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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

Buller, J. L., Dean; Tunick, M., Associate Dean; Blue, M.; Caete Quesada, C.; Chandrasekhar, C.; Corr, R.; Dragojlovic, V.; Earles, J.; Ely, C.; Fewkes, J.; Harrawood, M.; Him, T.; Jake
e, 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. The B.A. program is 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. 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.

General Studies Degree Program
The University offers a Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) degree program that allows students to design a plan of study to meet their personal interests and career goals. The 120-credit program includes 15 credits of upper-division coursework in one discipline, which students select in consultation with an advisor. For more B.G.S. details and degree requirements, please refer to the Degree Programs section of this catalog.

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, enhancing problem-solving skills and developing competency in a foreign language. Another component of the honors curriculum is a series of interdisciplinary seminars and team-taught courses, some of which introduce students to two of the areas of concentration at the Wilkes Honors College, international and environmental studies.

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 individual concentration in consultation with faculty. The concentration may have a specialized focus, such as American studies, 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
All students must successfully complete 120 credits to graduate. Of these, 62-83 credits are core or other graduation requirements. 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.

Liberal Arts and Sciences
The largest component of the honors core is the distribution requirement in the liberal arts and sciences. The honors core distribution distinguishes itself from the general education requirements at most universities by its emphasis on writing across the disciplines, by its use of conceptually thematic categories-Social and Behavioral Analysis; Culture, Ideas and Values-that encourage faculty to offer freshmen and sophomores innovative interdisciplinary courses, and by the freedom it allows students as it invites them to explore ideas and research beyond their own areas of concentration. The distribution requirement consists of the following elements:

Writing (12 credits, four WAC-designated courses)
One of the most important skills students acquire 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, but they are designated as WAC because they provide special attention to the writing and revision process. Students entering prior to fall 2011 may elect to satisfy the writing requirement instead by completing three core writing courses (totaling 3-7 credits), at least one of which must be a Writing in the Disciplines (WID) course; these students still must satisfy the state’s requirement of four Gordon Rule writing courses. WAC courses satisfy the Gordon Rule requirement. ENC 1123 may count as one of the four WAC courses or as one of the three Core writing courses.

Mathematics (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, greenhouse effect) 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.

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.

Social and Behavioral Analysis (3 credits, one course)
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.

Culture, Ideas and Values (3 credits, one course)
These courses help students understand and think philosophically and critically about different value and belief systems across cultural and historical boundaries. Students will study primary works in the humanities that are devoted to the examination of questions such as "What is the life worth living? What is the basis for distinguishing knowledge from belief? What is beautiful?" Courses may consider how these questions have been approached throughout history or how different cultures have addressed these questions, or courses may grapple with these questions without regard to their historical or cultural context. In any case, students will be asked to articulate, evaluate and defend moral, aesthetic or other value judgments, such as judgments about how someone ought to live and claims about the validity of knowledge.

Literature (3 credits, one course)
Courses in literature are intended to develop students' appreciation and understanding of literature, looking at texts in their historical and cultural contexts or examining themes, approaches and generic conventions across time periods.

Arts (3 credits, one course)
Courses in art, music and creative writing 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.


Other Graduation Requirements
Foreign Language (8 credits, two courses)
Learning foreign languages provides 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 are expected to take this weekly 1-credit seminar each of their first two semesters.

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 symposia and team-taught seminars, all devoted to interdisciplinary critical inquiry. Students must take three critical inquiry seminars. These seminars are specially designated 1- or 3-credit, team-taught courses that explore problems from a variety of perspectives and reflect on the connections and shared concerns of scholars from distinct disciplines.

International and Environmental Studies (2-6 credits, two courses)
The increasingly global nature of contemporary issues and the increasing importance of addressing the effects of growth on our environment, coupled with the unique resources available in Florida for exploring these areas of inquiry, account for the Honors College's focus on international and environmental studies. Students are expected to take one course in each of these areas. These may be courses or seminars used to satisfy other Honors College requirements.

Experiential Learning Requirement (3-12 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 and 120 hours of internship experience). All internships and study abroad programs must be approved by the non-classroom learning committee 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; Culture, Ideas and Values; Literature or the Arts requirements, they may be courses from any two distinct disciplines, one within the social sciences and one within the humanities.


The Concentration
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 are:

American Studies
Art (Transdisciplinary Visual Arts)
Biological Chemistry
English Literature
Environmental Studies
History (Interdisciplinary)
Interdisciplinary Critical Theory
International Studies
Latin American Studies
Law and Society
Marine Biology
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, and score the equivalent to at least a 29 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 1350 (or ACT equivalent of at least 31);

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 plan to complete their Honors College degree requirements by the end of the fall semester of their senior year.

Further information about pathways can be found here.


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