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Explore Winter 2021 Honors Courses

Interdisciplinary thinking is the heart of the Honors Program, and Unexpected Connections courses are the lifeblood! These unique courses consider great questions and topics through two different disciplinary lenses, looking for the “unexpected connections” between fields, methods, and perspectives. Through readings, writing, discussion and hands-on learning, faculty and students together seek deeper understanding of the questions we ask and the problems we seek to solve.

These 200-level Honors courses are team-taught by exceptional faculty with expertise in two very different fields. Each course fills an Honors requirement, as well as two GE categories simultaneously. Course topics vary each semester, and with Winter 2021 registration beginning this week you’ll want to explore the variety in store! We’re bringing back some favorites from previous semesters and are excited to welcome some new Honors faculty and themes to Honors!

What do Honors students have to say about these courses?

  • “One of the most fulfilling, rewarding, and educational classes I've had. I am leaving this class knowing a lot more than I did before, and I feel that I have changed as a person as a result of this class.”
  • “This course has been the best Honors course I have ever taken! The professors did a fantastic job of combining the material and teaching it in a way that they became one focus instead of two separate ideas. The professors encouraged discussion and question and most of all they prompted me to look and listen to really consider the deeper implications of what I was studying.”
  • “I've loved this course! It has been such a unique and fascinating experience to explore two disciplines in conjunction with one another.  On my own, I would never have made the connections we have made together in this class. This class is one of my favorites I''ve ever taken.”
  • “This was an excellent course. It may be my favorite class I have taken while here at BYU. I love the connections the professors made between different disciplines and how interactive the lectures and materials were.”

Ready to dive in? Here’s a preview of the Winter 2021 offerings. Look for more complete course descriptions under the “Courses” tile on the Honors website here. Plus, we recently we caught up with some Honors faculty to ask about their involvement in Honors and the Unexpected Connections course they teach. For a little taste of what some of these classes have to offer, watch the videos about HONRS 223 and HONRS 227 on the BYU Honors YouTube site.

HONRS 220 Biology-Letters
Literature and Health
What if you flipped the traditional job descriptions?: “Doctors and nurses tell stories; poets and writers heal.”  That would be one way of getting at what this course is about.

Being Mortal: The Search for the Good Life
Is there a difference between ‘life examined’ and ‘the examined life’?  We framed this course in terms of these two different but related notions.

HONRS 223 Physical Science-Letters
Transcendent Skies: Literature and Astronomy
From time immemorial people have been inspired by the heavens. This course focuses on astronomy and the influence of the heavens on writers and readers from classical antiquity to the present.

Finding Truth: Disagreement and Engagement in a Complex World
Most of the information that informs our beliefs comes second-hand… how do we know what sources to trust?

HONRS 227 Social Science-Arts
The Comedy of Life: Exploring Social Structures through Humor
Explore how humor and comedy emerge from--and are made resonant through—social structure and other unspoken cultural codes.

Race and Music       
What does it mean to be American in a racial and musical context?  Explore both race in music, and the music of race--the historical rhythm of racial progress and regress, and where we go from here.

HONRS 290R Physical Science-Arts
Scale and Perspective in the Arts and Physical Sciences
Sometimes we get carried away with the idea of the two brain-sides. We are committed to the notion that two great disciplinary traditions of STEM and Arts have all sorts of things to say to and learn from each other.

Remember, you must complete the prerequisites and be a committed Honors student to enroll in these courses. If you have any questions about registration, prerequisites, or Honors requirements, email an Honors advisor, call, or stop by the Honors Program office (102 MSRB).