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Program Requirements

Honors Core + General Studies, Departmental, and Co-Curricular Honors Options


Admission CriteriaHonors students walking at the Spring 2016 commencement graduation ceremony

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above (high school, transfer or current MSU Denver GPA)
  • ACT of 24 or above
  • SAT of 1160 or above

Good Standing

To graduate with MSU Denver Honors Program distinction, each student completes Honors coursework and an Honors thesis, and maintains a 3.3 undergraduate GPA.


The Honors Program curriculum requires 21 units of approved courses and activities. Each student is able to design their own path through the Honors curriculum by completing the Honors core courses and combining a selection of academic and co-curricular options.

MSU Denver will be continuing a mostly online schedule for Spring 2021. All HON-prefix courses that were previously scheduled to be held on campus will now be delivered online.

Synchronous courses (SYNCH) involve “real-time” learning in which faculty meet virtually with students at set times using video conferencing software like TEAMS or ZOOM. Classes will meet during the time frame listed in the schedule. While some faculty are opting to meet only once a week or periodically for group activities, please reserve those time blocks just as you would for an on-campus course. 

Honors General Studies Options

Honors students can select from general studies options to complete academic course requirements. Many of these options can also fulfill degree program and university requirements. 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the Honors Program or Permission from the Honors Director.

Catalog Description: This course teaches students how to design and deliver effective, ethical presentations. The ability to adapt to different audiences and contexts - such as professional or public situations - is emphasized. The course provides instruction on and practice of organization, delivery and performance, technology, and research skills. Students also learn effective listening techniques and critical thinking skills. The course empowers students to become successful professional presenters and public speakers.

General Studies: Oral Communication 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the Honors Program or Permission from the Honors Director.

Catalog Description: This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of human nutrition, including digestion, absorption, metabolism, and the function of nutrients as they relate to human health and disease.

General Studies: Natural and Physical Sciences

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the Honors Program or Permission from the Honors Director.

Catalog Description: In this interdisciplinary course, students learn about how grand narratives have shaped and transformed notions of subjectivity over time, from the ancient and/or medieval world through the present day. The focus is on works that have had a literary, philosophical, and artistic impact on the notion of the self. The goal is to comprehend significant changes over time in the relationship between the individual and the world. Students are encouraged to make thematic connections across disciplines.

Note: B- or better required for Honors credit.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the Honors Program or Permission from the Honors Director.

Catalog Description: This course is an interdisciplinary inquiry where students learn about the dynamics of social change. Important examples of radical social transformation provide the historical backdrop for the discussion. Students explore definitions and theoretical models that can be used to explain and institute change. Students are also encouraged to learn about and connect with community-based organizations involved in creating change and promoting social justice. Some sections of this course may be offered as Service Learning courses. B- or better required for Honors credit.

General Studies: S & B II

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Enrollment in the Honors Program or Permission from the Honors Director.

Catalog Description: In the Modern Period, Critical Theory emerges as a decidedly multidisciplinary field that challenges the foundations of the existing social order through in-depth analysis of capitalism, culture, power, the family, and the individual. This course provides an overview of the development of the field of Critical Theory and examines some of its major currents. Topics may include: Psychoanalytic Criticism, Marxist Criticism, Discourse Theory, Feminist Criticism/Gender Studies/Queer Theory, Deconstruction, Race Theory, Postmodernism, New Historicism, Cultural Studies, Narratology, and Digital Media Studies. B- or better required for Honors credit.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

Honors Core Courses

Core courses taken by all honors students include 2 interdisciplinary Honors Colloquia as well as the Senior Honors Thesis, an independent research and/or creative project normally completed during the senior year. The Senior Honors Thesis can also be completed in conjunction with degree program requirements. 

Students must chose one (1) class (3 hrs. required)


ENG 3525 Scholarly Writing 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): ENG 1020 or ENG 1021

Description: Students study the expectations that shape scholarly writing in their various academic disciplines. Students draw on research appropriate for discipline-specific peer-reviewed publications and/or conference presentations. During this course, students learn to transform their written work into submission-ready artifacts with the guidance of instructor feedback and peer review. This course is ideal for students who plan to attend graduate school or are in writing-intensive degree programs.

General Studies: Written Communication


ENG 3527 Professional Writing 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): ENG 1020 or ENG 1021

Description: This course introduces key concepts and practices of professional writing, including various written genres, research, document design and visual rhetoric, and use of style guides. Students explore the expectations that shape professional writing such as how to employ the correct forms, interpret and synthesize the literature and present their researched writing to various audiences.  During this course, students learn to transform their work into sharable documents with the guidance of instructor feedback and peer review. This course is ideal for students to develop and polish writing skills that will be needed for their career.

General Studies: Written Communication


COM 3020 Advanced Public Speaking 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): COMM 1010 or COMM 1100 or HON 1013 or Permission of Instructor; Students must possess a GPA of 3.3 or higher, or be a member of the MSU Denver Honors Program.

Description: This course prepares students to design and deliver technical and/or professional presentations with an advanced level of skill. Students select one course project or theme and develop several presentations for different audiences and settings-these include: academic conferences and/or technical presentations to professional associations, public presentations on complex topics, and research poster sessions or business expos. This course is useful for students who plan to earn graduate degrees or seek employment in positions that require communication of complex information.

Note: To register for this course, students must be enrolled in the MSU Denver Honors program or have a 3.3 or higher GPA.


EDS 4010 Action Research within Communities of Practice


Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): Senior Standing or permission of department

Description: In this senior experience course, students will have opportunities to synthesize the knowledge, skills, and theoretical constructs learned throughout their undergraduate studies. Students will design an action research project relevant to their field of study, discipline, and/or profession. The course requires students to identify applicable research topics, formulate research questions, analyze the quality and credibility of research, synthesize research to develop and organize a literature review, select appropriate research designs and methods, and develop a research proposal aligned with the elements and requirements outlined by MSU Denver’s IRB process and Human Subjects Protection Program. Students will have the opportunity to present and discuss their research proposals to demonstrate developed expertise.

* Note - This course only has meetings on the following Thursdays: 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, 3/4, 3/18, 4/8, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6

University Requirement(s): Senior Experience


NUR 3400 Evidence Based Practice Through Nursing Research

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): NUR 3100

Description: This course introduces the student to the research process. The knowledge and competence needed to critique published research is explored. Students learn how to use research in support of their evidence based practice. Ethical, legal and regulatory considerations are discussed. Qualitative and quantitative research processes are examined. Emphasis is placed on the improvement for nursing practice through reading, analyzing and using nursing research.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): C or better in ENG 1020 or ENG 1021, Enrollment in the Honors Program.

Catalog Description: This variable topics course provides students with the opportunity to examine historical and/or contemporary issues from interdisciplinary perspectives. Course activities will include relevant readings from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, discussions encouraging synthesis and analysis of conflicting or competing views, and written assignments. B- or better required for Honors Credit

Note: This course may be repeated under different topics for a maximum of 9 credits


Spring 2021 Colloquium offerings

HON 39AE- Language, Body, Culture and Mind

Description: Language is central to our social existence because it offers us such a rich resource for communication. But it is argued that language is also deeply connected to how we perceive and experience the general world, both socially and physically. And as much as we think through language to fill our minds with intangible abstractions, we embody language to make the abstract tangible. But just how do we do this? There’s also the idea that such linguistic sense making is shaped culturally, so language would serve as a means to maintain sociocultural order as well as create sociocultural difference and variation. Through this course, students examine such ideas, along with the research, debates, and a bit of the history around the interconnection of language, body, culture, and mind.


PHI 39AC- Virtues Ancient and Modern

Description: What are the excellences we need to achieve happiness as individuals and to make our communities function well? This class explores ancient and contemporary responses to this question. We will begin with Ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval accounts of what the virtues are and why individuals and societies need them, considering the thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas. We will then look at debates around virtue in the early modern period, including the critiques of virtue put forward by Niccolò Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche. We will conclude by considering contemporary accounts of justice and the virtues put forward by thinkers such as John Rawls and Martha Nussbaum. We will examine which excellences are needed for us to live well and be good citizens in our current social and epistemic context. For your final project, you will conduct an in-depth study of a virtue and create a plan for how to practice it at an individual level or encourage it a social level.

Summer 2021 Colloquium offerings

HON 39AH - Observing the Skies

Description: This is an interdisciplinary seminar that explores the topic of the sky and human observation of it. This course brings together the sciences and the humanities through the disciplines of atmospheric science and art. We will study the color and compositions and the importance of the sky using the tools of these disciplines. The course begins with a short historical overview of the shift and differences between a mythic understanding of the cosmos to an empirical, scientific perspective. Students will learn about physical causes of atmospheric phenomena and the depiction of these phenomena in artworks throughout history. Students will engage in projects involving citizen science, data collection, and the production of their own art and personal reflection on the importance of the sky. Sessions will include guest speakers sharing varied modes of interpreting celestial colors. 

Fall 2021 Colloquium offerings

HON 39AF - Between Spaces and Places: US Anglophone Latinx Literature

Description: This course is an introduction to contemporary US Latinx literature written in English, with a focus on Mexican-Americans, Puerto Rican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Dominican-Americans. Representative works of various genres will be read and analyzed within a cultural context: drama, poetry, narrative (short story and novel), and film. Topics to be covered: individual and group identity in relationship to race/ethnicity/nationality, social/economic class, gender, being multicultural versus “living on the margins,” the struggle for self-determination, and notions of mestizaje and its impact on cultural production. The goals of the course, in addition to acquainting students with significant works of US Latinx literature, include strengthening reading ability and sharpening critical-thinking skills. 


HON 39AG - From Apathy to Empathy: Expanding Our Compassion

Description: This colloquium will incorporate the 1 Book/1 Project / 2 Transform selection A mind Spread Out on the Ground by award-winning Native author Alicia Elliott. We will use Elliott's memoir along with other readings from psychology, philosophy, sociology, and works of fiction to expand our understanding of issues like intergenerational trauma, oppression, mental illness, parenting, poverty, gentrification, and nutrition. We will explore individual and systemic barriers to empathic understanding. In addition to discussions, written reflections, and student projects, this course will feature guest speakers, community-based learning, and a visit from author Alicia Elliott. 

Credits: 1

Prerequisite(s): C or better in ENG 1020 or ENG 1021, Junior or Senior standing, enrollment in the Honors Program and permission from the Honors Director

Catalog Description: This course is to be taken prior to the Senior Honors Thesis (HON 4950) and is only open to Honors students. This course familiarizes students with project organization and the scope and proper format of an undergraduate thesis project. Each student will develop: a thesis statement, a project outline, an initial bibliography, and a working abstract. Each student will also identify a primary Thesis Advisor for the project. The Thesis Advisor is a faculty member with expertise in a discipline closely related to the topic of the thesis project. This course must be completed with a B- or better in order to advance to the Senior Honors Thesis. 


Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): HON 4948 with a B- or better, Senior standing, enrollment in the Honors Program and permission from the Honors Director, approval from student's department/degree program if taken in place of Departmental Senior Experience course. 

Catalog Description: The Senior Honors Thesis is the culmination of the Honors undergraduate experience allowing students to synthesize learning using critical analysis and logical thinking. In this course, students complete an independent research and/or creative project under the direction of a primary Thesis Advisor and the Honors Director. The Thesis Advisor is a faculty member with expertise in a discipline closely related to the topic of the thesis project. Students submit a written thesis and deliver a public oral presentation of their work. This course must be completed with a B- or better in order to count for Honors credit.

Note: Students are required to receive approval from their department chair if this course is taken in place of a departmental Senior Experience course. 

Credits: 1

Prerequisite(s): HON 4948 with a B- or better, Senior standing, enrollment in the Honors Program and permission from the Honors Director, approval from student's department/degree program

Catalog Description: This course must be taken in conjunction with a departmental Senior Experience, capstone, or advanced research course.

Note: Students are required to receive approval from their department chair if this course is taken in place of a departmental Senior Experience course. 

Departmental Honors Options

Students can earn credit toward Honors Program completion by demonstrating high achievement in a wide variety of courses offered through academic departments.

Up to 6 optional hours.

Honors students earn up to six hours of honors credit by demonstrating high achievement in select courses from across all academic departments.

Experiential Learning

Up to 6 optional hours

These opportunities may be offered in partnership with academic departments, the Applied Learning Center, and/or Study Abroad.

In order to receive Experiential Learning credit towards Honors, students must write a reflection based on either the Long or the Short Experiential Learning prompt found here


Honors students may earn up to 6 optional hours from a study abroad experience.

Please visit MSU Denver's study abroad portal for more information.


Students can participate in an internship for up to six optional hours towards honors completion. 

Co-Curricular Honors Options

Students also have the option to acquire hours toward the completion of the Honors Program by participating in a variety of co-curricular options

Maximum of 8 non-credit-bearing units

Serve as an officer in the Honors Student Council

Up to 3 optional units for year-long service

  • Serve as student representative for the Honors Program and Honors Council
  • Plan and execute a number of engaging events designed to promote thinking in our communities

Up to 3 optional units

  • Participate in D-phi related events
  • Participate in events organized and/or approved by the Student Honors Council
  • Participate in the RMHC yearly event (1 unit/year)
  • And more!
  • 4 activities = 1 unit

Find these events listed in the weekly update, and on the Upcoming Events page of the website!

Present undergraduate research at an academic conference

Up to 3 optional units, 1 unit/conference

  • Students should work with the Honors Program advisor and Student Travel to plan travel
  • Present at Western Regional Honors Conference (WRHC), yearly event 
  • Present at National Collegiate Honors Conference (NCHC), yearly event
  • Present at Undergraduate Research Conference (URC), yearly event
  • Present at a discipline-specific conference

Up to 6 optional units, 1.5 units/semester.

Serve as:

  • Student tutor
  • Supplemental Instruction Leader
  • Peer Ambassador
  • TA or RA
  • Writing Center Student Employee
  • New Student Orientation Student Employee
  • MET Report Student Employee
  • MET Media Student Employee
  • Theater Performance
  • Honors Student Employee
  • LA with TA/RA
  • Athletes 
  • Some of these options are also paid positions
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