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Course Summary

First Year: Foundations
The Global City
HON 101, 102, 103
This year-long sequence introduces ways to think critically about the urban environment and the interdependence between the city and the global world. It begins with the study of representations and perceptions of the city, considers the city in historical context, and concludes with the processes that shape the city’s geopolitical manifestations.

Second Year: Methods
Urban Discourses
HON 201, 202, 203
Three connected courses on research methods: Urban Society / Urban Culture / Urban Ecology. These courses emphasize approaches to research in the social sciences, the humanities and the sciences, with the city of Portland serving as archive, stage, and laboratory.

Third Year: Knowledge and Praxis
“Let knowledge serve the city”
Students may choose from a wide variety of interdisciplinary seminars broadly focused around key methodological and interdisciplinary questions today. Honors seminars in the student’s individual majors, if offered, are required and will substitute for University Honors seminars.

Honors Colloquia
Faculty from across campus can propose Honors colloquia open to all Honors students. These 1 to 4 credit experiences provide creative and engaging projects for students in a small alternative class. Examples of Honors colloquia might include:

  • Attending the Portland Arts and Lectures series with a faculty member, then participating in a discussion and writing a critical response.
  • Oregon urban/rural boundary tour: a five day ecological tour of wild spaces just at the end of Portland’s urban boundary.

Many Internship opportunities are available in Portland and nationally, with organizations that address multiple aspects of the urban experience. Some examples of recent internships include: Oregon Health and Science University, the National Institutes for Health, the Smithsonian, the Portland Art Museum, the Multnomah County Library, and Mercy Corps.

Honors Abroad
The Honors College runs global seminars just for Honors students every year. We have traveled to the highlands of Nicaragua to study sustainable development, explored global cities in Vietnam, studied urban forestry in Bosnia, and examined the legacy of Rome in Germany.

Fourth Year: Research and Thesis
Students are required to take a thesis prospectus course through the Honors College, and will work together throughout the year of their thesis research to better understand the public dimensions of their work. Part of their end-of-year defense will be to invite community partners and other public participants to discuss the implications of their work.