First Grads in 1957

The Honors Program Curriculum

"I don't know how good a teacher I am, but I do know that I am a better teacher than I would have been if I hadn't been inspired by so many terrific Honors students (and Honors colleagues) through the decades."

- Dr. Wayne Dickson

We were guided in developing these courses by six Honors Program values:

  1. Interdisciplinarity: The Honors curriculum calls on students and faculty to conceive of themselves as members of an interdisciplinary community committed to integrated ways of thinking and learning.
  2. Independent Scholarship: By working closely with Stetson scholar-teachers, students learn to become independent and original thinkers who know the expectations of scholarly research. The Honors Program enhances Stetson's commitment to undergraduate research through the Honors Stipend and the Honors Workshop.
  3. Community: Students learn to work together because our curriculum emphasizes problem-based courses, experiential learning, group projects, community service, and a sense of intellectual mission.
  4. Creativity and Agency: Students take charge of their own education through a project based on their Freshman Seminar and by designing their own academic course for the Honors Tutorial. Students also have the option of designing their own majors.
  5. Mentorship: Students are encouraged, through the Honors Project, the Honors Tutorial, and the Honors Stipend to build an intellectual kinship with Stetson faculty and staff. They learn quickly how Stetson works, and how to personalize their own education.
  6. Self-Reflection: Since an unexamined life is not worth leading, we embrace the debate over the "big questions" of life, and students record their growth and changes over the course of their time at Stetson in their Honors Credo. Our Junior Seminar and Best Books Club aim to help students ask difficult questions and offer clear but provisional answers.

Honors Program Courses

HON101: Honors First-Year Seminar "Enduring Questions"

The seminar undertakes a critical comparative study of an important and enduring question, chosen by the Honors Program students and faculty every three to five years. Texts from across disciplines (the natural sciences, the humanities, the fine arts, and the social sciences) will be used to present ideas that have had significant impact on the present. The course includes experiential components that will integrate philosophy, religion, politics, literature and art. As part of the course, students plan an Honors Project (undertaken independently in the spring semester), and begin work on Credos and proposals for the Honors Stipend. HON101 is taught by professors from different academic disciplines.

HON102: Honors Project

Students complete the scholarly, creative, or community-service projects designed in HON101, and present these projects at the Stetson Showcase, the university's celebration of student scholarship.

HON201: Honors Workshop

This course focuses on three texts: the Credo, the Honors Stipend proposal, and the group syllabus for the Honors Tutorial (HON202). Students will continue working on creating their Credos and refining their Honors Stipend applications while they begin planning for their tutorial courses to be taken the following semester. Tutorial courses are student created classes with a focus on interdisciplinary study as it can be applied to the interests of the students. During the process of tutorial creation the students also analyze the role of education in order to grasp more fully the importance and complexity behind class creation.

HON202: Honors Tutorials

An execution of the planned classes from Honors 201. Groups of five to seven students will take the classes that they created the previous semester. These student-designed courses will be interdisciplinary, problem-based, and interactive, led by university faculty who specialize in the course's focus.

HON301: Honors Junior Seminar

In their junior or senior year, students participate in a seminar focused on the question, "What does it mean to lead a life that matters?" The seminar is coordinated with the major lecture series on campus (e.g., Values Council Lecture Series, Howard Thurman Lecture Series, Lawson Lecture Series, and Woodrow Wilson Fellows Lectures). The seminar prepares students for their Honors Oral Exam with Stetson faculty by substantively revising the Credo.

HON401/402: Best Books Club

Modeled after Stetson's Book Feasts, the Best Books Club will meet twice a semester over a meal to discuss books chosen by the graduating Honors cohort. Required of all seniors, but open to all Honors students. A faculty member will coordinate these meetings, and when possible and appropriate, community members or visiting scholars and experts will join the discussion.

HON499: Honors Oral Examination and Credo Presentation

Required for all students during the semester immediately before graduation. The graduating seniors present their completed credo before a faulty panel.


Beginning in the fall semester 2011 the Stetson University Honors Program introduced an entirely new and unique curriculum that emphasizes self-directed learning, mentorship and undergraduate scholarship. We seek to nurture a culture where notable achievement, service, participation in scholarly discourse, and international adventure are the the norm.

The Honors Core curriculum replaces existing General Education requirements for a degree (BA, BS, B.BA, BM, etc.) that all Stetson University students must fulfill. In fact, the Honors curriculum enables most students to complete their school and major requirements far more efficiently.