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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.




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 integrates both the theory and practical skills of topic research, composition, delivery, and criticism of public speaking. Skill development includes effective public presentation strategies and audience analysis. Students develop critical listening skills by evaluating their own public-speaking style, as well as the effectiveness of their peers and professional speakers. This course builds public-speaking confidence, and introduces the student to the power of public rhetoric in social and professional contexts. May be taught as hybrid.

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: 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

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): ENG 1010 or ENG 1009 with a grade of C- or better; Student in the Honors program or approval by the Honors Director

Catalog Description: This is a course for students in the Honors Program and addresses the process of writing extended essays supported by research. The course includes an introduction to research methods, practice in critical reading, thinking, and writing across the disciplines, integration of source material, and the conventions of MLA and APA styles of documentation. Students can expect to do a series of shorter writing and research assignments leading to the longer, documented paper and will write reflectively on their writing process.

Note: Because of continual development in research technology and techniques, credits ten years or older, from any institution, will not transfer. ENG 1021 requires a grade of C- or better to fulfill the General Studies requirement.

General Studies: Written Communication 

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 Professional and Scholarly Writing 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): ENG 1020 or ENG 1021, Junior-level standing, or permission of the instructor

Catalog Description: Students explore the expectations that shape scholarly writing in their various disciplines and employ the correct forms, interpret and synthesize the literature, and presentment of their researched writing to various audiences. Students draw on research appropriate for discipline-specific publications and/or conference presentations. During this course, students learn to transform their work into publishable articles with the guidance of instructor feedback and peer review.

General Studies: Written Communication


CAS 3910 Advanced Public Speaking 

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): CAS 1010 or CAS 1090 or CAS 1710 or HON 1013 or Permission of Instructor

Catalog 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.


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


Fall 2019 Colloquium Offerings

HON 391W - The Art of Living: Ways of Life in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, Religion, and Literature

Description: What does it take to live a good life and achieve happiness and well-being? Is there an art of living that can guarantee our lives will turn out well (or at least improve our chances)? We will look at the approaches to this question found in a wide variety of Ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, from Plato and Augustine to Sophocles and Seneca. We will also consider the ways in which contemporary thinkers, such as Martha Nussbaum and Pierre Hadot, are appropriating these ancient approaches to living. In addition to understanding the overall views of the human condition found in these authors, we will also examine and engage with the practices and “spiritual exercises” (as Hadot calls them) that embody these ways of life. Your final project will involve reflection on how these ways of life could be practiced in contemporary life and how attractive (or unattractive) they are.


HON 391Z - Conversations about Violence: The First 4,000 Years

Description: In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, acclaimed social psychologist Steven Pinker provides evidence of how and why the world is becoming, overall, less violent. He illustrates his arguments with statistics and data, and also ancient epics an mythologies, and literature. In this course we will use Pinker's periodization of the history of violence to consider different attitudes toward violence in narratives from Viking culture, Indian epic, Japanese monogatari, contemporary film, and more. The course evaluates his conclusion that violence has declined and considers this question: for whom?  


Spring 2020 Colloquium Offerings

HON 391U - Environment, People, and Place

Description: Looking at a variety of human-environment integrations from local to global perspectives, the course is divided into four main themes. 1) Introduction to political ecology, 2) climate change, 3) environmental justice, 4) and sustainable development. We will examine theories and case studies to better understand how social and natural worlds are intertwined.


HON 391Y - Food Cultures

Description: This course is an exploration of how food procurement, dietary practices and performances across cultures are related to environments and subsistence strategies, moral sensibilities, socioeconomic and political conditions, and various social identities. Using an anthropological approach, students will examine how the ideological, emotional, symbolic, aesthetic, and social value of food and its marketing varies across cultures.


HIS 39AB / PHI 39AA / PSC 39AH - Civic Virtue and American Democracy

Description: This course, with the support of the Hart Center for Public Service, explores the reasons our nation’s founders spoke and wrote in the language of the republic, and why they sought to create an American Republic on an unprecedented scope and scale.  The course examines concepts of republican thought throughout history, and students will study the role of civic duty and participation within the ideal republic, as well as the challenges republics face.  Seminar readings will be supplemented by guest speakers who have unique expertise or who have been trailblazers in charting new courses in public service, shedding light on issues such as the meaning of citizenship, the relationship between a government and its people, and the contours of rights, liberties, and responsibilities within a republic.

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

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 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
  • Many of these options are also paid positions
  • These opportunities are offered in partnership with Student Academic Success, First Year Success, Individualized Degree Programs, and through certain academic departments
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