the end of their sophomore year, conducted by a committee of faculty. The writing portfolio consists of the student's Forum paper (which the Dean's office keeps on file) and at least one essay submitted to the Dean's office. This essay must meet the following four requirements:

  1. It was written in the first or second year at the Honors College;

  2. It should be a scholarly essay that demonstrates the student's ability to incorporate evidence from secondary sources and/or analyze a primary text;

  3. It should have the professor's comment on it, if possible; and

  4. It should be at least five pages in length.

Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (6-8 credits, two courses)
One goal of the honors core is to help foster mathematical literacy. Mathematics is the language of science and technology and, increasingly, of the social sciences. By virtue of its precision, mathematics allows a clear understanding of the world and our place within it. Indeed, important health and environmental issues (acid rain, water management, global warming) cannot be understood without mathematical literacy. By taking two courses in mathematics, students sharpen their critical thinking skills, learning to distinguish evidence from anecdote and causality from correlation. At least one course must be from the list of core courses designated Group A and the second course may be from Group A or Group B. Math courses also satisfy the State's Gordon Rule computational requirement: at least one of the Gordon Rule computational courses must have a prefix of MGF or MAC.

Natural Sciences (6-8 credits, two courses)
By taking two courses in two distinct disciplines within the natural sciences, students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the natural world as well as our place in it. At least one of these courses will include a laboratory section that will give students hands-on experience and allow them to understand the meaning of science in both theory and practice. At least one course must be from the list of core courses designated Group A.

Social and Behavioral Analysis (6 credits, two courses)
The courses in social and behavioral analysis familiarize students with different approaches to the study of individual behavior and social institutions and introduce them to some of the concepts and methods of the social sciences. The courses aim at an understanding of the reciprocal relations among people, societies, and institutions and encourage students to think critically and systematically about how these societies and institutions can best be arranged. At least one course must be from the list of core courses designated Group A and the second course must be from Group B in the list of core courses.

Humanities (6 credits, two courses)
Courses in the humanities serve several purposes. Some courses explore questions such as, “what is the life worth living?” or “what is the basis for distinguishing knowledge from belief?” Some courses emphasize how these questions have been approached throughout history, others focus on how different cultures have addressed these questions and some grapple with these questions without regard to their historical or cultural context. Courses in literature are intended to develop students’ ability to appreciate and understand literature by looking at texts in their historical and cultural contexts or examining themes, approaches and generic conventions across time. Courses in the arts are intended to develop students’ ability to create and appreciate the arts in all of their forms, to enhance sensitivity to artistic expression and to increase familiarity with theories central to these forms. Courses may be structured historically, culturally or thematically. At least one course must be from the list of core courses designated Group A and at least one must be from Group B (online).

Global Citizenship (6-7 credits, two courses)
Societies are increasingly diverse and interconnected with other societies around the world and impacted by technological advances. To be responsible and effective citizens in this world, we must understand the forces that shape our society and our environment and be equipped to think critically about the consequences of these forces in our lives. To this end, students take two courses from two distinct groups from among the three groups of "Environmental Studies," "International Studies" and "Ethics and Global Values." These courses may not be double-counted with other core or graduation requirements. Approved courses in the three categories are identified in the list of core courses.

Additional Humanities or Social and Behavior Analysis Course (3 credits)
Students take an additional course in the humanities or social sciences in a different discipline than the discipline of courses used to satisfy the Core Humanities and Social and Behavior Analysis requirements. A list of distinct disciplinary prefixes is available at the end of the list of core courses.


Other Graduation Requirements
Foreign Language (8 credits, two courses)
By learning a foreign languages, a student gains access to other cultures and worlds and to other ways of thinking. As this is an important objective of the Honors College, students are expected to take two sequential courses in a single language or demonstrate proficiency equivalent to two basic courses. Students are encouraged to incorporate the study of language in a study abroad experience.

Honors College Forum (1 credit, one course)
Students meet the faculty and other leading scholars and artists who present their work and introduce the leading ideas and controversies in their areas of expertise. Students take this weekly 1-credit seminar in the fall semester.

Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry Seminars (5-9 credits, three courses)
The architecture of a traditional college curriculum, in which knowledge is broken into highly specific fields, disciplines and departments, gives the misleading impression that human experience and human problems are neatly compartmentalized and that there is a clear division of labor, each discipline being assigned its own subset of problems and experiences. To help convey to students that knowledge and experience are not so easily partitioned and that many problems benefit from multiple perspectives, the Honors College curriculum includes a unique offering of 1- and 3-credit, team-taught seminars devoted to interdisciplinary critical inquiry. Students must take three of these courses, at least one of which should be 3 credits.Team-taught courses are used to satisfy other core requirements, but may satisfy concentration requirements.

Experiential Learning Requirement (Internship, minimum 3 credits; OR Study Abroad, minimum five weeks and 3 credits)
Life in the world beyond the campus provides students with invaluable experiences that complement their programs of study. The experiential learning requirement applies to all Honors College students (including transfer and international students). Students may fulfill the requirement through participation in a study abroad program (minimum of 3 credits and five-week stay) or through an internship (minimum of 3 credits, which requires120 hours of unpaid or 160 hours of paid internship experience). All internships must be approved by the non-classroom learning committee's designee prior to student registration. Internship coursework is graded S/U.

Distribution Electives (6 credits, two courses)
Many students arrive at college unfamiliar with the specialized areas of study within the social sciences and humanities. Students have the opportunity to discover and explore these by taking two additional distribution electives. While these will often be courses that satisfy the Social and Behavioral Analysis and Humanities Corerequirements, they may be courses from any two distinct disciplines, one within the social sciences and one within the humanities. These courses must be Honors College courses taken at the Honors College. They may not be courses taken to satisfy other core or graduation requirements or counted for the concentration.

Consult the University Catalog for other graduation requirements. Note that Honors College students do not need to fulfill the Intellectual Foundations Program requirement because they fulfill the Honors College Core requirement instead.


The Concentrations
In addition to obtaining a breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences through courses in the honors core, each student chooses an area of concentration. The purpose of the concentration is to allow students to obtain deep knowledge of a focused area of interest. Students may have more than one major concentration or a major concentration and one or more minors. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the concentration, each student will complete a thesis or senior project. Students in the Wilkes Honors College have the opportunity to concentrate in most of the traditional disciplines and to design their own interdisciplinary course of study in consultation with the faculty. Among the concentrations, the Honors College currently offers two sets of concentrations: one for the B.A. degree and one for the B.S. degree.

Bachelor of Arts degree Bachelor of Science degree
American Studies Biological Chemistry
Anthropology Biology
Art (Transdisciplinary Visual Arts) Chemistry
Business Environmental Science
Economics Marine Biology
English Literature Neuroscience
Environmental Studies Physics
History (Interdisciplinary) Psychology
Interdisciplinary Critical Theory  
International Studies  
Latin American Studies  
Law and Society  
Mathematical Sciences (Interdisciplinary)  
Medical Humanities  
Political Science  
Women's Studies  

Details about requirements for the Wilkes Honors College and listings of course offerings and concentrations can be found here.

The Honors College offers numerous minor concentrations. These require a minimum of 15 credits, including at least 9 credits at the upper level. Of the 15 credits, at least 12 must be earned from FAU. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in courses taken for the minor concentration. Minor concentrations are available in:

English Literature
Environmental Studies
Ethics (Interdisciplinary)
Interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge
Law and Society
Spanish Literature
Women's Studies

Students may also minor in Business through coursework at the Honors College and the College of Business. Further information can be found here.

Academic Pathways

Engineering Pathway
Students may take coursework at the Honors College for their first two years and then transfer seamlessly into the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students are thus able to take advantage of the Honors College's rich offerings and small class sizes in mathematics and the sciences, social sciences, and humanities during their first two years to satisfy core requirements before focusing on their upper-level engineering coursework in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students from the Honors College who meet the admission requirements of the College of Engineering and Computer Science are permitted to transfer automatically to that College. Honors Calculus, Honors General Chemistry and Honors Physics or their equivalents satisfy the Engineering requirements of Calculus, Chemistry and Physics for Engineers.

Law School

Students considering careers in law will receive excellent preparation in the Honors College. Admission to law school requires strong analytical and writing skills, an outstanding academic record and a competitive LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score. The Honors College's emphasis on writing and critical thinking will provide students with the skills law school admissions committees seek. In addition, advisors will provide law school information and assist with the application process.

Business Pathway/M.B.A. Program
In addition to its concentration in Business, the Wilkes Honors College has an arrangement with the College of Business at FAU whereby students who have met all Honors College graduation requirements, maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework and achieved a score of 500 or above on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are guaranteed admission into FAU's M.B.A. program. This guarantee is given only to students who have been full-time Wilkes Honors College students for a minimum of six semesters and who have completed the core and concentration in the Wilkes Honors College.

Education Pathway/M.Ed. Program
The Wilkes Honors College has an arrangement with the College of Education at FAU whereby students who have met all Honors College graduation requirements, maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework and achieved a score of 800 or above on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) are guaranteed admission into FAU's M.Ed. Program in Curriculum and Instruction Plus Secondary Education Certification. This guarantee is given only to students who have been full-time Honors College students for a minimum of six semesters and who have completed the core and concentration in the Honors College.

Medical School
Admission to medical school requires a strong academic record, a competitive MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) score and the completion of certain prerequisite courses. The Honors College offers all of these courses as well as assistance with MCAT preparation and with the application process.

Medical Scholars Program
The Wilkes Honors College and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine have joined forces to develop the Wilkes Medical Scholars Program. This is an early admission program into medical school for qualified high school seniors. Admission is open to highly qualified high school seniors who strongly desire to pursue medicine as a career.

Those accepted into the Wilkes Medical Scholars Program will enter the Wilkes Honors College assured of a spot in the Medical School, provided they successfully complete the program requirements, which include undergraduate coursework, maintaining a 3.7 GPA and scoring at least in the 80th percentile on the MCAT. Students will take a carefully planned curriculum that will allow them to receive their bachelor's degree in either 3 or 4 years. Students may concentrate in a variety of disciplines within the liberal arts and sciences, and their curriculum will include several medical electives as well as experiential programs during the summer, fall and spring semesters that prepare students for medical school.

Minimum requirements for entrance:

1. SAT1 Critical Reading and Math combined score of at least 1400 (or ACT equivalent of at least 32);

2. Weighted GPA of at least 4.3;

3. U.S. citizen or permanent resident with an alien registration receipt card in possession at the time the application is completed;

4. Be in the senior year of high school when applying. Students who have already graduated from high school are ineligible;

5. Must have completed four high school units each of English and math as well as one high school unit each of biology and chemistry at a high school located in the U.S.;

6. Must be accepted into the Wilkes Honors College by February 1;

7. A strong desire and motivation to pursue a career in medicine.

Nursing Pathway
Honors College students wanting a fast track to a professional nursing career can take advantage of the Nursing Pathway. Students receive their Honors College degree in the liberal arts and sciences, and with an additional 12 months of study at FAU's nationally acclaimed College of Nursing, receive a B.S.N. as a second degree. Up to three Honors College students who meet all College of Nursing requirements are guaranteed admission to this accelerated B.S.N. program each year. Students must be full-time Honors College students for at least six semesters to participate in this pathway. They should plan to complete their Honors College degree requirements by the end of the fall semester of their senior year and begin the Nursing program in the spring semester.

Further information about pathways can be found here.


Link to Course Descriptions for the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College