Honors Scholars


The curriculum includes a set of five Honors courses connected by the theme “Community.” Through these interdisciplinary courses, students will learn to apply concepts, methods, theories and skills to complex social issues. The Honors Program includes student learning outcomes from both the CSB/SJU Integrations Curriculum and those specific to the Honors Program.  

The four-year program involves undergraduate research, experiential learning and developing proposals and strategies for enhancing the common good of the community.

Honors and the Integrations Curriculum

Each Honors Scholars course fulfills Integrations Curriculum requirements (20 credits):

  1. Cultural and Social Difference: Identity through HONR 105: Community and Identity
  2. Thematic Encounter: Truth theme, lower division through HONR 201-204: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Communities of Scholarship*
  3. Cultural and Social Difference: Systems through HONR 300: Communities and Systems
  4. Thematic Encounter: Truth theme, upper division through HONR 360-4: Community, Research, and Social Change*
  5. Experiential Engagement through HONR 360-4: Community, Research, and Social Change
  6. Writing Integrations through HONR 395: Liberal Arts in Action

*Honors Scholars’ Thematic Encounter courses are taught in different ways of thinking. Section numbers designate the ways of thinking.


First-Year Honors 1
First-Year Honors 1: HONR 105: Community and Identity

This introductory course explores why gender, race or ethnicity – in isolation – is insufficient to conceptualize either individual or social identity. Students will learn to think critically about their own gendered, racial and ethnic identities; the social and cultural factors that shape and contribute to each; and how they affect issues of power and justice in the contemporary United States. Students are also introduced to the value-based, collaborative theory of leadership that is central to each of the five Honors courses.


Sophomore Year Honors 2
Sophomore Year Honors 2: HONR 201-204: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Communities of Scholarship

This course is team-taught by instructors from two different Ways of Thinking. Students will engage with the key concepts of a liberal arts education – which include acquiring a broad base of knowledge and integrating that knowledge across different domains – in an effort to recognize the intellectual value of different disciplinary perspectives and the usefulness of merging material and methods when studying an issue, forming a belief or making a decision.


Sophomore Year Honors 3
Sophomore Year Honors 3: HONR 300: Communities and Systems

In this course, students explore how constructions of race, gender and ethnicity shape cultural rules and biases and how these constructions vary across time, cultures and societies. They’ll also critically analyze how these forms of identity raise questions of justice with regard to access and participation in communal life. Specific topics, national and cultural contexts and time periods will vary by instructor.


Junior Year Honors 4
Junior Year Honors 4: HONR 360-4: Community, Research and Social Change

This course uncovers the privileges and responsibilities that come with community membership. Students will put their theories into practice by identifying an authentic opportunity or challenge that would enhance the common good, researching it from all angles, producing research papers and making oral presentations to community stakeholders.


Senior Year Honors 5
Senior Year Honors 5: HONR 395: Liberal Arts in Action

The final Honors course and senior capstone integrates their previous course work and leadership development through project-based learning and an integrative essay. Based on their research in Honors 4, students will design, execute and evaluate a project that enhances the common good of the community.

Contact Honors Scholars
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Beth Wengler
Director, Honors Scholars
Professor of History
CSB Richarda N7

Dr. Emily Esch
Associate Director, Honors Scholars
Professor of Philosophy
SJU Quad 362G