The Honors Program at Clarkson University offers a unique curriculum focused on creative problem-solving at the interface between science, technology and society.

Our Honors curriculum, a separate track of courses that you take throughout your time at Clarkson, allows you to learn alongside fellow Honors students. In the first two years, we explore multiple perspectives, ethics, and community engagement. From this foundation, you pursue deep learning in research and in hands-on experiences, culminating in a capstone of your own making.

Our Unique, Hands-on Curriculum

Freshman Year

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Big Ideas

Because learning happens in a variety of ways, and we employ diverse tools when we solve problems, it is crucial for us to acquire skills and gain knowledge beyond our chosen majors. In this first-semester writing course, Honors students approach a big idea or significant issue through a variety of disciplinary perspectives and practices. The course is designed to strengthen students’ writing and critical thinking skills and build Honors’ students interdisciplinary vocabulary. This is a writing-based course that replaces UNIV 190 in the Clarkson Common Experience.

Introduction to Professional and Research Ethics

This course aims to introduce Honors Program students to various ways of thinking about the ethical issues and moral dilemmas that they will encounter in their future careers and to organize their thinking about what they should value and what principles they should act upon in order to act ethically. The first section of the course will focus on foundational issues in philosophical ethics, and the second section will focus on applications of these ethical theories to real-world professional and research settings.

Sophomore Year

Introduction to Community Engagement

Honors Students will be offered a foundation in cultural contexts of community engagement and service. We examine personal identity, interpersonal conflict and consensus, power structures, the concept of privilege, and the meaning of equitable community partnerships and outreach. Throughout the course, students will partner with local community organizations to complete 20 hours of service.

A Matter of Perspective: Reframing, Retelling, and Revision

In this course, we'll first explore how narratives represent points of view. We will situate the narratives we've received within their particular social and historical contexts. Then, we'll examine the ways in which writers, directors, historians, or political scientists reconfigure, revise, and reimagine narratives in order to shift dominant ways of knowing.

Junior Year

Philosophy and Epistemology of Science and Technology

We will explore the theory and practice of "doing science" through theoretical summaries and discussions and practical and technical workshops. Topics will include how scientific knowledge is created, what is the nature of scientific knowledge, how bias affects our access to scientific knowledge, and is scientific knowledge limited. We will explore practical aspects of doing science through readings, case study discussions, and role-playing on responsible conduct of research.

Honors Capstone Proposal Seminar 

You will develop a proposal for your project and choose a faculty mentor who will guide you from problem definition through the completion of your Capstone during your senior year. Your Capstone can take many forms, depending on your interests. In the class, students will participate in workshops on the elements of the capstone proposal introduction, literature review, methodology/approach, expected results, and logistics sections. Students go through drafting, revision, and review by their capstone project advisors peer-review by their classmates, and review by the Associate Director of Honors. A final draft of the capstone project proposal is sent out for independent evaluation, and the finished proposal becomes the basis of the Capstone report.

Senior Year

Honors Capstone Report Seminar

This course will guide honors program students through the first draft of their capstone project final report. Students will organize a capstone project final report through a variety of workshops and will update their introduction, literature review, and methodology/approaches sections. Students then will write up results/outcomes and implications and conclusions (or equivalent sections depending on the type of project they are pursuing). Students will receive input from the student's capstone project advisor, peers, and the Associate Director of Honors.

Solving for System Failures

This course explores failures in order to demonstrate your analytical and practical skills in systems thinking. Our first unit will explore how we define failure. Our second unit will explore what we can learn from examining major system failures. We'll use transdisciplinary case studies to investigate how and why notable contemporary or historical failures occurred. Our final unit will use a design approach and employ our own disciplinary and transdisciplinary expertise to propose possible solutions. 

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