Course Catalog

The Honors Program

Director: Linda Tredennick
Associate Director: Karen Petruska

The Honors Program at Gonzaga is an energetic community of students and scholars dedicated to flourishing in our new and changing world. The program provides students with innovative and immersive educational experiences designed to empower them to lead lives of meaning, service, and leadership into the future.


The Honors educational experience begins with a three-day immersion experience, in which students meet each other and begin to bond as a cohort, as well as learn to orient themselves in Spokane, at Gonzaga, and as Honors students. Students then take the Honors First Year Block, a rich, integrated, and interdisciplinary learning experience shared by all students entering the Honors program. Students are introduced to the complex structure and problems of contemporary society while also honing the foundational academic skills of critical reasoning, analysis, and communication. Ideas and experiences are shared across collaboratively-taught, student-centered, and interdisciplinary courses.

Throughout their time at Gonzaga, Honors students have reserved seats in Honors Designated courses: innovative and exciting courses taught by award-winning faculty. In addition, Honors Colloquia are designed for Honors students; these courses are collaboratively taught and interdisciplinary examinations of complex, timely, and urgent topics facing our global society. Examples of topics covered in Honors Colloquia are: identity formation and identity politics, race and representation, climate change, educational policy and advocacy, poverty, and homelessness.

Finally, Honors students complete their undergraduate career with the Honors capstone experience. Students imagine and then design a personalized project that both integrates their undergraduate learning and allows them experience which will meaningfully contribute to their future goals. These projects may take the form of researched, academic writing, an internship, creative inquiry – whatever is best suited to the individual students interests and goals.

The Honors program has a wide experience with a number of study abroad programs catering to various fields of interest, including engineering, the physical sciences, and business. Honors students are strongly encouraged to spend a semester abroad.

Student Development

One of the most important elements of the Honors program is the community, friendship, and mentorship it provides. Dillon Hall is the home of the Honors Living-Learning Community, providing a quiet, library-style study lounge, a lounge for socializing and relaxing, a kitchen, recreational equipment, academic space, and access to Honors Faculty. Throughout the year, the program hosts many events, including socials for the Bigs/Littles (student mentorship) program, open mic nights, lectures, open houses for families and the Gonzaga community, and the annual Haunted House. The two all-program retreats, Christmas party, and Senior brunch are always highlights of the academic year.


Students can apply for the Honors program as they apply for admission to Gonzaga. A few students are also accepted at the end of their first year at Gonzaga. Acceptance is based not only on evidence of previous academic achievement, but also on promise of future success. The application process values extra-curricular interests, intellectual curiosity and engagement, and ability to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the program. For more information, one can contact the Honors Program office at 509-313-6547.

University Core Requirements

Honors students are responsible for completing the following University Core Requirements either through an Honors course or through the general catalogue: Literature, Christian and Catholic Traditions, World/Comparative Religion, Fine Arts, Scientific Inquiry, History, Math, Human Nature, Ethics. The completion of these course requirements with an HONS course subject will fulfill both the Honors program requirement and the University core requirement towards the completion of a students degree.


Honors Program Requirements


Students must take the following courses to complete their Honors degree

HONS 100 Multi-modal Communications 3 credits
HONS 101 Honors Reasoning 3 credits
HONS 193 First Year Seminar  3 credits
HONS 432 Honors Core Integration Seminar 3 credits

HONS 499 Honors Senior Project

3 credits


In addition, students must complete five Honors Designated courses. These courses are cross-listed with regular University courses, and can fulfill core or major requirements.

HONS designated courses  15-16 credits
Science Inquiry (3 credits)

HONS 104 Science Inquiry (2-3 credits)
HONS 104L Science Inquiry Lab (1 credit) 
HONS 201 Honors Human Nature (3 credits)
HONS 217 Honors Special Topics: Math (3 credits)
HONS 220 Honors Christian Catholic Traditions (3 credits)
HONS 221 Honor World or Global Religion (3 credits)
HONS 241 Honors World Civilization (3 credits)
HONS 243 Honors United States History (3 credits)
HONS 247 Honors Special Topics History (4 credits)
HONS 267 Honors Special Topics in Art (3 credits)
HONS 287 Honors Special Topics in Literature (3 credits)
HONS 301 Honors Ethics (3 credits)

Honors students must take two Honors colloquia. Course numbers may be repeated for credit.

Honors Colloquia  6 credits
HONS 290 Honors Colloquium (3 credits)
HONS 390 Honors Colloquium (3 credits)

In order to remain an Honors student in good standing, a student must:

  1. Complete the Honors First Year Block (HONS 193, HONS 100, and PHIL 101H) or the transfer equivalent within one academic year of joining the program.
  2. Must either complete 6 credit hours of HONS courses (or courses with the Honors Designation) per academic year, or be within 12 credit hours of completing the Honors requirements. Exceptions will be made for students studying abroad during the academic year.
  3. Must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.3 at the time of graduation and good academic standing throughout their tenure at Gonzaga (as defined by the undergraduate catalogue). Students who drop below a 3.0 for two consecutive semesters will be removed from the program (subject to Director review).


Students who fail to meet these requirements will be removed from the program and will no longer qualify for the Honors scholarship.


    Lower Division
    HONS 100 Multi-modal Communications
    3.00 credits
    Fall, annually.
    HONS 104 Science Inquiry
    2.00- 3.00 credits
    This lecture and laboratory course content will be determined by the instructor to meet the learning objectives of the Scientific Inquiry requirement of the University Core. Fall and Spring.
    HONS 104L
    HONS 104L Science Inquiry Lab
    1.00 credit
    Taken concurrently with HONS 104.
    HONS 104
    HONS 107 Honors Science
    3.00 credits
    HONS 180 Honors Intro to Literature
    3.00 credits
    HONS 190 Freshman Honors Colloquium
    3.00 credits
    For Honors Students
    HONS 193 FYS:
    3.00 credits
    The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces new Gonzaga students to the University, the Core Curriculum, and Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission and heritage. While the seminars will be taught by faculty with expertise in particular disciplines, topics will be addressed in a way that illustrates approaches and methods of different academic disciplines. The seminar format of the course highlights the participatory character of university life, emphasizing that learning is an active, collegial process.
    HONS 201 Honors Human Nature
    3.00 credits
    Philosophical study of human nature, the human condition, the meaning and value of human life, and the human relationship to ultimate reality, with attention to such issues as the nature and possible existence of the soul, the relation between body and mind, belief and knowledge, freedom vs. determinism, and the possibility of human immortality. Fall. For Honors students.
    HONS 207 Honors Topics in Science
    3.00- 5.00 credits
    HONS 207L Honors Topics Sci Lab
    .00- 1.00 credits
    HONS 207
    HONS 217 Honors Spec Top: Math
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    See course description for cross listed course.
    HONS 219 Special Topics: SEAS
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 220 Honors Christian Catholic Trad
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    See course description for cross listed course.
    HONS 221 Honor World or Global Religion
    3.00 credits
    HONS 237 Topics in Sociology
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 241 Foundations of the West
    3.00 credits
    A survey of the origins of western civilization in the Near East; classical Greek and Roman civilizations; and developments in Europe to 1648.
    HIST 101 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
    HONS 242 The West and the World
    3.00 credits
    HIST 102 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
    HONS 243 Honors US History
    3.00 credits
    HONS 247 Honors Spec Top History
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    Topic to be determined by instructor.
    HONS 267 Honors Spec Topics in Art
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 276 Honors Adv Math
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 285 Honors Communication
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 287 Honors Spec Top in Literature
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    Topics will be approved by the Department Chair.
    HONS 290 Sophomore Honors Colloquium
    3.00 credits
    For Honors Students
    HONS 190 Minimum Grade: D or HONS 193 Minimum Grade: D
    Upper Division
    HONS 301 Honors Ethics
    3.00 credits
    A general theory of the goals of human life and the norms of moral behavior; the theory will be applied to several specific moral problems. Fall and Spring.
    HONS 310 Honors Topics Nursing
    2.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 320 Honors Topics Psycholgy
    3.00 credits
    HONS 330 Topics in Education
    3.00 credits
    HONS 380 Special Topics in Writing
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 381 Special Topics In Literature
    3.00 credits
    HONS 385 Honors: Modern Language
    3.00- 4.00 credits
    Topic determined by cross listed course.
    HONS 387 Honors Special Topic
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 390 Junior Honors Colloquium
    3.00 credits
    For Honors Students
    HONS 190 Minimum Grade: D or HONS 193 Minimum Grade: D
    HONS 417 Topics in Math
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 432 CIS
    3.00 credits
    The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) engages the Year Four Question: “Imagining the possible: What is our role in the world?” by offering students a culminating seminar experience in which students integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the Core, and their disciplinary expertise. Each section of the course will focus on a problem or issue raised by the contemporary world that encourages integration, collaboration, and problem solving. The topic for each section of the course will be proposed and developed by each faculty member in a way that clearly connects to the Jesuit Mission, to multiple disciplinary perspectives, and to our students’ future role in the world.
    HONS 455 Health Care Ethics Honors
    3.00 credits
    Ethical concepts and issues in the medical field: personhood, relationship between health care professional and patient, experimentation, rights to health care, and allocation of health care resources.
    PHIL 455 - OK if taken since Fall 2021
    HONS 457 Topics in Eningeering
    1.00- 4.00 credits
    HONS 490 Senior Honors Colloquium
    .00- 3.00 credits
    For Honors Students
    HONS 190 Minimum Grade: D
    HONS 491 Independent Study
    1.00- 6.00 credits
    Topic to be determined by faculty.
    HONS 497 Honors Leadership Internship
    1.00- 3.00 credits
    Internship requires completion of a form, and Dept. permission and cannot be registered for via ZAGWEB. For Honors Students.
    HONS 190 Minimum Grade: D
    HONS 499 Honors Senior Project
    3.00 credits
    Fall, annually.
    HONS 432 Minimum Grade: C

    In addition to their major and minor areas of study, all undergraduate students follow a common program designed to complete their education in those areas that the University considers essential for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal, and humanistic education. The University Core Curriculum consists of forty-five credits of course work, with additional designation requirements that can be met through core, major, or elective courses.

    The University Core Curriculum is a four-year program, organized around one overarching question, which is progressively addressed through yearly themes and questions. Hence, core courses are best taken within the year for which they are designated. First year core courses encourage intellectual engagement and provide a broad foundation of fundamental skills. Second and third year courses examine central issues and questions in philosophy and religious studies. The fourth year course, the Core Integration Seminar, offers a culminating core experience. Taken at any time throughout the four years, broadening courses intersect with the core themes and extend students’ appreciation for the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. Finally, the designation requirements (writing enriched, global studies, and social justice) reflect important values and reinforce students’ knowledge and competencies.

    Overarching Core Question: As students of a Catholic, Jesuit, and Humanistic University, how do we educate ourselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community?
    Year 1 Theme and Question: Understanding and Creating: How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?

    • The First-Year Seminar (DEPT 193, 3 credits): The First-Year Seminar (FYS), taken in the fall or spring of the first year, is designed to promote an intellectual shift in students as they transition to college academic life. Each small seminar is organized around an engaging topic, which students explore from multiple perspectives. The FYS is offered by many departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of FYS courses).  
    • Writing (ENGL 101, 3 credits) and Reasoning (PHIL 101, 3 credits): The Writing and Reasoning courses are designed to help students develop the foundational skills of critical reading, thinking, analysis, and writing. They may be taken as linked sections. Writing (ENGL 101) carries one of the three required writing-enriched designations (see below).
    • Communication & Speech (COMM 100, 3 credits): This course introduces students to interpersonal and small group communication and requires the application of critical thinking, reasoning, and research skills necessary to organize, write, and present several speeches.
    • Scientific Inquiry (BIOL 104/104L, CHEM 104/104L, or PHYS 104/104L, 3 credits): This course explores the scientific process in the natural world through evidence-based logic and includes significant laboratory experience. Students pursuing majors that require science courses will satisfy this requirement through their major.
    • Mathematics (above Math 100, 3 credits): Mathematics courses promote thinking according to the modes of the discipline—abstractly, symbolically, logically, and computationally. One course in mathematics, above Math 100, including any math course required for a major or minor, will fulfill this requirement. MATH 100 (College Algebra) and courses without the MATH prefix do not fulfill this requirement.

    Year 2 Theme and Question: Being and Becoming: Who are we and what does it mean to be human?

    • Philosophy of Human Nature (PHIL 201, 3 credits): This course provides students with a philosophical study of key figures, theories, and intellectual traditions that contribute to understanding the human condition; the meaning and dignity of human life; and the human relationship to ultimate reality.
    • Christianity and Catholic Traditions (RELI, 3 credits). Religious Studies core courses approved for this requirement explore diverse topics including Christian scriptures, history, theology, and practices as well as major contributions from the Catholic intellectual and theological traditions (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses) .

    Year 3 Theme and Question: Caring and Doing: What principles characterize a well lived life?

    • Ethics (PHIL 301 or RELI, 3 credits): The Ethics courses are designed to help students develop their moral imagination by exploring and explaining the reasons humans should care about the needs and interests of others. This requirement is satisfied by an approved ethics course in either Philosophy (PHIL 301) or Religious Studies (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
    • World/Comparative Religion (RELI, 3 credits): Religious Studies courses approved for this core requirement draw attention to the diversity that exists within and among traditions and encourage students to bring critical, analytical thinking to bear on the traditions and questions considered. These courses carries one of the required two global-studies designations (see below) (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

    Year 4 Theme and Question: Imagining the Possible: What is our role in the world?” 

    • Core Integration Seminar (DEPT 432, 3 credits). The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) offers students a culminating core experience in which they integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the core, and their disciplinary expertise. Some CIS courses may also count toward a student’s major or minor. The CIS is offered by several departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of CIS courses).

    The Broadening Courses

    • Fine Arts & Design (VART, MUSC, THEA, 3 credits): Arts courses explore multiple ways the human experience can be expressed through creativity, including across different cultures and societies. One approved course in fine arts, music, theatre, or dance will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
    • History (HIST, 3 credits): History courses are intended to develop students’ awareness of the historical context of both the individual and the collective human experience. One course in History (HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 112, HIST 201, HIST 202) will fulfill this requirement.
    • Literature (3 credits): Literature courses foster reflection on how literature engages with a range of human experience. One approved course in Literature (offered by English, Classics, or Modern Languages) will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
    • Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Courses in the social and behavioral sciences engage students in studying human behavior, social systems, and social issues. One approved course offered by Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

    The Designations
    Designations are embedded within already existing core, major, minor, and elective courses. Students are encouraged to meet designation requirements within elective courses as their schedule allows; however, with careful planning students should be able to complete most of the designation requirements within other core, major, or minor courses.

    • Writing Enriched (WE; 3 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the WE designation are designed to promote the humanistic and Jesuit pedagogical ideal of clear, effective communication. In addition to the required core course, Writing (ENGL 101), which carries one of the WE designations, students must take two other WE-designated courses (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
    • Global-Studies (GS; 2 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the GS designation are designed to challenge students to perceive and understand human diversity by exploring diversity within a context of constantly changing global systems. In addition to the required core course, World/Comparative Religion (RELI 300-level), which carries one of the GS designations, students must take one other GS-designated course (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
    • Social-Justice (SJ; 1 course meeting this designation): Courses carrying the SJ designation are designed to introduce students to one or more social justice concerns. Students must take one course that meets the SJ designation (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

    Major-specific adaptations to the University Core Curriculum

    All Gonzaga students, regardless of their major, will complete the University Core Curriculum requirements. However some Gonzaga students will satisfy certain core requirements through major-specific programs or courses. Any major-specific adaptations to the core are described with the requirements for the majors to which they apply.