Pierre Laclede Honors College


The Pierre Laclede Honors College mission is to enrich significantly the educational experience of a select group of highly motivated and intelligent undergraduates. With this in mind, it enrolls promising students who give clear indication that they are ready to accept academic challenges and become creatively involved in the learning process.

Given this special mission, the college has a unique structure and identity. Unlike the university's other schools and colleges, it has no academic departments or areas of its own, and it grants no degrees. Instead, it brings together a cross section of the university's students and teachers in a special curriculum in which courses are designed to meet students’ general education and other breadth of study requirements.

  • A four-year program open to entering freshmen and extending over a student's entire undergraduate career;
  • A two-year program open to a select group of third-year students who are either continuing at or have transferred to the university and are engaged in work on a major.

The Honors College Writing Portfolio
Both programs include participation in the Honors College writing program, Writing through the Curriculum, which involves formal courses in composition (including at least two of Honors 1200(10), 3100(210), and 4100(310) ) and informal consultations with the director of the writing program.  In the final year, this culminates in the compilation of a personal Honors College writing portfolio. 

Undergraduate Research
All Honors College students must fulfill a 6-credit-hour independent study requirement (see below under Curriculum).  Many students meet all or part of this requirement by undertaking a research project supervised by faculty in their major department.  Additional financial support is available for supervised undergraduate research projects in all majors. 

Honors College instructors are drawn from faculty in all academic divisions of the university but mainly from the “traditional disciplines” of  the College of Arts and Sciences. What all these teachers share in common is a willingness to work closely with intellectually curious and academically high-achieving students.  Faculty design courses directed toward such an audience and based on small discussion seminars.   Thus the honors faculty is an organic body, growing each semester as new faculty join in the honors project.  Their talents add to the Honors College’s already rich instructional pool of more than 100 regular and full-time faculty, many of whose teaching and scholarship have been singled out for special professional and university awards.

Honors Scholars
Honors College scholars are our students, highly qualified and motivated individuals from a broad range of public and private secondary schools and colleges.  They enter the college with diverse backgrounds and interests and remain part of it while simultaneously enrolling in classes and pursuing bachelor's degrees in other academic divisions of the university. 

Most honors students major in the traditional liberal arts disciplines spanning the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences, but about a third focus on using their undergraduate education to prepare for careers in business, education, nursing, or engineering.  Whatever their undergraduate majors, most Honors College students plan to go on to graduate study or professional schools, although a significant number successfully seek employment immediately after graduation.   Honors faculty and staff provide advice and guidance in both course choice and career plans .

Pierre Laclede Honors College offers both a four-year program (for students admitted as freshmen) and a two-year program (for transfer students from within the UM-St. Louis or from outside the university).

Four-Year Program (40 credit hours total):
Approximately one-third of the 120 hours honors students earn toward graduation are taken in the Honors College or under its auspices.  Most of these credits are associated with a sequence of honors courses designed specifically for the college, the majority of which are taken during the first two years.  During this period, these students fulfill virtually all of the university's general education requirements, usually in innovative ways. In their junior and senior years, honors scholars also earn honors credit for work done within their major fields, work which includes the possibility of internships, independent study projects, and advanced undergraduate research. 

First Year (15 credit hours):
Scholars take Honors 1100(10), 1200(20), and 1300(30), and one course each from the Western Traditions and Non-Western Traditions seminar series.  Students may take a seminar from the American Traditions series as an elective or in place of either a Western or a Non-Western Traditions seminar. 
1100(10), Freshman Composition
1200(20), Cities and Good Lives: Knowledge, Decisions, and Consequences.
1300(30), Critical Analysis
1110-1150(111-5), The Western Traditions Series
1210-1250(121-5), The American Traditions Series (elective)
1310-1350(131-5), The Non-Western Traditions Series

Second Year (6 credit hours):
Scholars take two of the following Honors classes:
 2010(201), Inquiries in the Humanities
 2020(202), Inquiries in the Fine and Performing Arts
 2030(203), Inquiries in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
 2040(204), Inquiries in Mathematics and Computing
 2050(205), Inquiries in the Sciences
 2060(206), Inquiries in Business
 2070(207), Inquiries in Education
 2080(208), Inquiries in Nursing

Honors students in the four-year program may also take Honors 3100(210) to meet their advanced composition graduation requirement. 

During the first two years, honors scholars will take additional course work in other areas, such as mathematics, natural science, foreign language, and major prerequisite classes to satisfy various university, Honors College, and specific degree requirements.

Third and Fourth Years (19 credit hours):
Honors scholars in the four-year program take at least four seminars (12 credit hours) from the Advanced Seminar (3010-3080)(301-308) and/or Research Seminar (3510-3580)(351-358) series.   They may take more, and many do where this is compatible with their major and/or minor requirements.  In addition, honors students do 6 credit hours in independent study projects, normally in or closely related to their major field.  These independent study projects normally carry credit in the major, but can be done as Honors College independent study or research projects (Honors 4900-4990(390-399).  During the final year, students also take Honors 4100(310), a 1-credit capstone for the Honors College writing program.   

Two-Year Program (22 credit hours total):
Scholars in this program will take a combination of Honors College courses and also earn honors independent study credit for work done in their major fields.  The 22 credit hours must include 6 credits of independent study, as for the four-year program. 

Third Year (9 credits):
During the first year of the two-year program, students take three honors seminars, including 3100(210), Advanced Composition: Writing the City; one course from the Inquiries series (2010(201)-2080(208); one course from either the Advanced Seminar (3010(301)-3080(308) or Research Seminar (3510(351)-3580(358) series.  In addition, 3 credit hours of independent study may be taken during this year, normally in or closely related to their major.  

Fourth Year (7 credits):
The final year of the two-year program involves three courses chosen from the 3000(200) and 4000(300) level options, including 4100(310), the honors writing portfolio (1 credit hour) and at least one course chosen from the 3010(301)-3080(308) or 3510(351)-3580(358) series.   In addition, students will complete their independent study requirements with 3 or 6 hours of project, internship, or research work. 

Other academic features and requirements.

The satisfactory/unsatisfactory option does not apply to any course work undertaken for Honors College credit.

Admission and Retention.
To be considered for admission to either the two-year or four-year honors program, a candidate must file a special Honors College application as well as a general university application.  These application forms and additional information concerning scholarship and stipend awards, general eligibility guidelines, and the admissions process are available from the Honors College administrative office at (314)516-6870 or from the office of admissions. 

Scholarships and stipends. 
Every new freshman or transfer student admitted to the Honors College receives academic scholarship support.   Scholars continue to receive these awards as long as they meet the criteria associated with their particular scholarship grant. 

Good academic standing.
To remain in good standing, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA, in all his or her UM-St. Louis courses, of at least 3.2, and must continue to meet the requirements of the honors program for which he or she was initially admitted.  Unless other arrangements have been made, Honors College students are also expected to be full time, that is, to register for and satisfactorily complete at least 12 credit hours per semester.   Students wishing to enter the Honors College as part-time students, or to change to part-time status, must make prior arrangements with the Honors College dean.

UM-St. Louis: an Urban Land Grant Institution  
Given its location in St. Louis, and because it is part of an urban land grant university, Pierre Laclede Honors College seeks to encourage awareness of the manifold benefits of pursuing an undergraduate education in a dynamic and varied urban community.  This is accomplished partly through the Honors Curriculum (for instance, Honors 1200(20) and 3100(210) are focused on "the city") through facilitating cultural and other outings in the city, and by encouraging students to include in their academic program courses, research projects, and/or internships which exploit the university's manifold connections with city people and its partnerships with leading city institutions such as the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Missouri Historical Society, and the Mercantile Library of St. Louis.  Many honors students fulfill all or part of their independent study requirements working through such partnerships.

International Study and Other Exchange Programs
Honors students are encouraged to consider a semester's or a year's study at another institution. This can be done through the University's Center for International Studies, which administers exchanges with more than 70 universities in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South and Central America.  Students in the Honors and International Business program are normally required to spend at least a semester abroad as an exchange student or on an approved international business internship.

Or students may, through the National Student Exchange, which is administered for the university by the Honors College, attend any one of more than 100 universities in the United States and Canada.

Course Descriptions

Please note that all honors courses are planned to fulfill UM-St. Louis graduation requirements, primarily in general education and the state requirement for American history and government.  For further guidance on these requirements, please see the university general education matrix.

Selected Honors courses may also meet divisional area study requirements, for instance in international studies or cultural diversity.  Please note also that several Honors courses in the 3000(200) and 4000(300) levels, can be used to fulfill major, minor, and certificate requirements, where that has been agreed by other divisions or departments of the university. 

Honors course lists and descriptions, published each semester before the beginning of the registration period, identify clearly those seminars that fulfill these various requirements.  When in doubt, students are urged to consult their Honors College advisor.

Important note:  Unless otherwise indicated, all Honors seminars and courses require students to obtain the consent of the dean or associate dean of the Honors College at registration.

1100(10) Freshman Composition (3) [C]
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College. Theory and practice of writing expository prose. Emphasis on individual tutorial. Assignments will be linked with topics discussed in Honors 101.

1200(20) Cities and Good Lives: Knowledge, Decisions, and Consequences (3) [MI, SS]
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College.  Introduces students to the city and to a wide range of academic disciplines relevant to acquiring knowledge about the city, to making decisions about the city, and to understanding the impact of those decisions on the lives of people who work, play, and live in the city.  Involves students with city institutions, organizations, and people, and introduces several main disciplinary areas offered by the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

1300(30) Critical Analysis (3) [C, H]
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College. An introduction to the forms and techniques of rational discussion. The emphasis is on improving skills in identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and formulating arguments. Topics include deductive and non-deductive reasoning, causal analysis, analogical arguments, logical fallacies, vagueness and ambiguity, methods of definition, and argumentative writing.

1110-1150(111-115) Western Traditions (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College.  All Western Traditions seminars will be based on the reading and discussion of works of exceptional importance in the development of western culture and civilization.  The works to be discussed in each seminar will follow a central theme (defined by its particular relevance to the traditional academic disciplinary areas of the humanities, arts, social sciences, mathematics, or sciences) but will relate that theme to wider developments in Western Traditions and to the American concept of a liberal education.

1110(111) Western Traditions: Humanities [C, H]. 
1120(112) Western Traditions: Arts
1130(113) Western Traditions: Social and Behavioral Sciences [C, SS]
1140(114) Western Traditions: Mathematics
1150(115) Western Traditions: the Sciences

1210-1250(121-125) American Traditions (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College. Honors seminars in the American Traditions series involve readings and discussion of major importance in the development of the culture, politics, ideologies, and values which are or have been characteristic of the United States of America.  Every American Traditions seminar will cover a broad range of time, and each may include contemporary issues.  American Traditions 1230(123) (Social Sciences) satisfies the American history and government requirement, and any course in the American Traditions sequence may be taken to satisfy one of the core requirements for the American Studies minor.

1210(121) American Traditions: Humanities (C, H)
1220(122) American Traditions: The Arts
1230(123) American Traditions: Social and Behavioral Sciences (V, SS)
1240(124) American Traditions: Mathematics
1250(125) American Traditions: The Sciences

1310-1350(131-135) Non-Western Traditions (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College.  Study of Non-Western societies, "traditional" or "modern," offers a reminder that, however defined, "the West" does not encompass the full range of human potentiality whether in terms of culture, values, behavior or ideas.  Based on reading of significant primary texts and/or important secondary works, these seminars remind us of the realities of human diversity and provide perspectives on our own world.  Non-Western Traditions seminars may be used to satisfy cultural diversity general education requirements.

1310(131) Non-Western Traditions: Humanities [MI, CD, H] 
1320(132) Non-Western Traditions: The Arts [CD]
1330(133) Non-Western Traditions: Social and Behavioral Sciences [C, V, CD, SS]
1340(134) Non-Western Traditions: Mathematics [CD]
1350(135) Non-Western Traditions: The Sciences [CD]

2010-2080(201-208) Honors Inquiries (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College.  Inquiries seminars focus on the particular contributions academic disciplines can make to relatively broad areas of inquiry, and reading, discussion, writing and where appropriate, laboratory work or field trips will enhance students= understanding of the strengths, frailties, and particular characteristics of one or more disciplinary strategies.  Inquiries courses may be used to meet relevant General education requirements.  Where special arrangements have been agreed, they can meet more specific departmental and divisional requirements.  The course number may be repeated for credit whenever the topic is substantially different.

2010(201) Inquiries in the Humanities [C, H]
2020(202) Inquiries in the Fine and Performing Arts [C, H]
2030(203) Inquiries in the Social and Behavioral Sciences [SS]
2040(204) Inquiries in Mathematics and Computing  [MS]
2050(205) Inquiries in the Natural Sciences [C, MS]
2060(206) Inquiries in Business
2070(207)Inquiries in Education
2080(208)Inquiries in Nursing

3100(210) Honors Advanced Composition: Writing the City (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the Dean of the Honors College.  Enhances critical thinking, research, discussion, and writing skills by focusing on the city of St. Louis and on the specific fields of study of those enrolled in the course.  Issues such as depth and development of content, voice, style, tone, correct expression, and research techniques are among the topics emphasized.  Students maintain a Commonplace Book of journals, drafts, and creative writings; they also submit a minimum of four formal papers.  This course is required for transfer students (two-year Honors Program) and an elective for students on the four-year program.  For students on either program, Honors 3100(210) meets the Advanced Composition requirement of the university.

3010(301) Advanced Honors Seminar (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the dean of the Honors College. Open only to Honors College Students and not acceptable for graduate credit.  Usually restricted to juniors and seniors, these advanced seminars focus on in-depth study of a significant body of subject matter.  The perspective employed will normally be interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary and will underscore the value of making connections between diverse areas of study.  These courses will not usually require specific prerequisites, but may (with the consent of the appropriate department or division) be taken as major or minor courses.  The course number may be repeated for credit whenever the topic is substantially different. 

3010(301) Advanced Honors Seminar in the Humanities
3020(302) Advanced Honors Seminar in the Fine and Performing Arts
3030(303) Advanced Honors Seminar in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
3040(304) Advanced Honors Seminar in Mathematics and Computing
3050(305) Advanced Honors Seminar in the Sciences
3060(306) Advanced Honors Seminar in Business
3070(307) Advanced Honors Seminar in Education
3080(308) Advanced Honors Seminar in Nursing

4100(310) Independent Portfolio Writing (1)
Prerequisites: Consent of the Dean of the Honors College and senior status.  Open only to Honors College students and not acceptable for graduate credit.  Students in this course will meet on a regular basis with the Director of Writing and other appropriate Honors faculty to revise and polish samples in the Honors writing portfolio which the student has compiled during his or her Honors College enrollment.  With the assistance of the Director, the student will write an in-depth analysis of his or her writing and will select the best examples of writing in his or her Honors Portfolio.  During this independent study, the student may request help with research skills, writing issues, or application procedures for post-graduate courses or employment.  Required of all students admitted and enrolled after August 1998; optional for others.

3510-3580(351-358) Research Seminar (3)
Prerequisites: Consent of the Dean of the Honors College.  Open only to Honors College students and not acceptable for graduate credit.  Modeled on and for some students affording a preview of the postgraduate or professional research seminar, Honors Research seminars bring students face to face with primary research, as appropriate in the library, the laboratory, and/or field work, utilizing appropriate disciplinary perspectives and secondary reading.  These courses may be cross-listed with other advanced courses in appropriate departments/divisions of the university, and as such may carry specific course prerequisites and/or require the specific consent of the instructor.

3510(351) Research Seminar in the Humanities
3520(352) Research Seminar in the Fine and Performing Arts
3530(353) Research Seminar in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
3540(354) Research Seminar in Mathematics and Computing 355 Research Seminar in the Sciences
3560(356) Research Seminar in Business
3570(357) Research Seminar in Education
3580(358) Research Seminar in Nursing

4900(390) Independent Study in Honors (1-6)
Prerequisites: Consent of the Dean of the Honors College.  Open only to Honors College students and not acceptable for graduate credit.  Most Honors students will fulfill their Honors independent study requirements in another department or division of the university.  Where this is not possible, and where academic credit seems an appropriate reward for the independent study in question, the project may be undertaken as Honors 4900(390), normally as a 3-credit course.  This will involve substantial reading, research, and/or field work, and will be supervised by a permanent member of the Honors College academic staff.  Completed proposal forms for this course must be submitted to the Honors College no later than the deadline for university registration. 

4910-4990(391-399) Honors Independent Research (3)
Prerequisites: Consent of the Dean of the Honors College.  Open only to Honors College students and not acceptable for graduate credit.  Honors students who wish to conduct individual research projects under the supervision of a member of the university's regular or full-time faculty may register for undergraduate credit and receive financial support on a cost-of-research basis.  Such projects will usually be given appropriate course numbers in the student's major (or minor) department.  Where this is not possible or otherwise inappropriate, students may register for credit in the Honors 39xx Independent Research series.  In order to qualify for financial support and academic credit, completed proposal forms, together with a brief description of the research project, must be approved and signed by an appropriate member of the faculty and submitted to the Honors College not later than the semester deadline for university registration.  May be repeated for credit where the research topic/problem is substantially different or where it can be significantly extended.  Faculty approval must be obtained for repeat credit.

4910(391) Honors Independent Research in the Humanities
4920(392) Honors Independent Research in the Fine and Performing Arts
4930(393) Honors Independent Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
4940(394) Honors Independent Research in Mathematics and Computing
4950(395) Honors Independent Research in the Sciences
4960(396) Honors Independent Research in Business
4970(397) Honors Independent Research in Education
4980(398) Honors Independent Research in Nursing
4990(399) Honors Independent Research in Engineering