Fall 2023

Scroll down this page to take a look at the various HON course options.

*Consult the University's Master Class Schedule for Honors Sections of Department-Specific Courses (e.g. MA 1713 H01, ECE 1013 H01)

One-Credit Classes (Non-Freshmen)

HON 2091-H01: Honors Forum IV

National Fellowships

W 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

What is a national fellowship? Why should I care? I want to be a doctor, so the Rhodes Scholarship is not for me? There is no way I can win a national fellowship like the Gates Cambridge. I’m too busy to write yet another personal statement for a fellowship. All those fellowships go to Ivy League kids. They won’t respect MSU and Mississsippi, so why bother? My advisor thinks I should just go on to graduate school. I’m a STEM student, and all of those fellowships go to English or history majors.

In my seven years of mentoring students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, I have heard some version of just about all of these statements or questions. The purpose of this seminar is to enable students to get beyond these false, self-limiting assumptions about national fellowships. In this seminar, students will learn about many of the most prominent fellowships for undergraduates who want to pursue graduate school, who want to explore the world, who want to master a second language or who want to be a change agent in their community, region, and nation. Students will learn the requirements of these fellowships and begin to develop the necessary skills to apply. My hope is that each student who participates in this fellowship seminar begins to view the process of applying for fellowships such as the Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright, or the Goldwater as a challenge that can amplify the college experience and make them better applicants for graduate school, professional school, or job candidates.

For Sophomore and Juniors

Taught by Dr. David Hoffman, Director of the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


HON 2091-H02: Honors Forum IV

And Justice for All?  Deciding Who Gets What (and Who Doesn’t) 

T 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

How do we decide if something is just, or fair?  How does the criminal justice system achieve justice for entities whose interests may be in conflict?  For example, victims and offenders likely have different conceptions of justice.  This seminar will talk about the many ways we define justice, both in theory and in practice.  It will draw on readings from philosophy, psychology, sociology, and criminology.  We will also discuss efforts to compensate victims in the aftermath of tragedy.  Specifically, we will discuss Kenneth Feinberg’s work on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and on funds for victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, the BP oil spill, and other cases.  Feinberg published two books on the topic, including What is Life Worth and Who Gets What.  

For Sophomore, Juniors, & Seniors

 Taught by Dr. Stacy Haynes, Professor in the Department of Sociology  


HON 2091-H03: Honors Forum IV

Public Budgets & Policy Priorities

M 12:00 p.m. -12:50 p.m.

This course will explore “what budgets reveal about policy priorities.” This course will specifically look at governors’ executive budget recommendations to determine which policies came into fruition and which policies were pure hyperbole. Additionally, the internal and external forces that influence gubernatorial behavior will be examined. Students will learn about many different governors, from Florida’s Ron DeSantis to Maryland’s Wes Moore, to see what their key priorities are and what their plans are for implementing public policy. Students will be taught how to properly analyze budget recommendations to better determine a governor’s success.

For Sophomore, Juniors, & Seniors (Freshmen may appeal to participate)

Taught by Brian Pugh, Ph.D, Executive Director, Stennis Center for Public Service



Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars

HON 3183-H01 Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Humanities

Philosophy of Popular Culture

T TH 3:30-4:45

This course is a philosophical exploration of popular culture. What is popular culture? How does it function in contemporary life? What relation does it have to our experiences? These are some of the questions with which we will begin the course. In the middle portion of the course, we will look at a variety of examples of popular culture: photography (including “selfies”), movies, music, sports, online relationships, etc. In each case, we will both use the philosophical approaches developed earlier in the course and develop new approaches in order to make sense of these cultural phenomena. Finally, we will end the course by asking ethical questions: what are the various ways we might interact with, immerse ourselves in, and resist popular culture, and which ones should we choose?

Taught by Dr. Anthony Neal, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Fellow, Shackouls Honors College




HON 3183-H02 Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Humanities

Quest 3: Dialogues and the Quest for Meaning

T TH 11- 12:15

This course will examine philosophical and critical dialogues starting with the classical tradition and working our way to the contemporary.  In our quest to understand this tradition, we will ask a few guiding questions: how do classical and contemporary dialogues aid us in our quest for meaning?  Can we place seemingly disparate texts (i.e. a feminist essay on the rights of women and a Beyoncé album) in critical dialogue with each other?  Are certain texts and authors more privileged than others?

Taught by Dr. Matthew Peaple, Visiting Assistant Professor, Shackouls Honors College and Dr. Don Shaffer, Director of African American Studies and Associate Professor of English



HON 3173-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Fine Arts

Myths, Legends, and Stories: Discovering the Ancient World through Films, Plays, and Musicals

TTH 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

This seminar course is designed for students to read selected Greek and Roman plays and literary works, to watch representative films based on ancient myths, legends, and stories, and to create active research in the discovery of how the Greek and Roman civilizations have made, and will continue to make, an enduring impact on contemporary society. Through class discussions, readings, presentations, films, and papers, students will reach a greater understanding of the significance in the social, cultural, political, and philosophical influences of the ancient world. Tales of adventure, power, war, revenge, lust, jealously, and love continue to play huge roles in how we live our lives as a society today and what we continue to enjoy as entertainment.

Taught by Dr. Donna Clevinger, Faculty Fellow and Professor, Shackouls Honors College


HON 3163-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Natural Sciences

Fundamental Discoveries in Neuroscience

MWF 11-11:50

Learn about and discuss: 

• The experiments that generated ground-breaking discoveries over the past 70 years about “how the brain works” 

• The fundamentals of experiment design by studying the experiments that revolutionized neuroscience 

• How to read a scientific journal article

This course will be taught “journal club” style: for each meeting we’ll read a scientific publication from neuroscience’s history and discuss the “hows and whys” of the experiments, the results, and their significance for the field.

Students will write clarification and evaluative questions for each paper, participate in seminar discussions, and write a research paper based on a recent publication in a neuroscientific journal that interests him or her. 

Benefits of taking this seminar:

• Learn not only what we know about how the brain works, but how we came to know all this. 

• Improve one’s grasp of general principles of experiment design •Learn about some of the research tools and techniques that have defined laboratory neuroscience 

•Leave with the kind of experience that many science students don’t acquire until graduate school 

Taught by Dr. John Bickle, faculty member at both Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, author of four books and more than ninety research articles in philosophy and neuroscience journals and book volumes. 


Contact John at for more information about this course!


DSCI 2013-H01: Data Science Literacy

T TH 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

All aspects of human life are being transformed by data. Data powers artificially intelligent systems that help us to arrange a ride in the rain, form relationships, address social issues, operate systems from cars to industrial robots, discover new pharmaceuticals, increase crop yields, win baseball games, make decisions in military and business contexts, and even predict and manage international crises. Data Science is the field that advances methods to improve the use of data for human flourishing. In addition to exploring the entire lifecycle of data, students will gain insight into the ethical and social dimensions of data use, including the necessary institutional frameworks and governance required to ensure data science produces a positive impact.


This course gives students from any academic discipline the opportunity to explore the field of data science and gain literacy in the subject. Gaining data science literacy equips students to make a greater impact in a digitally transformed world. Texts for discussion will include recent popular and scholarly articles. Each student will complete a project that considers how data can be used to address a challenge of interest in any field. Students will also meet and learn from accomplished guest speakers who, in academic, business, and public service roles, use data to contribute to human flourishing in fields like economic and international development, the humanities, banking and finance, education, engineering, public policy, social and natural sciences, medicine, agriculture, and athletics.

Note: students will not be required to perform mathematics or computer programming.

* Will count as HON 3143 for Cursus and counts as social science core course in general ed core

Taught by Dr. Jonathan Barlow, Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Director of the Data Science Program, Mississippi State University


Quest Courses


Our “Quest” courses are small discussion-based seminars (about 15 students) focused on Great Books, Big Questions, and Big Ideas. Students will read some of the most important texts from the history of literature, philosophy, political science, art, architecture, and music from around the world. Discussions will address questions such as: What is human nature? What is the nature of the divine? What is justice? What is truth? What is love? What is the purpose of art? and How do we know what we know?

Students who complete Quest 1 and Quest 2 and earn a grade of C or higher will receive the following General Educations credits:

3 Humanities credits (Quest 1)
3 Social Sciences credits (Quest 2)
“S” credit for Fine Arts. (Please note: Any additional 3-credit course must be completed in order to meet total degree hours for your major.)


HON 1163:  The Quest Begins (3 credits). This course examines core texts from Classical Antiquity through the Renaissance. In addition to several short interpretive papers, students will be expected to produce a substantial comparative essay.

HON 1163-H01: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

MW 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Christian Flow, Assistant Professor of History and Shackouls Honors Faculty Fellow


HON 1163-H02: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

MW 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Christian Flow, Assistant Professor of History and Shackouls Honors Faculty Fellow


HON 1163-H03: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

MW 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Eric Vivier, Associate Professor of English and Shackouls Honors Faculty Fellow


HON 1163-H04: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

TTH 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Taught by: Staff


HON 1163-H05: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

TTH 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Taught by: Staff



HON 1173: The West and the Wider World (3 credits). This course will examines core texts from the Renaissance to the present. In addition to short interpretive papers, students will be expected to produce a research paper and present their research to the class.

HON 1173-H01: Quest 2, The West and the Wider World

TTH 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Taught by Dr. Kristin Boyce, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Shackouls Honors Faculty Fellow


HON 1173-H02: Quest 2, The West and the Wider World

TTH 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Taught by Dr. Kristin Boyce, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Shackouls Honors Faculty Fellow



HON 1173-H03: Quest 2, The West and the Wider World

MW 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Taught by: Staff


HON 1173-H04: Quest 2, The West and the Wider World

TTH 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Peter De Gabriele, Associate Professor of English

Other Honors Courses Taught by Honors Faculty

CO 1503-H01: Introduction to Theatre

TTH 11:00am. – 12:15 p.m.

A comprehensive view of the theatre, including plays, playwrights, directing, acting, theatres, and technicians.

Taught by Dr. Donna Clevinger Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor, Shackouls Honors College