Program Requirements

Unlike many honors programs, Millikin University doesn't reward hard-work and academic success simply with more work. Instead Millikin Honors Students are afforded freedom and flexibility as they complete their University Studies requirements. Millikin Honors courses are engaging and enriched, student-driven courses made possible by the passion and intellectual curiosity of both the honors faculty and students. Honors students also engage significantly with both the honors community and the campus and larger community through service and outreach activities. Below are Honors pathways for both incoming freshman and transfer students. For questions, contact the Honors Director, Dr. Michael Hartsock.

Honors Students follow the Honors curriculum presented here rather than the University Studies Program Requirements presented elsewhere in the bulletin. Honors Students are still responsible for all other applicable requirements as defined by their academic programs of study (e.g., college and major specific requirements). Non-honors students must complete 37 -- 41 credit hours for University Studies, and the 29 credit hours described below replace those 37 -- 41 hours. The Millikin Honors Program is "instead of" not in addition to." Honors students take ownership of their general education experience and select from a variety of topic-oriented courses.

Honors Students must complete the following courses (29 credits)

  • HN183. Honors University Seminar (3 credits)
  • ​HN150. Honors Writing Studio I (3 credits)
  • ​HN151. Honors Writing Studio II (3 credits)
  • Three of the following (9 credits total):
    • HN202. Creative Arts Honors Seminar (3 credits)
    • HN203. Humanities Honors Seminar (3 credits)
    • HN204. Natural Science Honors Seminar (3 credits)
    • HN206. Social Science Honors Seminar (3 credits)
    • HN207. Mathematics Honors Seminar (3 credits)
  • HN300. Honors Interdisciplinary Colloquium (3 credits)
    Students may meet this requirement by taking an additional HN350 course.
  • HN350. Honors Global Interdisciplinary Colloquium (3 credits)
    Students studying abroad for Millikin credit may articulate an IN350 eligible course with either HN300 or HN350 (but not both) to fulfill this requirement.
  • IN490. Honors Independent Study (4 credits) May be articulated with a course or set of courses in another academic department (e.g., research hours in the natural sciences or an internship) via an Honors Program Capstone Contract.
  • HN400. Honors Symposium (1 credit)
  • HN300. Honors Interdisciplinary Colloquium (3 credits)

Honors Capstone Project

The Honors Capstone Project provides Honors Students with an opportunity to pursue artistic achievement, traditional or interdisciplinary research, or service-learning and community-based projects. The Honors Capstone could be an enrichment or extension of an academic project, creative activity, or practical experience in which the student is already engaged through her major area of study. It could also be a fully distinct project of the student’s choosing. To qualify as an Honors Capstone Project, a project must be judged to be of Honors-level work by the Honors Director and the Student’s Honors Project Advisor.

Transfer students who participated in the honors program at their most recent former institution of higher education are invited to petition the Honors Director for admission into Millikin University’s Honors Program. Students transferring from two-year institutions with which Millikin has a formal Honors Program articulation agreement are automatically invited to join the Honors Program. Honors coursework will be transferred as determined by the Honors Director and the University Registrar. Students who have earned an Associates of Arts or an Associate of Sciences and successfully completed their 2 year institution’s honors program will be regarded as having met all 100 and 200 level honors program requirements.

Why should a student transfer into the Millikin Honors Program?

As a transfer student, joining the Honors Program gives you the opportunity to continue your honors experience at Millikin. Our Honors Community is strong, supportive and vibrant. Transferring into the Honors Program, allows you to plug yourself directly into a community of intellectually curious and academically engaged students, students like you. The Honors Program also affords you an opportunity to complete remaining general education courses and meet a variety of other graduation requirements in an Honors environment. Transfer Honors students share all of the benefits enjoyed by all Millikin Honors Students.

Exclusive and engaging Honors Courses that:

  • Are flexible and student driven
  • Cover a wide variety of topics taught by Honors Faculty
  • Feature innovative and experimental pedagogy
  • Fulfill all University Studies requirements
  • Opportunities for individualized & self-motivated scholarship or creative projects.
  • Interaction with campus leaders among students, faculty, and administrators
  • Service and outreach activities which enrich and serve the Honors, Millikin, and larger community.
  • Access to a dedicated Honors Student Lounge.
  • Freshman and Sophomore residential Honors Communities
  • Early Registration for courses.
  • Ability to register for up to 21 credits per term at normal, full-time tuition rate.

Honors Program Requirements

  • HN300. Honors Interdisciplinary Colloquium (3 credits)
    Students may meet this requirement by taking an additional HN350 course.
  • HN350. Honors Global Interdisciplinary Colloquium (3 credits)
    Students studying abroad for Millikin credit may articulate an IN350 eligible course with either HN300 or HN350 (but not both) to fulfill this requirement.
  • IN490. Honors Independent Study (4 credits)  May be articulated with a course or set of courses in another academic department (e.g., research hours in the natural sciences or an internship) via an Honors Program Capstone Contract.
  • HN400. Honors Symposium (1 credit)

Honors Capstone Project: The Honors Capstone project provides Honors Students with an opportunity to pursue artistic  achievement, traditional or interdisciplinary research, or service-learning and community-based projects. The Honors Capstone could be an enrichment or extension of an academic project, creative activity, or practical experience in which the student is already engaged through her major area of study. It could also be a fully distinct project of the student’s choosing. To qualify as an Honors Capstone Project, a project must be judged to be of Honors-level work by the Honors Director and the Student’s Honors Project Advisor.

* Honors students who did not complete the honors program at their previous institution may need to complete additional Millikin Honors Program courses. See the Millikin University Bulletin and contact the Honors Director, Dr. Michael Hartsock for further information.

These are broken up in to three groups: Honors Writing Studio II, 200 level seminars, and 300 level colloquia. All first year honors students need to take an Honors Writing Studio II & a 200-level seminar in the spring. All honors students are welcome to take any of the 200 or 300 level courses, whether you “need” them or not!

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151):

This course is designed to position you as a successful writer, reader, and researcher as you move into advanced coursework in your major and in the Honors Program, with an emphasis on undertaking critical inquiry and writing in increasingly sophisticated ways for a variety of rhetorical contexts. You will spend the majority of the semester working in a workshop setting to carry out the intensive research-based writing project you proposed in HN 150, in consultation with your professor, your peer writing group, and your assigned librarian. After completing a polished, written version of your writing project, you will remix that project for different audiences using multiple modes and media. The semester will conclude with the Honors Writing Studio Showcase, at which you will present and reflect on the remixed versions of your intensive writing project to an audience of peers, faculty, and community members.

Note: All Honors Writing Studio II courses (HN151-01 – HN151-06) have the same course description.

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-01)

  • Dr. Michael O’Conner
  • CRN: 30187
  • Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-02)

  • Dr. Michael O’Conner
  • CRN: 30188
  • Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-03)

  • Dr. Anne Matthews
  • CRN: 30189
  • Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-04)

  • Dr. Anne Matthews
  • CRN: 30190
  • Monday, Wednesday & Friday 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-05)

  • Dr. Karly Grice
  • CRN: 30191
  • Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Honors Writing Studio II (HN151-06)

  • Dr. Karly Grice
  • CRN: 30192
  • Monday, Wednesday & Friday 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM

200 Level Honors Seminars:

Honors Seminar: American Film (HN203-01)
Dr. Dr. Michael O’Conner
CRN: 30348
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM
This three-credit film studies honors seminar is essentially an introduction to viewing film as an aesthetic art form, with some emphasis on cinema terminology and technique, the history of film, and the relationship between film and literature. A significant theme running throughout the course will be "the American Dream, the American Nightmare," or an examination of how cultural and national identity, including our hopes and fears, are reflected in the films we make and watch in the United States. These films often include examinations of issues of race, class, or gender. Influential and award-winning films used in the past have included Birth of a Nation, The Gold Rush, Citizen Kane, Stagecoach, It's a Wonderful Life, The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon, Do the Right Thing, American Beauty, War of the Worlds, Singin’ In the Rain, Juno, and others. Fulfills a humanities honors seminar requirement for Honors Students. If student does not continue on in the Honors Program, can fulfill the College of Arts & Sciences literature course requirement, and/or can count as an IN250 requirement.

Reacting to the Past (HN203-02)
Dr. Brian Mullgardt
CRN: 30423
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM
In this Reacting to the Past™ course students relive key points in United States history through elaborate role-playing games. Divided into teams students, informed by primary and secondary historical texts and guided by the instructor, compete in simulation games to advance their agendas and “win” each game. During the spring course students will play roles in games addressing United States history after the Civil War.

Free Will (HN203-03)
Dr. Michael Hartsock
CRN: 31196
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM
It seems obvious that, at least for many things I do, I choose to act in certain ways, and I could choose to act differently. Philosophers call this capacity free will. It seems obvious to us that we have free will, but upon closer examination the idea of free will goes from obvious to deeply perplexing. For one, every event in the known universe has a cause, and the more we learn about the brain, the more this rule seems to apply to us, as well. In light of this, some argue that free will is an illusion: Our brains are machines and all of our actions are the result of a long chain of causes, like dominoes falling into one another. Others argue that God’s omniscience determines all future events, leaving no room for free will. But we cannot abandon free will lightly. Free will seems a necessary condition for many of the things we value, like morality and love. Imagine life without free will:

  • You aren't responsible or praiseworthy for being a hard-working, intelligent honors student. You're merely lucky for having such a fine brain.
  • The people in jail aren't there because they are responsible or blameworthy. They are unlucky for having such bad brains.
  • I can't help but love my children and my wife. What is so special about a relationship that I didn't choose and couldn't feel differently about?

In this course we will investigate the meaning of free will, and the arguments for and against its existence. Furthermore, we will examine the significance of Free Will for other, related issues like morality, love, and science. You should choose this seminar, if you can!

Biology of Spiders (HN204-01)
Dr. Marianne Robertson
CRN: 30087
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
The goal of this course is to develop an appreciation of biology in general, using spiders as a learning tool. We will examine structure and function as a background to understanding the ecology and behavior of these animals. Lectures require class participation by all students!! Laboratory work will emphasize spider natural history and identification. This course counts as your Natural Science with lab requirement, so there is a significant laboratory component representing performance learning in action! My class motto is: Bring Your Enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3D Printing (HN204-02)
Dr. Kyle Knust
CRN: 31197
Tuesday & Thursday 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
An honors seminar course to introduce 3D printing technologies and their diverse applications. Through a combined lecture and laboratory approach, the operating principles for 3D printing will be studied. Students will use computer-aided design (CAD) software to generate 3D models. Hands-on experience operating fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers will be provided during laboratory work to demonstrate the application and limitations of these technologies. Student teams will build a FDM 3D printer and employ an entrepreneurial mindset to complete a series of projects utilizing 3D printing to convert ideas into physical solutions addressing real-world problems. The course will culminate with a team-developed project to prepare a 3D printed prototype that creates financial or social value.

Evolutionary Approaches to Communication (HN206-01)
Dr. Amy Delaney
CRN: 31198
Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
An evolutionary approach to communication scholarship merges the social sciences with biology and physiology, considering how one’s biology and social environment are intricately tied. For example, several communication behaviors such as conflict, affection, and emotional expression have significant biological links. In this course, we examine associations between physiological processes, communication, and individual/relational outcomes. We will consider research from a variety of disciplines, including communication, but also human development, health psychology, and evolutionary biology. We will investigate ways that physiological processes affect communication and ways that communication impacts mental and physical health outcomes.

Entrepreneurship (HN206-02)
Dr. Julie Shields
CRN: 31199
Tuesday & Thursday 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Wildly successful entrepreneurs, professionals, creatives, and scientists have something in common: they have failed time and time again. Failure is a critical - and often overlooked - component to moving forward. From Edison to Jobs, from Curie to DaVinci, brilliant performance takes practice - even performances - marked by epic, seemingly constant failures. It is, in fact, the price of brilliance.
We will explore the importance of failure in innovation, the emotions that come with failure, and the approaches successful people have to deal positively with failures to exponentially learn from them.
We will intentionally design tests to fail, perform those tests, iterate on them, and leverage the results to build plans for future success.

Money and Generosity (HN206-03)
Dr. Jorge Chavez-Rojas
CRN: 30418
Tuesday & Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
This course introduces students to the understanding of the interplay between people’s appeal for money and the impact it may have on their generous behavior.
Money facilitates market exchange, but the social significance of money goes beyond its obvious importance in modern market economies. We will explore how money can create tensions between our consumerism habits and the desire of becoming a generous person. We will also analyze some assumptions about the concept of money that may undermine some pro-social values.
Generosity is not new to human societies; in fact, it is deeply embedded in many religious beliefs and human traditions. The study of generosity is important because it is a concept that rests deep in our value system that influences the decisions we make.

The Signal and the Noise: How Date Affects our Lives (HN207-01)
Dr. Emily Olson
CRN: 30246
Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Data and its analysis influence domains as wide reaching as baseball, finance, politics, and national security. Given the ubiquity of data-driven technology in our world, it is essential to consider the influence and ethical ramifications of human biases in the use of data. Through Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise and other readings, this course explores the use of data-driven mathematical predictions in modern society.

300 Level Honors Colloquia

Hemingway and 20th Century World (HN300-01)
Dr. Dan Monroe
CRN: 31200
Tuesday & Thursday 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
The most important American writer of the 20th century was Ernest Hemingway. As a young, expatriate newspaper columnist in Europe, Hemingway wrote fiction that was characterized by simple declarative sentences and scant use of adjectives and adverbs, a distinct contrast to the flowery verbiage typical of 19th century fiction. Yet, though devoid of adjectives, Hemingway's stories still conveyed tremendous emotion and intellectual power, and his unique style was quickly recognized, celebrated, and imitated. A generation of young writers emulated Hemingway's hard-boiled prose, if not the stylistic force and power conveyed in his fiction. He became a national celebrity whose movements about the world were chronicled in major dailies. The course considers Hemingway's stylistic innovation through reading representative works, allowing students to weigh the importance of his contribution to American letters. Hemingway's handiwork also reflected the historical period in which it appeared, and consequently, provides a window for discussion of American culture and life in each decade of Hemingway's life. Hence students will also investigate and discuss the historical context of Hemingway's greatest novels and short stories as a window into each respective period. In the 1920s, a time of sober reflection if not outright disillusionment among American writers and intellectuals, Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises, "Big Two-Hearted River," and "Soldier's Home," fiction that neatly captured the prevailing sense of despair and malaise that afflicted the post-World-War-One intelligentsia. During the Depression, Hemingway wrote To Have and Have Not, "Wine of Wyoming," and other stories and novels that reflected the ethos of the economic crisis. He was savagely criticized by the political left for writing about bullfighting and marlin fishing instead of contributing articles on the ongoing class struggle, criticism that Hemingway rejected, in strong language, yet may also have internalized, based on his work after 1935. His politics amounted to a strong libertarianism, a suspicion of and distaste for government at all levels, and a fierce determination to remain independent as an artist. He savagely criticized the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration and the New Deal for creating a dependency culture, and he disparaged the federal government for criminal incompetence in failing to evacuate WPA workers, most of whom were veterans of the Great War, who were building a railroad to Key West when killed in the historically massive hurricane of 1935. In the 1940s, Hemingway labored as a war correspondent; he had warned of the coming of World War Two in his novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, published in 1940. He had advocated for the repeal of the Neutrality Acts and for American rearmament. His subsequent experience as a war correspondent, he landed in Europe soon after D-Day, is represented in his short story, "Black Ass at the Cross Roads," and in the novel Across the River and Into the Trees. With the Cold War as a backdrop in the 1950s, Hemingway wrote his classic short novel The Old Man and the Sea and a number of works that were published posthumously that were experimental in nature, e.g., The Garden of Eden. His later work suggested Hemingway's continuing willingness to challenge convention in both style and subject.

Global Science Policy (HN350-01)
Dr. Laura Zimmerman
CRN: 30088
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
It has been said that all politics is local while all science is global. This class will investigate the connection between public policy, science and technology, and global governments by examining such issues as climate change, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and emerging diseases. Students will learn the players in policy for science as well as science for policy along with how to analyze policy and communicate and understand the process of science.

Philosophy East-West (HN350-02)
Dr. Eric Roark
CRN: 31201
Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15PM
This course will survey the most influential ideas and traditions within both Eastern and Western Philosophy. Within these traditions the goal will be focused on exploring a plethora of philosophical topics including: ethics, metaphysics, knowledge, philosophy of language, and philosophy of religion. The class will also explore social, political, and cultural similarities and differences between Eastern and Western culture.

Honors Symposium (HN400-01)
Dr. Michael Hartsock
CRN: 31202
In this course, Honors Students showcase and discuss their capstone Honors Projects with their Honors Program peers and faculty. Students must be able to communicate fundamental and essential aspects of their capstone project to their Honors Program Peers. This will include a clear articulation and defense of the nature and significance of the project, its method or media, and its results or outcomes. This course should be taken during the semester in which the student plans to complete their Honors Capstone Project (usually first or second semester of their Senior Year). If you have completed an Honors Capstone Contract and plan to graduate in May 2019, you must enroll in this course.

Below is a sample of honors courses that were previously offered at Millikin:

Previous Honors Courses

Global Haiku Traditions
Dr. Randy Brooks
This course examines the origins and spread of Japanese poetics from Japan around the world, with a special focus on the adaptation of haiku into other cultures and languages. This course explores the role of haiku as a social literary art—both the art of reading and art of writing haiku emphasize the importance of shared collaborative aesthetic experiences (shared acts of the imagination). There is a very active global haiku community of writers, editors, scholars and associations celebrating participation in this literary art. We will study the history of haiku and related poetics in Japan, and then examine the contemporary internalization of haiku in various cultures. Students complete both an analytical study of a contemporary haiku poet or issue in the haiku community as well as various creative projects connecting haiku to other arts. There are numerous web resources available for this course located at:

Stress and Disease
Dr. Travis Wilcoxen
Understanding the health and physiology of humans can be greatly improved by studying nonhuman animals. Humans have retained many ancestral physiological traits, such as stress responses, that are beneficial to many other animals, but are somewhat useless, or even harmful, to us. Further, as human populations continue to grow and encroach on populations of wild animals, diseases that are often found in other animals occasionally jump into human populations. In this course, students will gain an understanding of the interrelatedness of stress and disease of humans and other animals through the reading of primary sources and nonfiction works with scientific topics. This course also includes hands-on laboratory activities.

It Came From Memphis
Dr. Dave Burdick
It Came from Memphis is an examination of the origins of Rock and Roll artistry and how this artistry was developed and commercialized through recording technology. Artistry can best be understood through a larger examination of social/historical context and the very nature of artistic creation. So, even though this is not really a history course, there is a strong component of historical study with the intent being to place artistry and recording technology – coupled with the music entrepreneurs whose vision provided the means for artists to attain commercial success in time, and thus understand sequences of events and influences that have led us to where we are today regarding Rock and Roll music. It Came from Memphis includes a field trip to Memphis over the first weekend of Fall break so that we may “walk in the footsteps of history”.

International Trade and Economic Development
Dr. Najiba Benabess
This course is composed of two parts. In the first part, we examine why nations trade, what they trade, and whether trade is beneficial for a country. We cover the comparative advantage theory, which explains international trade with the differences in labor productivity and resource endowments. International labor capital movements and foreign outsourcing will be also discussed. The second part focuses on the relationship between international trade and economic development. We discuss how international trade affects economic growth, income inequality, and poverty reduction in the trading countries. We will also study the trade policies such as tariff and nontariff instruments and their impact on welfare under different market structures. In particular, we evaluate the effectiveness of trade policies in developing countries in promoting economic development. The evolution of regional free trade agreements and the new world trading system under the WTO will be reviewed and discussed.

Horror in Film and Fiction: Daring the Nightmare
Prof. Judi Crowe
This course explores the genre of horror in fiction and film, its historical, social, political, and cultural underpinnings, and what is at stake in the genre as a whole in terms of issues of religion, psychology, science, ethics, gender, race, and culture. We will examine and discuss a variety of scholarly, historical, literary, and pop culture sources as well as view films representative of various subgenres (monster, psychological, etc.) of horror. Core texts by Stephen King and our reading packet offer diverse grounding of a topic that continues to disturb, sometimes disgust, yet ever intrigues us. Indeed, as King points out, we do so like to dare the nightmare……..

Sex, Lies, and the Brothers Grimm: The Real Fairy Tales
Dr. Anne Matthews
We know fairy tales mostly through Disney versions—Beauty and the Beast, in particular, has enjoyed multiple iterations and interpretations. But if we go back to the original stories (or as close as we can get in origination and translation), we quickly find that the once familiar tales are actually quite strange: more raw, more complex, more challenging and disturbing. Still, the old tales have much to tell us about love, sex, marriage, family, childhood, society, violence, abandonment, and perhaps most important of all, transformations from one way of being into another. In short, the storytellers had the same questions we have: who are we? What is my relationship to others? Why should I care about my community? Where am I going? These are only some opening questions—no doubt we will think of others as we read and talk and write about these weird works of the human imagination.

Psych for a Popular Audience
Dr. Melissa Scircle
Psychology for a Popular Audience will investigate the science of psychology through reading books written about psychology for a mass audience, watching TED talks, listening to podcasts, reading news articles, and - yes - reading the original research articles. We will explore what makes science writing different from scientific writing, how scientists can effectively communicate their research findings to non-scientists and discover how psychological research goes beyond the laboratory to make a broader impact on the world. Plan to read, watch, listen, discuss, write…and maybe even give your own TED talk.

Monsters, Exiles & Others
Dr. Anne Matthews
Of all the definitions of “monster”—abnormal, grotesque, repulsive, among others—I like the Latin one best. From the word “monere”—to monitor, to warn—and from the word “monstrum”—a divine omen, a portent, a sign—the monster emerges as an observer, as well as a messenger. What does the monster see? What news has she come to give us? What warning must we heed? In our reading, which will include Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Island of Dr Moreau, and one or two other narratives, we will attend to the monsters’ tales, taking in their knowledge and discerning what they are asking us to do.

Creating the Documentary: Telling the Story of a Lifetime
Dr. Ngozi Onuora
This 3 credit hour course allows student scholars to research and create an 8 to 10 minute documentary about a national, historical, or social issue for which they are passionate and want to bring to the consciousness of the campus and the greater (local) community. Working in teams of 35 people (depending on class size), students will take on key roles as part of a film crew while engaging in critical thinking, reading, writing, research, and creative problem-solving to plan the content of the documentary and the execution of filming/editing/producing the final movie to tell a story they have always wanted to tell. To prepare for the process of creating a quality documentary, scholars will watch and critique several documentaries throughout the first half of the semester; learn about copyright laws and fair use policies; address ethical issues in documentary storytelling; learn ways documentaries can address historical, social, cultural, and political issues; practice effective use of video recording devices; and, experiment with editing footage using video editing software such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, etc. (depending on available software), among other preparatory learning activities. The culminating event will be Millikin University’s fifth Blue Docs Rock documentary film festival. Film crews will advertise and generate a publicity campaign to garner support for the premiere of their documentaries. Finally, students may be encouraged to submit their documentaries to appropriate film festivals or online venues to experience entering a film contest.