Southern Oregon University is a liberal arts school nestled in the small town of Ashland, Oregon. This school brings together artists, researchers, and explorers unlike any other university. Celebrating their 140th birthday, SOU is one of the leading universities in the Northwest shaping future professionals.

The Honors College Mission & Vision Statement

Combining real world projects with intellectual rigor, The Honors College at Southern Oregon University aims to provide a challenging learning environment. Our creative curricula will take advantage of the university's unique location by drawing on the rich natural, cultural, and artistic resources that are Southern Oregon.

Southern Oregon University seeks to create a community of learners prepared for a lifetime of intellectual curiosity, inquiry, scholarship, and service.

When you have the power to shape your own college experience, the possibilities are limitless.

The Honors College accepts students from every major and allows for a truly customizable academic plan. You are unique, so why stick with a generic course of study? If you think one major just isn't enough for you, you can work with professors and advisors to create your own interdisciplinary major.

We take learning outside the classroom for real-world experiences.

Every Honors student will work with a community mentor: a local professional working in a field of your interest.

With your mentor's guidance, you will conduct an applied research or a creative project and present it to a group composed of all those who helped you along the way. You can do corporate internships, write a groundbreaking sonnet cycle or one-act play, help a local business get on its feet, seek to disprove a popular theorem, and more.

This is more than just networking; it's an exploration of the uncharted world some call "life after college." You will graduate with the necessary skills and experience to feel at home in your professional environment of choice.

Seize your chance to break free from the ordinary.

With your fellow Honors students, you'll take a challenging core of 50 credits of specially designed Honors classes throughout your time at SOU. You'll also need to work to maintain a university GPA of at least 3.25 and an Honors curriculum GPA of at least 3.5.

You will engage in dynamic discussions with driven, intellectually curious peers and professors who delight in a good academic debate. You will be able to participate in intensive research projects, internships that are a perfect fit, and (if you choose) study-abroad experiences all over the world.

Great students deserve great scholarships.

We want you to succeed. It's for this reason that every single Honors student will receive a scholarship. There is no single set of qualifications; the scholarships are awarded on an individual basis depending on academics, financial need, and the overall strength of your application, writing samples, and interview. Oregon residency is not required for admission or scholarship to the Honors College. To apply for university scholarships, fill out the Southern Oregon Scholarship Application (SOSA). Additional scholarships will be awarded by the Honors College.

First Year Curriculum

HON 101 Honors Foundations (4-credits)

The student will demonstrate proficiency in critical reading, analysis, and discussion; being able to identify a subject, purpose, thesis, supporting points, evidence, assumptions, and conclusions in a text; and being able to craft a thesis claim. In addition, the student will demonstrate that he or she can tailor an essay to fit one’s audience and intent, overcome writer’s block through exercises like free-writing and clustering ideas, and write paragraphs that have unity, development, and coherence. Finally, the student will show attentiveness to sentence-level choices, so that writing has vigor, precision, economy, and flair, and design effective beginnings and endings.

HON 102 Honors Foundations (4-credits)

The student will demonstrate an ability to choose a general subject, compile a working bibliography, limit areas of research, formulate a tentative thesis and restate it. Students will also have mastered careful reading and taking notes, the arts of summary, paraphrase, and quotation, and the craft of preparing an outline and writing a first draft. Finally, each student will show that he or she can identify logical fallacies, document sources, and revise and write a final draft. Prerequisite: HON 101.

HON 103 Honors Foundations (4-credits)

The student will demonstrate continued practice of critical thinking skills covered in Fall and Winter through a continued discussion about class readings. The student will also show evidence of information literacy through library research and show a sharpening judgment of legitimate sources. The student will show that he or she is addressing poor writing habits identified in the previous quarters and practicing strategies of sharpening a thesis and developing a coherent an essay. The student will demonstrate habits of revision and time management. Finally, the student will have performed collaboration through small group work, public speaking through small classroom presentations, and creativity by adapting a project from one medium to another. Prerequisite: HON 102.

HON 243 Probability & Statistics (4-credits)

Integrates basic concepts of probability and statistics. Topics from probability include Venn diagrams, independence, mutually exclusive, conditional probability, and counting techniques such as permutations, combinations, and sampling with or without replacement. Covers techniques for describing data both graphically and numerically. Introduces inferential statistical concepts such as the Normal distribution, regression, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and p-values. Students may receive credit for MTH 243 or HON 243, but not both. Approved for University Studies (Strand D). Prerequisite: MTH 95 or an appropriate SOU placement level; enrollment in Honors College.

Sophomore Seminars (1-credit each)

HON 250 Logic & Line of Argumentation
The first of a three-term sequence introduces and develops skills for constructing arguments, including deductive and inductive. Examines a variety of samples for various disciplines as models for reasoning as well as learning to distinguish between opinion, belief, fact, and knowledge.
HON 251 Fallacies in Arguments
The second of a three-term sequence develops skills for recognizing fallacies or errors in reasoning. Examines fallacies in several categories–Relevance, Weak Induction, and, Presumption and Ambiguity
HON 252 Varieties of Reasoning
This seminar explores varieties of argumentation employed in different areas of human experience. It will cover arguments made in the areas of science, law, politics, religion, moral, and philosophical settings. Through careful reading and textual analysis, Socratic dialogues, and writing exercises, the seminar will prepare students to identify and distinguish between argument kinds and their purposes. It will also help distinguish between opinions and beliefs, facts, knowledge, and truth.

HON 301 Biography: Historical & Contemporary Figures (4-credits)

Students will read and critically evaluate at least one authoritative biography, critically review the figure's contribution to their field(s), and research the ramifications and applications of their contribution (such as social, political, or religious). Restricted to Honors College students with sophomore standing or above.

Sample Courses

I. The science and culture of human beauty.

This course explores the concept of human beauty and body image from a variety of perspectives. It explores the history of the concept of beauty, cultural perspectives of beauty, the biology of characteristics associated with beauty, the psychology of body image, the economics of the beauty industry, and the ethics and morality of certain practices to achieve cultural beauty ideals.

II. Plants, geography, and society.

This course explores the use of plants by native peoples in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, from a variety of perspectives, and contrasts it with modern industrialized societies. The impact of plants on economies, medicine, and nutrition will be studied, along with the role of plants in art and religion. We will investigate how the historical development and fall of societies is shaped by climate and geography that affect growing conditions for economically important plants. Throughout the year, students will conduct a community service project to develop a demonstration garden of native plants.

An Honors Montage: Students in the classroom and in the field.

III. The history, politics, and science of water.

This course explores the need for, use and misuse of, and conflict over water throughout history and around the world. The biological importance of water, its movement throughout the biosphere, and the sources of water pollution will be studied. Examples of political conflicts, economic collapse, and wars related to water shortage will be explored from the perspective of different cultures. We will study the economic constraints around water issues, and the moral implications associated with problems of water distribution around the globe. Throughout the year, students will work on a community service project to address water issues in the local area.

IV. Revolution and music, music and revolution.

Study of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro: as a reflection of the moral standards and behaviors of the times and the music as theater and art. An overview of world history and politics contemporary to Mozart. Beaumarchais' play as source material and the socio-political response to it. Gender roles in contemporary (18th century) societies.

V. School daze.

The history of American Education and the parallels to the growth of America as a nation, from the national, internal perspective. Turning points in education (the one-room schoolhouse, open classroom concept; establishment of public education and state funding; the effects of pre- and post-WWII & Sputnik on education; history and application of constitutional interpretations and the Separation of Church and State; the courts and significant changes like special education requirements, corporal punishment, no pass-no-play, expectations of privacy; technological changes and their effects on teaching and learning, etc.)

Catalog Outline

Combining real world projects with intellectual rigor, the Honors College at Southern Oregon University aims to provide a challenging learning environment. Our creative curricula will take advantage of the university's unique location by drawing on the rich natural, cultural, and artistic resources that are Southern Oregon.

Students who wish to graduate as Honors Scholars will complete the following curriculum:

Honors Foundations (HON 101, 102, and 103) 12 credits
Probability and Statistics (HON 243) 4 credits
Honors Seminars
  • 3 one-credit sophomore seminars (Modes of Argumentation)
    • HON 250 - Logic and Line or Argumentation
    • HON 251 - Fallacies in Arguments
    • HON 252 - Varieties of Reasoning
  • 3 one-credit junior seminars (Modes of Research)
    • HON 350 - Qualitative and Historical
    • HON 351 - Descriptive and Correlative
    • HON 352 - Experimental
6 one-credit seminars
Biography: Historical & Contemporary Figures (HON 301) 4 credits
Any five courses, with at least one under each area, from the following list (various topics will be offered under these subject numbers):
  • HON 315 - Art, Culture and Humanities
  • HON 317 - Politics, Institutions and Society
  • HON 319 - Science, Sustainability and Nature
20 credits
Final project (HON 490) 4 credits
Honors capstone provides students with an opportunity to integrate and apply what they have learned over the course of their time at The SOU Honors College. The capstone must be an intensive product of the student's independent work, but should involve engagement with, and feedback from, faculty advisors or mentors.
Total 50