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. EN 1113 H01, CSE 1284 H01)

Fall 2023 – First-Year Only Classes
For Freshmen Only

HON 1091-H01: Honors Forum II
Trust in Autonomy – Leveraging the Human Factor
Th 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

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.

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

HON 1091-H03: Honors Forum II
Viva Latinoamerica! An Uncensored Guide to the World’s Most Vibrant Culture
Tu 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

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.

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

HON 1091-H04: Honors Forum II
Mississippi Blues
M 11:00am – 11:50 am

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. 

Taught by Dr. Robert Damm, Professor in the Department of Music

HON 1091-H05: Honors Forum II
Extreme Medicine: Understanding Unusual Cases on House, M.D.
M 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

House, M.D. is a popular television show in which many strange and bizarre medical cases are presented. Questions often arise about the validity and probability of the illnesses and diseases presented on the show. This class will examine some of the medical cases presented on the show, discuss the probability and validity of each case, and examine how the doctors were able to reach the correct diagnosis

Taught by Adam Knight, Professor in the Department of Kinesiology

HON 1091-H06: Honors Forum II
Game Changing: Exploring the African American Student Experience at MSU
T 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

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.

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

HON 1091-H07: Honors Forum II
Heroes and Tricksters: Germanic Tales and Modern Media
F 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Students in this course will be exposed to the Germanic tradition of Norse mythology and will learn through original source text and scholarly literature about hero and trickster archetypes. Students will read German texts in translation, like those from the Brothers Grimm, to practice identifying hero and trickster characters. The goal for the students is that they can reflect on these texts and apply them both critically and creatively to our modern media. Once the students’ background in heroes and tricksters has been established, the course will move into modern media, including movies and TV series. This seminar will aim to show students how they can be more critical and more cognizant consumers of their favorite entertainment media while flexing their creativity to find new perspectives.

Taught by Arianne Hainsey, Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures

HON 1091-H08: Honors Forum II
Need for Speed: The Science of Motorsport Racing
W 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

This seminar focuses on the science behind high speed, high precision, high adrenaline and high-risk motorsport racing across several disciplines ranging from Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, World Rally and Rally Cross, Endurance Racing, MotoGP, including the latest Formula E and E-Racing championships. This class will explore the impact of motorsports on anatomical, physiological, biomechanical, psychological, and cognitive factors in human performance, as well as on safety and training factors associated with motorsport racing.

Taught by Dr. Harish Chander, Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology

HON 1081-H01 Honors Forum I
Introduction to Honors Education
TH 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

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.

Taught by George Dunn, Student Services Coordinator, Shackouls Honors College

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

TTH 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

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

TTH 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

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 11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

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

TTH 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