University Scholars Approved Coursework

In order to successfully complete the University Scholars Program, students are required to complete 12 hours of approved coursework by the time they graduate. The following may be used to complete this requirement:

See the schedule of Fall 2021 approved coursework.

See the schedule of Spring 2021 approved coursework.

HON Seminars

HON Seminars promote critical thinking, reading, and problem solving and to employ methods that instill the integration and appreciation of knowledge across disciplines. Their small class size provides an ideal setting for constructive argumentation, analysis, synthesis, and pointed conclusions. They are taught by faculty members that are specially trained to engage students in critical debate about the subjects studied.

Honors Sections

Honors sections of courses (designated by an “H” suffix) typically have a smaller class size, and provide students with a more in-depth and challenging exploration of the course subject matter, than their non-Honors equivalents.  They are usually restricted to students in the University Scholars Program and University Honors Program, creating an environment of academic excellence and inquiry.  Not surprisingly, Honors courses tend to receive very positive feedback from our students.

Honors Contracts

The Honors Contract process allows students to earn Honors course credit through contracts with faculty. The contract may be for work done independently by a student under faculty supervision or may be made between faculty members and teams of students working on a common project. Contracts for Honors Credit may be developed in advance by members of the faculty who agree to supervise Honors work (faculty-initiated) or may be proposed by students to members of the faculty in whose courses they are or plan to be enrolled (student-initiated). The form that must be completed can be found here.

First-Year Inquiry Courses

First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses are restricted to first-year students at NC State, and are designated with a “Q” suffix.  These courses are specially designed for first-year students to help them make the transition from high school to university-level thinking.  Their small class sizes (typically 20-22 students) and emphasis on inquiry-guided learning techniques help foster a close relationship between the students and the professor, and the development of critical reading, writing, and discussion skills.  Most FYI courses fulfill General Education Requirements or departmental requirements. It is recommended that students consult with their academic advisors when choosing an FYI course.

HON 398 Courses

HON 398 courses are open to University Scholars who have completed 2 semesters of Scholars Forum. These courses count towards the USP’s 12-hour coursework requirement, feature small class sizes (20 students per section), and reflect the mission of the University Scholars Program. For more information, contact Ken Johnson ( or Sean Cassidy (

Fall 2021 Courses

  • HON 398-001: American Foreign Policy in a World Transformed
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:50 PM
    The first decades of the 21st century have been marked by a series of disruptions that have transformed global politics and produced an American foreign policy that seems dysfunctional and divided to observers at home and abroad. The pandemic of 2020 is the most recent of these disruptions. It has revealed a world that is globalized, integrated, and dynamic. It has also revealed the vulnerabilities of this world. These vulnerabilities have increased the challenges facing U.S. policymakers. This course uses the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions to examine eight global issues and to debate whether the United States can generate the national consensus, commitment, and credibility to join the global community in addressing them.
  • HON 398-002: New Fiction: Contemporary Issues in Literature
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Wednesdays, 6:00 – 7:50 PM
    In the past several years, writers like Colson Whitehead, NoViolet Bulawayo, Tommy Orange, Mohsin Hamid and N.K. Jemisin have expanded the boundaries of literature, blurring genres and breaking down boundaries, interrogating issues like family, identity and race, culture and masculinity. This course will explore many of these new works and how they use literature to hold up a mirror to society.
  • HON 398-006: Women in the Workforce
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:50 PM
    This course will explore strategies that successful women have used to advance their careers. Women get paid less than men to do the same job. Learning to advocate for your worth is essential. Women face unique challenges related to integrating work and personal life into a formula that allows them to juggle all of the balls in the air without dropping any. Are you an Integrator, Separator, Cycler, Work First or Personal First type? Students will complete a Work Life Integration Assessment and find out how to best utilize their type for a life of success. Working remotely has magnified the importance of understanding values and aligning actions accordingly at all stages of a professional career. Students will learn a new vocabulary necessary to seek out meaningful careers that align with their life’s vision and career goals. This innovative tool challenges students to reflect on their professional and personal needs in tandem through exposure to common dilemmas at all stages of their careers.
  • HON 398-003: Body, Breath, and Mind: Connecting Core Components
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:50 PM
    You are a mammal. Mammals use their lungs to breathe without even thinking about it. Mammals move their bodies with purpose and intention to get through the world. As a human mammal in the modern world, it can sometimes be challenging to remember how to move through the world with purpose and intention, or to breathe fully. With all the distractions that surround us, it is easy to forget how amazing our bodies and our breath are. This course will help you remember how to move your body with purpose and teach you how breath can activate and energize your day. No experience necessary.

Graduate (500+ level) Courses

Under the University-wide Guidelines for Honors Programs at NC State, the Provost has approved the acceptance of Advanced courses, 500-level courses that are taken as electives or as substitutes for lower-level courses, in fulfillment of Honors program requirements. Therefore, these courses will also automatically fulfill requirements for completion of the University Scholars Program.

Study Abroad Courses

University Scholars who participate in a semester- or summer- NC State OR Non-NC State Study Abroad Programs may use a total of six (6) of these credits in partial fulfillment of the USP course requirements. To receive credit for Non-NC State Study Abroad Programs, please make sure to submit the USP Request for Study Abroad Credit form upon return to campus.  Students cannot receive USP credit for Spring Break Study Abroad programs. (*Please note that if you completed a study abroad program prior to the Fall 2015 semester, you should complete this form instead).

The University Scholars Program sponsors two summer study abroad programs: Florence Summer Abroad and Oxford Summer Abroad.

Independent Study and Research Courses

University Scholars may receive up to 6 hours of credit towards the 12-hour USP course requirement through successful completion of approved independent study or independent research courses [listed on the second page of the form]. To receive credit towards the 12 hours of required USP coursework through completion of a 400-level independent study or independent research course a student must complete the USP Request for Independent Study or Research Credit form and submit it to the University Scholars Program office at the beginning of the semester in which the course is taken.