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A Look at the Honors Curriculum


The goal of the curriculum is to provide students with a well-rounded education and, at the same time, to give them a chance to follow their own academic, professional or creative interests. Depending on the degree program, there are two tracks for the University Honors Program: bachelor's and associate.

Honors Foundations: Honors Foundations* are general education courses specifically designed for University Honors students. Required courses include 18 credits of Honors-designated general education classes within the first four semesters:

  • Honors ENGL 101: Composition I
  • Honors ENGL 201: Composition II
  • Honors MATH 102: College Algebra (or a higher-level math)
  • Honors SPCM 101 or 222: Fundamentals of Speech or Argumentation and Debate
  • + 2 additional Honors-designated general education course
    *The program accepts all credits received by AP or duel-enrollment.

Foreign Language: University Honors students complete two semesters (8 credits) of a non-English language by graduation; these credits count as Humanities general education requirements. For the sake of reaching a solid level of proficiency, students are encouraged to take courses in the same language.

In addition to increasing analytical thinking, creativity, and math and English skills, the learning of language fosters global awareness and gives students a post-graduation advantage. Only 8.6% of college students study a foreign language in America despite the necessity of global communication today, according to the latest study by the Modern Language Association. While most graduate programs require proficiency in a non-English language for entrance or graduation, this deficit has larger consequences. It means there is a critical need for bilingual and multilingual individuals in the global marketplace; we need diplomats, intelligence and foreign policy experts, politicians, military leaders, teachers, business leaders, scientists, physicians, entrepreneurs, managers, technicians, historians, artists, and writers, among other professionals, who are proficient in languages other than English. Foreign language studies help create world citizens who are prepared to succeed in a competitive, highly interconnected world.

Honors Colloquia: Designed as intensive seminars, these courses are unique to the University Honors Program. They are mid-level courses that assume no prior background in the area but that emphasize scholarly reading, writing, and research. A colloquium generally requires research, an oral presentation, and at least one major paper. Topics are selected by student vote and are announced at least a year in advance. Students complete 6 credits of colloquia by graduation.

Honors Capstone Project: As an opportunity to direct their own research, creative activity, service project, or study abroad experience, students complete and defend a capstone project under the guidance of a chosen faculty mentor and capstone committee. Before their defense, students complete 3 total credits of HON 498: Capstone Research.

Contact Info

Dr. Courtney Huse Wika
Phone: 605.642.6918
Director of University Honors & Assistant Professor of English

Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799

Professor Kelly Kirk
Phone: 605.642.6935

Professor Kelly Kirk Director of University Honors
Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9003
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9003