Students in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program who wish to design an interdisciplinary major for themselves may do so in consultation with the appropriate Council adviser. The final transcript of such students designates the major as “Special Honors Curriculum.” Most students in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program, however, elect to fulfill the requirements for one or more specific departmental majors. These students abide by departmental criteria for the major, and are expected to pursue departmental honors in their major. Their final transcript records the major as Special Honors Curriculum/Specific Department. Whatever their major concentration, all students in the Program must also successfully complete three special interdisciplinary honors colloquia (see further on) and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better until their final certification into the Program. Certification usually occurs in the student’s junior year, when the Council, ruling on each case individually, decides that the student’s continuing academic distinction, commitment to interdisciplinary work, and promise of future productivity warrant permanent membership in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program.
Thomas Hunter Honors Program students meet regularly in 200-level and 300-level colloquia, led by members of the Council on Honors and by other invited members of the faculty. Students take a minimum of three colloquia, one of which must be at the 200-level, and one of which must be at the 300-level. While the specific content of these courses varies from semester to semester, the underlying principles remain the same.
The 200-level colloquium is taught by one professor, often a member of the Council on Honors, who studies a specific theme using the materials and methodologies of at least two disciplines. Students may take more than one of these colloquia if they so desire, but at least one must be taken during their first year in the Program. The 300-level honors colloquia are special seminars, usually conducted by two professors, devoted to topics lending themselves to broad interdisciplinary investigation.
The colloquia offer breadth of exposure, but, even more importantly, they seek to demonstrate how knowledge gained from a variety of disciplines can be related and integrated in an effort to understand complex processes and phenomena. In all colloquia, students write at least one major paper, in which they apply the methodology of the course to material of particular interest to them.
Upon completion of 90 credits, Thomas Hunter Honors students may also be admitted by the Council to Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, with the opportunity of engaging in advanced independent study under the Council’s supervision. A thesis or other appropriate report of the results of the student’s research is presented to the Council.