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Successful completion of the Honors course curriculum requires that you earn twenty Honors credits from a total of five courses and either 2 or 4 credits from an Honors Independent Study (HNRS 499). The core curriculum may be completed in as few as four semesters with maximum flexibility for academic, clinical, internship, and work needs of students.

Beginning in 2020, Honors 420 will no longer be offered. Instead, all students will be required to take a 2-credit or 4-credit Independent Study at some point throughout their college career to work in conjunction with the Senior Project. Honors Independent Study information can be found here.


The semester by semester College Honors Core Curriculum is set forth below.

The College Honors Core Curriculum Four Year Sequence:

HNRS 101 - Honors First Year Seminar

The Honors First Year Seminar (FYS)* provides a comprehensive introduction to Honors-level learning. Seminar courses are developed around an academic theme or topic based on the expertise of each course instructor. Together with a peer facilitator, the FYS instructors introduce students to the academic and co-curricular programming of the College Honors Program and to all-college life generally. FYS seminars emphasize critical reading, writing, and discussion and focus on intellectual engagement, experiential learning, the methodology of the discipline being studied, and social responsibility to the larger community. FYS students will also participate in the Ramapo Summer Reading Program. This course fulfills the General Education requirement for First Year Seminar.

*The Honors First Year Seminar is not required of continuing students entering the program after their first year who have already taken a First Year Seminar.

HNRS 110 - Honors Social Science Inquiry

This course focuses on contemporary social issues and inequality through an interdisciplinary social science lens.  Focusing on gender, race, class, sexuality, and (dis)ability, we explore how individual and societal factors impact and perpetuate inequalities, and we start to brainstorm solutions for addressing these social problems.

HNRS 201 - Honors Studies in Arts & Humanities

This section of Honors Studies in Arts and Humanities focuses on ideas about “utopia” and “dystopia” from the ancient world to our own time. What would the “perfect” society look like? Would such a world even be possible? Would it be desirable? Why do utopian dreams so often become dystopian nightmares? The four books that will be required for the course are Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two, and Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. These will be joined by a number of shorter readings, including weekly poems that take up the themes of the course. Students will be encouraged to bring into class discussion the various treatments of utopia and dystopia that are very much a part of our contemporary culture, from The Hunger Games books and movies to television shows such as “Black Mirror” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” to the many post-apocalyptic video games.

Steve Rice (Professor of American Studies)

HNRS 220 - Honors Global Awareness Seminar

The United States and East Asia have had profound influences in shaping each other’s history over the past two centuries.  From destabilizing the Tokugawa Shogun and Christianizing Chosŏn Korea in the nineteenth century to contemplating a competitive Chinese superpower in the twenty-first, this course will explore the cultural, political, economic, and strategic relations between the United States and China, Japan, and Korea as well as the Philippines and Vietnam.

Tae Kwak (Assoc. Professor of History)

HNRS 325: Honors Values & Ethics Seminar

The College Honors Ethics Seminar offers an opportunity for students to focus on the exploration and development of personal values, civic engagement, and applied ethics. Courses offered will include an opportunity for students to develop their individual moral identity based on critical analysis of personal background, readings and discussion. Texts, art and materials in a variety of media may include consideration meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, political philosophy, ethics in the professions, and ethics in art. Ethics will be considered in a social, cultural and historical context. Courses will include experiential components designed to assist students in becoming responsible members of the local and wider communities as contributing members. This course fulfills the General Education requirement for Topics: Values and Ethics.

HNRS 499: Honors Independent Study

An independent study is a course in which you are the only student. You and the faculty sponsor must develop a syllabus with deadlines, grading system, meeting times, assigned readings and writing assignments, etc. That syllabus must meet with the approval of your school Dean and the Director of the Honors Program. This requires planning and preparation well in advance of the end of add/drop at the very start of the semester. You and your instructor should review the requirements and deadlines for the Senior Project as you develop the syllabus and make your Faculty Reader aware of your plan. All of the necessary forms can be found on the Honors Documents page.