Fall 2024

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. EN 1113 H01, CSE 1284 H01)


Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars

HON 3143-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Social Sciences

Sports in Society: How AI, Big Data & Technology are Changing our Games
MW 2:00 - 3:15
Taught by Dr. Greggory Twietmeyer, Associate Professor, Kinesiology

An interdisciplinary seminar examining how technology shapes and reshapes the social groups, institutions, and practices of sport for athletes, policy makers, and fans. Special focus will be given to the social impact that emerging technologies such as AI, big data, genetic engineering, and transhumanism have on the culture of sports. Initial foundational issues will be established and examined via engagement with a broad base of readings on the role of technology in modern society and culture. This will include sociological and economic analysis of how technology shapes how we think, interact, learn and behave. The work of both techno-enthusiasts and techno-skeptics will also be engaged. For instance, enthusiast Yuval Harari argues in his book “Homo Deus” (“Man God”) that transhumanism is a path towards happiness and perhaps immortality. On the other hand, skeptic Neil Postman argues in his book “Technopoly” that technology is and always has been a double-edged sword that has both costs and benefits. Once that foundation is laid, the course will then shift to a direct examination of how technology is changing sport. We will be reading and discussing sport studies literature (book chapters, journal articles, etc.) on the impact and controversies created by technology. Some of the issues we’ll be discussing include: “Is technology in sport self-defeating: Why should we continue to compete once the upper limit of human performance is reached? That is, when there are no more records left to be broken?”, “Is sport, aided and abetted by ubiquitous sports media, part of the modern ‘culture of distraction’?”, “Does refereeing technology, such as ‘goal line technology’ and ‘automated strike zones’ improve or harm our games?”, “Are advanced analytics ruining basketball – by showing that dunks, lay-ups and 3-pointers are the only shots worth taking?”, “Do big data and analytics in sport dehumanize athletes? Is big data and the obsession with efficient (and tracked) performance turning play into work? Is such data gathering on athletes an invasion of privacy?”, “If therapeutic genetic engineering is moral (e.g. curing a genetic disease) , and if we’re always trying to improve performance in sport, why should genetic enhancement (e.g. designer athlete) be considered immoral?”, “What principles ought to be used by the administrators and policy makers in sport to navigate, evaluate, and regulate the place of new and often controversial technologies in sport?”


HON 3163-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Natural Sciences

Introduction to Neuroscience
MWF 11:00 - 11:50
Taught by Dr. John Bickle, Professor, Philosophy

This course is a textbook-based, lecture- and discussion-format introduction to basic neuroscience for honors students. Topics include basic mechanisms of neural conductance and transmission; intracellular signaling pathways and neuronal plasticity; basics of sensory neuroscience focusing on somatosensation and vision; rudiments of motor neuroscience; introduction to cognitive and systems neuroscience; neurology and neuropsychology. Two take-home midterms; comprehensive take-home final exam; out-of-class research and writing project. No previous background in neuroscience will be assumed; university-level first-year biology and chemistry, interest in science helpful.


HON 3173-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in Fine Arts

Myths, Legends, and Stories: Discovering the Ancient World through Films, Plays, and Musicals
TTH 11:00 - 12:15
Taught by Dr. Donna Clevinger, Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor, Shackouls Honors College

This seminar course is designed for students to read selected plays and literary works from the ancient world, to watch representative films based on ancient myths, legends, and stories, and to create active research in the discovery of how these civilizations have made, and will continue to make, an enduring impact on contemporary society. Tales of adventure, power, war, revenge, lust, jealousy, 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. Through class discussions, readings, films, presentations, and projects, students will reach a greater understanding of the significance in the historical, social, cultural, political, and philosophical influences of the ancient world as well as analyze entertainment values through representative films, plays, and literary works; identify distinct features of film and play productions and the importance of literary works; and participate in research projects as it pertains to a film, a play, or a literary work.


HON 3183-H01: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities

The U.S. South and Popular Music: Race, Place, and Power
TTH 9:30 - 10:45
Taught by Dr. Joseph Thompson, Assistant Professor, History

As the birthplace of the blues, country, jazz, soul, Cajun, Tejano, rock and roll, and trap music, the U.S. South can claim an outsized influence on the sound of twentieth-century American popular music. But what can that rich cultural heritage tell us about the region’s social, political, and economic histories? This course analyzes the South’s musical artists, recording industries, and music consumers to understand how music influenced the region’s dynamic changes during the twentieth century. Topics will include music’s connection to labor organizing, civil rights activism, Cold War defense spending, and electoral politics. The course will place particular emphasis on the genres of country, soul, rock and roll, and hip hop and the music industries of Nashville, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, and Atlanta. Students should expect a mix of lectures, discussions, music listening sessions, and readings across music history and criticism.


HON 3183-H02: Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities

Humanity and the Culture of War
TTH 12:30 - 1:45
Taught by Dr. Peter DeGabriele, Associate Professor, English

Most college freshman have not known a world not at war. Indeed, in the face of what seems to be an infinite and endless war, the old ways we used to name wars by giving them dates (1939-1945) or geographical limits (Korea, Vietnam) seem almost quaint. This class will look at how philosophers, historians, artists, and novelists have attempted to account for our new way of living under war, and at how our current state(s) of war do or do not differ from earlier wars. We will begin by looking at Immanuel Kant’s late 18th century discussion of the possibility for perpetual peace and look at how that dream has turned into the world of drone warfare, refugee camps, and genocide. Along the way we will read philosophers such as Elaine Scarry, Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, and Carl von Clausewitz who attempt to define what war is and why humans wage war. We will read novels such as Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, American War by Omar El Akkad, and The Sympathizer by Viet Thang Nguyen who look at the consequences and complexities of war that happen far from the battlefield. Finally, we will look at work by artists such as Francisco Goya and Banksy and filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick who attempt to represent and process the violence and trauma of war. The class will be a seminar style discussion class with weekly quizzes, short writing assignments, and a research project.


Forum Courses

HON 2091-H01: Honors Forum IV

National Fellowships
W 5:00 - 5:50
Taught by Dr. David Hoffman, Director of the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures

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

HON 2091-H03: Honors Forum IV

Interning on Capitol Hill
M 12:00 - 12:50
Taught by Dr. Brian Pugh, Executive Director, Stennis Center for Public Service

Have you recently considered applying for an internship or fellowship on Capitol Hill? If so, this course is for you. This course will provide students with specific information on how to apply for internships on the Hill and how to be successful once there. This course will also give students the opportunity to engage with congressional staffers working in personal offices, on committees, and other congressional agencies (such as the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center). Students will hear from the chiefs of staffs for Mississippi’s congressional delegation, as well as personal and professional staffers from multiple states. Additionally, students will be able to build their professional network and improve confidence as they interact with congressional staffers on all levels, from interns to policy directors and chiefs of staff.


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, Shackouls Honors College


HON 1163-H02: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

MW 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Christian Flow, Assistant Professor, Shackouls Honors College


HON 1163-H03: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

MW 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

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


HON 1163-H04: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

TTH 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Matthew Peaple, Assistant Teaching Professor, Shackouls Honors College


HON 1163-H05: Quest 1, The Quest Begins

TTH 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Christopher Snyder, Professor of History and Director of British Studies, Shackouls Honors College


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 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Christopher Snyder, Professor of History and Director of British Studies, Shackouls Honors College


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

MWF 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Matthew Peaple, Assistant Teaching Professor, Shackouls Honors College


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

MWF 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Matthew Peaple, Assistant Teaching Professor, Shackouls Honors College


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

TTH 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

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


Additional Honors Courses

CO 1503-H01: Introduction to Theatre
TTH 12:30 - 1:45
Taught by Dr. Donna Clevinger Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor, Shackouls Honors College

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


DSCI 2013-H01: Data Science Literacy
TTH 2:00 - 3:15
Taught by Dr. Jonathan Barlow, Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Director of the Data Science Program

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. Students will not be required to perform mathematics or computer programming.

* Will count as HON 3143 for Cursus Honorum


EN 2203-H01: Introduction to Literature
From Deities to Devices: Imagining the Source of Knowledge
TTH 2:00 - 3:15
Taught by Dr. Kelly Marsh, Professor of English

With technology seeming to offer new sources of knowledge, we’ll study a variety of short stories, novels, plays, poems, and creative nonfiction to learn how writers across cultures and across the centuries have imagined the source of knowledge.

*Fulfills a Humanities Requirement


Freshman Forum Courses

HON 1081-H01 Honors Forum I

Introduction to Honors Education

Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Taught by George Dunn, Assistant Dean, Shackouls Honors College

This course is designed to help freshmen Honors College students learn more about themselves, the university, and the specific opportunities available through the Shackouls Honors College. It is appropriate for every SHC major and interest level. Students will enjoy dynamic class conversations and interactions. They will explore their personality type to learn how they learn best while maximizing their productive interactions with others. There will be regular visits from esteemed university representatives, introductions to research tools, and opportunities to expand their circle of colleagues and friends for an overall more productive and successful student experience at Mississippi State University’s Shackouls Honors College.


HON 1091-H01: Honors Forum II

Trust in Autonomy – Leveraging the Human Factor 

Wednesday 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

Taught by Lesley Strawderman, PhD, Professor and Endowed Chair in Industrial and Systems Engineering 

In this seminar course, students will explore the relationship between human trust and autonomy. A range of autonomous systems will be discussed, from the simple (e.g. household devices) to the exceedingly complex (e.g. vehicles, drones, and industrial systems). The human factor within autonomous systems will be the focus, with students learning about how humans influence the use and success of autonomous systems, even when no human input is required.


HON 1091-H02: Honors Forum II

And Justice for All?  

Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. 

 Taught by Stacy Haynes, PhD, Professor in the Department of Sociology   

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.   


HON 1091-H03: Honors Forum II

Viva Latinoamérica! An Uncensored Guide to the World’s Most Vibrant Culture

Tuesday 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

Taught by Rosa Vozzo, PhD, Instructor in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures 

As the majority of Americans, you know about tacos, margaritas, and churros. You can also identify Sammy Sosa or Jennifer López as you watch some of the American TV shows, and by social media, you might be familiar to very distinctive rhythms as tango, merengue, and salsa. As a member of the world community, you have witnessed the phenomenon of globalization and the opportunities it offers. In this course we are embarking in an adventure to learn about the different cultures that form this continent we call America. We will “virtually” sail in the Caribbean as we learn about the cultural heritage of the Islands; visit the city of Antigua in Guatemala as we explore the Mayan culture; hike the Inca Trail Trek and amaze as we discover Machu Picchu and the richness of the Inca Empire; Finally, we will make a stop in Argentina for the last leg of “our trip”. Then, it is time for you to make your own itinerary. Do you want to go on a research trip to Costa Rica’s rain forest? Be a Pirate in Old San Juan? Marvel at the engineering knowledge needed it in construction of the Itaipu Water Dam? Or, just stroll around Mexico beautiful colonial cities? . . . You will have time for a “discovery trip” of your own. 


HON 1091-H04: Honors Forum II 

Mississippi Blues

Monday 11:00am – 11:50 am

Taught by Robert Damm, PhD, Professor in the Department of Music

Blues music was a part of everywhere Africans lived in the South, but there was a special type of music known as the Mississippi Delta blues.  It has an intense vocal style and strong rhythm that derives from African music.  Africans brought their culture with them, their performance practices, and their ways of singing.  Enslaved Africans had the field holler and were allowed to maintain work songs because the overseer saw that it made them more productive.  Having been forced into this new way of living with the brutality of slavery, it was especially important for them to have some sense of identity and to find a way to celebrate despite the hardships of life in Mississippi.  Blues was a form of communication and expression.  Blues comes from a terribly sad situation, but the music itself is fun.  It makes you want to dance, clap your hands, and sing along.  It’s feel-good music even though it comes out of sadness.  Although the music originated during slavery times in the earlier 1800s, it did not receive the name “blues” until decades after the Civil War – between 1912 and 1920.  Recordings in the 1900s made the genre more popular.  Later, blues music birthed rock and roll and influenced musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.  Mississippi was home to a plethora of blues artists such as B.B. King, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf.  The Mississippi Blues Commission created the Mississippi Blues Trail of more than 100 blues markers across the state to commemorate these figures and landmarks of blues music.  If you make a list of the great blues musicians, most of them were born in Mississippi.  This class is a survey of selected Mississippi blues musicians and their music.  


HON 1091-H05: Honors Forum II

MedLaunch: Elevating your Journey to Health Professions and Programs 

Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Taught by Mary Celeste Reese, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor in Biological Sciences, and Director, Health Professions Resource Center 

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of pre-health careers and the application process. Students will engage in class discussions and short reflections to demonstrate their knowledge of various pre-health career paths and the steps involved in the application process. Students will also explore elements within healthcare systems, including disparities and ethics, through class discussions of assigned readings, written reflections, and a final essay.
One of the key objectives of the course is to foster students' ability to self-reflect on their professional and personal development. Through completion of the final essay and short reflections, students should gain insight into their strengths, areas for growth, and aspirations for the health professions.
Since the course emphasizes the importance of volunteerism and community involvement in shaping future healthcare professionals, students will be required to participate in a service event of their choosing, to gain an understanding of the impact of community engagement on healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.


HON 1091-H06: Honors Forum II

Game Changing: Exploring the African American Student Experience at MSU

Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Taught by Jessica Perkins-Smith, University Archivist, Mitchell Memorial Library

Integration at Mississippi State looked very different from integration at other state schools in the Deep South. Today, Mississippi State has the highest population of African American students at all Southeastern Conference schools.  Using documents and primary source material from University Archives along with guest speakers, this course will explore the African American student experience at MSU beginning with integration and highlighting important milestones up to today. Through their research, students create a capstone project (examples: oral history, timeline, web site, physical Library exhibit) that documents a part of African American history at MSU.