Introduction to Great Questions Essay

The Great Question Essay is a substantial paper (15-20 pp.) that takes up a Great Question of the student’s choice, subject to approval by the Honors Program.  The student is expected to incorporate three different and sufficiently disparate disciplinary areas into the paper, but it is also appropriate and, indeed, expected that the student ground the paper in his/her home discipline.  This essay is not a second Honors Thesis; it is fundamentally different in that it broadens where the Honors Thesis tends to narrow a topic that interests the student.  But a Great Question essay that more expansively engages a topic that will become the focus of the student’s thesis is welcome and in many, though perhaps not all, cases is encouraged.


Question Mark Garden. CC Image courtesy of Dennis Brekke on Flickr

The time in which you write your Great Questions Essay is during the HONRS 320 (3.0) – Great Questions Tutorial class. During this course students will compose and submit a Great Question Essay.  Though students enrolled in this course may be asked to meet together on occasion, the bulk of students’ time will be spent researching and drafting the essay.  They will meet regularly with the course instructor who will advise the student, monitor his/her progress, and direct the student to consult with designated faculty who possess the appropriate expertise in the student’s choice of content areas.

It is recommended that students enroll in this course/write this essay after completion of the Honors Core Curriculum (3 UNIV courses).  The essay is, in fact, something of a capstone to their Honors/GE coursework, whereas the Honors Thesis is the capstone to their major.

For a more thorough explanation of the exact details of the Great Questions Essay, click here.