The Patrick Leahy Honors College Curriculum

A core curriculum: preparing students for original research and a senior thesis

The Patrick Leahy Honors College (PLHC) experience begins in the fall semester of the first year with a variety of special topics courses that all fulfill UVM’s Writing and Information Literacy (WIL1) requirement.  These courses are taught in a seminar format with a small number of students in each section.

In the spring semester, first-year  PLHC students continue on to a new selection of special topics courses, many of which fulfill requirements of the University's Catamount Core general education curriculum, helping students to make efficient progress toward their degrees. Spring semester courses build on the writing-intensive experience from HCOL 1000 and additionally introduce students to public speaking, research presentation, and collaborative group work.

Through these first-year courses, students become well-acquainted with each other and the Honors College faculty. By living with fellow honors students, and attending social programming and other events, they create an exciting intellectual community.

As students progress through the Ptrick Leahy Honors College, they narrow their focus, enrolling as sophomores in honors seminars developed to focus on faculty members' special research topics. Through undergraduate research grant programs and honors course work, students also may work closely with faculty in laboratories, out in the field, or in other research hubs (such as library special collections) as they begin to develop their own special areas of interest.

Patrick Leahy Honors College Core Curriculum Learning Objectives

The PLHC Core Curriculum is designed to invite Honors College students to explore the depth and breadth of the liberal arts and college-level academic opportunities through a thoughtfully curated set of special topics seminars offered by skilled teaching faculty. The Core Curriculum seeks to help students build a specific set of skills that will serve them not only during their college careers as Honors College Scholars, but through graduation and beyond.

Throughout their participation the first two years of the Honors College curriculum, in which students take HCOL 1000, HCOL 1500, and six credits in HCOL 2000 (the Core Curriculum), students will learn to:

  • Produce and revise college-level writing in a variety of disciplinary styles, forms, and genres
  • Identify the core question within scholarly text, and the main argument developed in response to it
  • Participate in guided and informed conversations about race and racism, structures of inequality, and building diverse and inclusive communities
  • Develop and refine critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills
  • Effectively communicate original research through oral presentations and visualizations
  • Engage in rigorously-informed classroom discussion as both active listeners and contributors
  • Explore and investigate pressing questions and problems from a diverse range of disciplinary perspectives, using a rich variety of academic tools and intellectual approaches and appreciating the depth and breadth of the liberal arts

Beyond the core curriculum: the junior and senior years

In their junior and senior years, students focus more intensely on their fields of study (majors and minors) in their home schools and colleges.  In the junior year, they work on developing research skills specific to their fields and identifying research questions that will prepare them for an independent research or creative project--the six-credit Honors thesis--they will undertake in their senior year.  If applicable, they also continue their involvement in their departmental honors programs.


Patrick Leahy Honors College First Year Coursework & Requirements

Parick Leahy College Sophomore Year Coursework & Requirements

Patrick Leahy honors College Junior & Senior Year Coursework & Requirements