Honors Courses

Honors courses are offered in every fall and spring semester. Honors courses have section numbers containing the letter H. Honors courses are more challenging, involve more discussion and debate, often (if not always) require longer and more in-depth research papers and oral presentations by students. Honors courses are most certainly more demanding, usually involving more reading and preparation.

Any student with at least a 3.5 grade point average may enroll in an Honors course. Students who do not meet this criterion may request permission of the instructor to enroll in an Honors course.

Spring 2019 Courses

GOV 102-HO Political Ideologies — Dr. Snow — Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00–2:30 pm

This course has several goals. First, to provide a comparative and critical understanding of the concept of ideology, and to introduce and analyze some of the most important contemporary political ideologies. We give particular attention to liberalism, conservatism, fascism, socialism, communism and Islamism. Second, the course aims to familiarize students with the origins and key concepts of contemporary political debates. In addition, by the end of the course students should understand what ideology (or ideologies) they believe in, and the most important criticisms of these ideologies. We will accomplish these goals by reading, thinking, talking and writing in depth about writings by, among others, Thomas More, Robert Owen, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Murray Rothbard, Peter Singer, T.H. Green, Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman, Sayyid Qutb and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


This course counts as a Social Sciences course in the Knowledge Areas and provides the following Key Skills: intensive Critical Reading and Analysis (RR) and intensive Written Communication (WW).


Contact information: sgsnow@wagner.edu

HI 250-HO History of Science and Medicine in America — Dr. Palfreyman — Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40–4:10 pm

Americans usually think of the development of science and medicine as a story of steady, continuous progress from the primitive, often superstitious past to the advanced, ever-improving present.  In reality, the evolution of scientific and medical knowledge has looked less like a straight line and more like a twisting tree with splintering limbs and numerous dead branches.   This course will examine the ways in which various groups of Americans have argued about truth, competed for legitimacy, and undergone paradigmatic revolutions in the complicated and often confused path towards the place we stand today.  We will cover specific developments and debates in the progression of scientific and medical knowledge, including Newtonian physics, humoral medicine, evolutionary theory, eugenics, germ theory, atomic energy, the human genome, climate change, weaponization of technology, and more.  We will also consider the history of science as a way of thinking—a set of principles and methods that has admitted a tremendous variety of competing and even opposing theories about how the world and the human body work.


This course counts as a Humanities course in the Knowledge Areas and provides the following Key Skills: intensive Critical Reading and Analysis (RR), practice/exposure Information Literacy (L), and practice/exposure Written Communication (WC).


Contact information: brett.palfreyman@wagner.edu

This Honors ILC for first-year students combines philosophy and computing to explore the social and moral issues surrounding firearm possession, use, and abuse in the United States. The philosophical discussions will be augmented by researching and analyzing data through programming in the Wolfram programming language. Students will learn exploratory data analysis, functional programming, and visual data representation to support their philosophical arguments. The course will have a strong research component and the entire class will participate in a research project.

Students must choose one of the following options for fulfilling Key Skills & Knowledge:

1) Registering for this course as CH 221 will count as a Sciences & Mathematics course in the Knowledge Areas and will provide the following Key Skills: intensive Technological Competency (TT), practice/exposure Oral Communication (O), and practice/exposure Quantitative Thinking (Q).
CH 221-HL Introduction to Scientific Computing — Sharma — Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20 am – 12:50 pm
2) Registering for this course as PH 203 will count as a Humanities course in the Knowledge Areas and will provide the following Key Skills: intensive Intercultural Understanding (UU), intensive Critical Reading and Analysis (RR), and practice/exposure Written Communication (WC).
PH 203-HL Ethics and Society — Donovan — Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:20 am – 12:50 pm
Contact information: arunkumar.sharma@wagner.edu and sdonovan@wagner.edu

This Honors ILC focuses on climate change.

EC 291-HL Special Topics: Climate Change — Leacy — Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40–4:10 pm


HI 291-HL Special Topics: Climate Change — Rappaport — Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40–4:10 pm

This intermediate learning community (ILC), intended for Nursing majors, includes an Honors section of NR 224 Nutrition & Health. This ILC that looks at the cellular nutrition of eukaryotes (humans) vs. the nutrition of prokaryotes (bacteria). The ILC also covers the similarities and differences in the structure, function and role of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins and trace elements in humans and bacteria.  Finally, it looks at the immunological aspects of nutrition across the human life span compared to the immunological aspects in disease prevention.

Students seeking a more challenging approach to the study of Nutrition & Health are invited to take any section of MI 200 to complete the two-course ILC. (Allowing students to take any section of MI 200 is both a response to increased enrollment in the Nursing major and the goal of providing an Honors section of NR 224.)

MI 200 Microbiology — Bobbitt — Select any section of MI 200

MI 200L Microbiology Lab — Select any section of MI 200L (one 2-hour lab per week)

NR 224-HL Nutrition & Health — Aurelus — Friday 8:00–11:00 am

AA 475-HO Entertainment Business Law — Prof. Price

This course will consist of an overview of the legal system and how the legal system impacts the entertainment industry.  The topics to be explored include the relationship of Artist and Agent/ Manager, contractual issues, copyrights and trademarks, constitutional issues, and antitrust regulation of the industry.  The laws and business practices affecting the broadcast, music, television, film, and theatre industries will be discussed.   Students will be required to visit arts organizations and report to the class on their experiences.  The weekly schedule will be flexible to allow for guest speakers, class trips, and class presentations.

Students will learn to analyze issues and express reasoned opinions about the legal and business practices of the entertainment industry.  This class will provide students with a broad overview of how the entertainment industry operates.

Prerequisite:  AA 250 Introduction to Management and the Arts or permission of Instructor.


Contact information: todd.price@wagner.edu

AS 108-H2 Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies — Prof. Kozak — Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40–11:10 am

This course in astronomy is given for both science and non-science majors, and is multidisciplinary. One aspect deals with astrobiology – the evolution of our solar system, the formation of the earth, and the sequence of events leading up to the evolution of our own species. These topics serve as a model in the quest for discovering extrasolar planets, as well as extraterrestrial life. Another aspect of the course deals with astrophysics- the application of the theories of Newton and Einstein in studying the life cycle of stars, as well as the formation of galaxies. Included will be a discussion of black holes and the future possibility of time travel. The final aspect of this course will deal with cosmology- the big bang theory of how the universe began, as well as the possibility of a multiverse consisting of an infinite number of universes existing in space-time. The most recent research will be explored, including that with high-speed particle accelerators, the existence of the Higgs boson, and the LIGO experiments with colliding black holes proving gravity waves exist. Lectures will be supplemented by slides, science and science fiction film clips, and recent articles from newspapers and magazines. Students will be required to do research at the Rose Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.

A comment from the instructor: This honors course differs from the non-honors section because students in this course will be required to select either a science book, science fiction novel, or a periodical from a selected bibliography given by the instructor. This assignment will count as a lecture exam, giving the honor student an enriched experience with the possibility of earning a higher course grade than if the student were not enrolled in the honors section. In addition, the instructor, currently serving his fourteenth year as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA, will supplement all lectures with the most up to date information on stars and galaxies. The instructor has taught this course for the past eleven years and finds it just as exciting and interesting as the students taking the course.

Contact information: hkozak@wagner.edu

EN 356-HO / FR 356-HO French Cinema: Retrogrades, Rebels, and Realists — Dr. Stalcup — Mondays & Wednesdays 2:40–4:10 pm


This course introduces students to the major developments in the history of French cinema. The course aims to develop students’ skills of analysis and interpretation in order to enable them to read and appreciate film as an art form. The course is divided into three parts which present the three principal moments of French cinematic history: the films of Poetic Realism from the 1920s and 1930s; the films of the New Wave from the 1950s and 1960s, and fin-de-siècle films of the 1980s and 1990s. Film-viewings are supplemented by the study of film theory. Taught in English.

For those who became Wagner College students in Spring 2018 or earlier, this course fulfills a Humanities requirement and the International Perspectives (I) requirement.

For those who became Wagner College students in Fall 2018, this course counts as a Humanities course in the Knowledge Areas and provides the following Key Skills: intensive in Intercultural Understanding (UU), practice/exposure in Critical Reading and Analysis (R), and practice/exposure course in Written Communication (WC).


Contact information: dane.stalcup@wagner.edu

HI 280-HO The Holocaust in Film, Theater, Video and the Arts — Dr. Weintrob — Mondays and Wednesdays 11:20 am – 12:50 pm

This course will explore how the Holocaust and other genocides, notably in Rwanda, have been represented in film, theater, photography, music, art, comic books, video testimony, newspapers, television, the internet, novels and other media. What do the works about genocide by writers, artists and film directors teach us about human nature, trauma and ethics? We will explore exemplars of courage and resistance, as well as the role of bystanders, perpetrators and victims.  We will look at the vibrant cultural life in Berlin in the 1930s in relation to ethnic, religious and sexual identity, and later efforts in ghettos and camps to use art and song for spiritual and armed resistance against dehumanization. We will gain insight into the Nazi persecution of Jews, the disabled and others and the relevance of past atrocities today.  Students will have the option to work creatively in and out of class on films or art as part of an original research project. Screened films and plays may include: Triumph of the Will (1935), Judgment at Nuremberg (1957), The Shop on Main Street (1965), Cabaret (1972), Bent (1979), Ghetto (1984), Shoah (1985), Schindler’s List (1993), The Pianist (2002), Sometimes in April (2005) and Defiance (2009).

Contact information: lrweintro@wagner.edu

PS 101-HO Introduction to Psychology — Prof. Nolan — Mondays and Wednesdays 2:40–4:10 pm

This Honors section of Introduction to Psychology is a survey course dealing with the major fields of psychology, including learning, perception, memory, motivation, development, social behavior, disorders of psychological functioning, and physiology of behavior. An introduction to the methodology, frameworks, and principles of contemporary scientific psychology is provided in a discussion-based format with hands-on demonstrations and student presentations.

Contact information: lnolan@wagner.edu

PS 209-HO or RE 209-HO Is Religion “Man-Made?” — Dr. Kaelber — Thursdays 6:00–9:00 pm

Are religious “truths” divinely given or are they created by human beings? We will unravel this issue by approaching the question from various perspectives. We will consider, for example, the psychological approach of Sigmund Freud as well as the materialistic approach of Karl Marx. We will also consider the way in which Christian beliefs, in particular, are conditioned by cultural and political circumstances. We begin by examining religious predictions regarding the “end of the world” and why people continue to hold these beliefs even when they are proven to be untrue. We conclude with the powerful play “Equus” about a teenage boy who creates his own religion.

Students must choose to earn credit for Psychology (Social Sciences) or Religion (Humanities).

Contact information: wkaelber@wagner.edu

PS 240 Psychology of Prejudice — Dr. Arcieri — Mondays and Wednesdays 8:00–9:30 am

An examination of the debates on the roles of biology, family, culture, development, and economic opportunity in generating prejudice. This course will explore classic and contemporary works in the areas of stigma, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Empirical research will be examined to evaluate theoretical explanations for these phenomena. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of the instructor.


Contact information: amanda.arcieri@wagner.edu

SPC 103-HO Public Speaking — Prof. Tennenbaum — Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:40–4:10 pm

A hands-on, practical approach to the study and practice of effective oral communication. Through a series of speaking assignments students will develop strategies to assist them in organizing their thoughts and overcoming performance anxiety on their way to becoming effective speakers. Different types of speeches will be covered including informative, demonstrative and persuasive. The course also includes preparation for special occasion speeches (awards, honors, ceremonies, weddings, etc.) as well as one-on-one situations. The primary goal of the class is to create relaxed, confident speakers who can be comfortable in any situation, whether formal or socially casual.

Contact information: michael.tennenbaum@wagner.edu

Honors Courses Offered in Previous Semesters

Fall Semester 2018

Spring Semester 2018

Fall Semester 2017

Spring Semester 2017

Fall Semester 2016

Spring Semester 2016

Fall Semester 2015

Spring Semester 2015

If you have questions about honors courses, please feel welcome to contact the Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Amy Eshleman (esh@wagner.edu).


Antium Font. Textbooks available on Reserve