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Honors Program

Thrive on challenge? Apply to our Honors Program.

Designed for students who love to push themselves, our Honors Program is a six course sequence designed to enhance students’ understanding of the liberal arts and the interconnectedness of diverse fields of knowledge.

Honors students also enjoy the opportunity for various field trips, career planning sessions, and extracurricular activities to support community engagement.

Honors Program Details

The Eckerd College Honors Program is a liberal arts enhancement program designed to foster and nurture intellectual creativity and community among Eckerd’s high-achieving students. The purpose of the Honors Program is to attract and retain excellent students to study at Eckerd College by providing them enhanced opportunities for learning and community-building. Since the Honors Program is not tied to any discipline or concentration, Honors students are free to major in any discipline and still complete the Honors Program.

All Honors students must meet the General Education requirements, the Honors Program coursework outlined below and the requirements of a stated major or concentration. Completion of the Eckerd College Honors Program will be indicated on the official transcript.

Program format

The Honors Program is closely tied to the Eckerd College General Education Program and includes the following coursework requirements.

First-year Honors Program students are placed in Honors sections of Autumn Term and the first-year foundation course “Human Experience.” Honors Autumn Term course descriptions and professor bios will be featured on the New Student Page. In the spring, first-year Honors students also enroll in an Honors First-Year Experience (FYE) seminar.  The first-year also features co-curricular planning that emphasizes mentorship for scholarships and fellowships and community engagement. Sample course titles and descriptions (subject to change) include:

  • FD 182 Humanity & the Cosmos (Honors)
    This course explores how humanity has viewed the cosmos from ancient times to the present, and how our understanding of the nature of reality shapes the meaning of our lives.
  • FD 182 Liberal Arts and Psychedelic Science (Honors)
    Altered states of human consciousness have made significant impacts on the cultivation of humanity and the liberal arts. This course explores the influence of psychedelic substances on literature, art, philosophy, theology, psychology, and scientific discoveries.
  • FD 182 Beyond Incarceration (Honors)
    The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation, about 2.6 million people at a given time. Approximately 700,000 of those individuals are released each year and come back to the larger society. What happens next?
  • FD 182 Rich Diversity- St. Pete (Honors)
    This course introduces St. Pete’s history of hope and resilience in the face of pain and disenfranchisement. We will use that history to work in the community to create change and support typically ignored voices.

During their second year, Honors Program students participate in a two-course sequence designed to explore connections among different disciplines and disciplinary methodologies. Students also meet together for field trips, and other opportunities for intellectual, social, and creative stimulation. Activities and discussion will focus on topics of unique interest to the cohort. Special mentoring, curriculum and career planning, and other enrichment activities will be scheduled. A variety of written assignments provide opportunities for personal and intellectual exploration that may not easily fit within the confines of a usual college course. See the tab below to explore sophomore Honors courses.

There are no formal expectations from Honors Program students during their third year as they are encouraged to study abroad, participate in internships, and conduct undergraduate research.

During their senior year, Honors Program students are placed in Honors sections of the senior capstone general education course called, “Imagining Justice.” These sections are designed to reflect the intellectual rigor and depth characteristic of the Honors program. Senior Honors students will also receive special career mentoring as they prepare for their lives beyond Eckerd College.

In addition to the coursework outlined above, Honors Program students have the opportunity to regularly attend funded cultural events, network across cohorts, receive enhanced mentoring from their Honors mentors, and participate in other intellectually stimulating activities together.

In summary, the Eckerd College Honors Program brings together some of the College’s best students and offers them special opportunities and challenges that are philosophically and theoretically designed with their academic profile in mind.

Honors Program Sophomore Year Courses

HP 201 Science Communication

This course will enable students to effectively communicate complex scientific issues to various audiences. By engaging with materials from the growing field of science communication, students will produce multiple professional forms of science communication. This course fulfills the Writing Intensive Requirement.

HP 210 Science, Ethics, & the Common Good

This course brings humanity into the sciences by investigating and developing strategies for applied ethical decision-making in medicine, science, and technology

HP 220: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Sex & Gender

This course seeks to acquaint students with various disciplinary perspectives on sexuality and gender, including perspectives from classics, biology, biochemistry, medicine, sociology, philosophy, history, and political science. We will find out what’s at-stake socially, politically, and ethically when research in the sciences and social sciences challenges long established customs and social norms. We will read literature that traces the development of sex characteristics in utero, questions the dimorphic model of sex assignment, and problematizes commonly held hypotheses about the relationship between hormones and neurobiological development (e.g. the notion of male vs. female brains). We will ask how and why erroneous assumptions about innate sex differences continue to influence both the academy and popular culture. In the end, we will see “gender” has belonged and continues to belong to the “rhetoric of difference,” a societal strategy that simplifies complex systems into binary relations and thereby reinforces existing social power hierarchies.

HP 230E: Human and Post-Human Environments

In the spring, we build upon the students’ understanding of the disciplinary methodologies we explored in the fall term as we embark upon a topic that lies at the forefront of synthetic approaches to knowledge: how technology is reshaping what it means to be human and to live in a “natural” environment. We will concern ourselves primarily with an emerging field of inquiry known generally as Post- or Transhumanism, which lies at the intersection of several fields: biology, computer science, philosophy, biopsychology,and cultural studies. Trans- and post-humanist speculations were once the realm of science fiction, but today, the topic invites serious inquiry. Living at the interface of human and machine, we must consider what ethical limitations and humanistic obligations our new technological world may bring.

Students who qualify based on their admission application will be invited to apply to our Honors Program.
As a senior, you’ll all take an honors section of the senior capstone course.
For more information, contact the Director of the Honors Program at