Curricular Pathways

What are Honors courses?

All Honors courses are unique and available to those admitted into the Honors College. The Honors curriculum allows students to satisfy General University Requirements, meaning Honors is not a substantial addition of work or time added to a student's undergrad. You can learn more about the specifics of each class type by going through the Curriculum tab of our website.

While Western Washington University accepts a wide range of credits, transferred credits do not replace the Honors College curriculum.

You can learn about the different types of Honors courses below as well as the different curricular pathways that students can take.

Curricular Pathways

Curricular pathways are subject to Honors academic advisor approval.

First-Year & Running Start Students

Required Honors courses:

  • HNRS 101
  • First-Year Sequence
  • (2) Colloquia
  • (2) Honors Seminars
  • HNRS 390: Capstone Preparation*
  • HNRS 490: Senior Capstone

Completion of this course pathway will satisfy the requirements for the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor.

*HNRS 390 will be a required course for students entering the Honors College in Fall 2023 and beyond.

DTA Running Start Students

Students who have completed the DTA-AA through Running Start.

Required Honors Courses:

  • HNRS 101
  • First-Year Sequence
  • (4) Honors Seminars
  • HNRS 390: Capstone Preparation*
  • HNRS 490: Senior Capstone (at least 4 credits of HNRS 490)

Completion of this course pathway will satisfy the requirements for the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor.

DTA students need to connect with an Honors advisor to ensure proper exceptions are made through Degree Works to reflect this pathway.

*HNRS 390 will be a required course for students entering the Honors College in Fall 2023 and beyond.

Transfer Students

Students who join us from community colleges, other universities, or are current Western students. These students typically have a high number of completed college credits. Meeting with an Honors College academic advisor is highly recommended.

Required Honors courses:

  • (4) Honors Seminars
  • HNRS 390: Capstone Preparation*
  • HNRS 490: Senior Capstone

Transfer students are not eligible for the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor.

Transfer students can complete the DTA pathway if they would like to add the Honors minor to their transcript.

*HNRS 390 will be a required course for students entering the Honors College in Fall 2023 and beyond

First-Year Sequence (13 credits)

Taken during a student's first year in the Honors College.

Fall Quarter

HNRS 101

The Big Picture is a common intellectual experience for all new students in the WWU Honors College. It combines an introduction to WWU Honors with engaging conversations with top scholars from across the university. S/U grading. (1 credit)

HNRS 103 – Navigating the Human Experience Pre-Modernity

Texts from ancient times to the 13th century - students navigate ideas drawn from outside a modern framework of thought. (4 HUM credits)

Winter Quarter

HNRS 104 – Navigating the Human Experience Modernity

Texts from the 13th to 20th centuries - students navigate how a modern framework of thought came to be. (4 HUM credits)

Spring Quarter

HNRS 105 – Navigating the Human Experience Post-Modernity A

Comparative culture in the modern world; emphasis outside North America and Europe (4 ACGM credits)


HNRS 106 – Navigating the Human Experience Post-Modernity B

Comparative culture in the modern world; multicultural and gender studies (4 BCGM credits)

Lower Division Colloquia (8-10 credits)

Two Honors Colloquia are required. These 200-level classes are offered each year in areas such as economics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, and geology. Honors students can take colloquium courses any time during their undergrad.

Upper-Division Seminars (6 credits)

A minimum of two Honors seminars is required. Seminars are 300-level courses that Western faculty compete to teach, which cover an array of fields and topics that are refreshed each year. Seminars typically have between 10 and 15 students. Honors students take seminars during their junior and senior years of their undergrad.

Senior Capstone Project (2-9 credits)

HNRS 390 Capstone Project Preparation is a 1-credit course that aids Honors students in the steps required to design and execute the project that is the final step in completing their Honors coursework. By the end of the term, students will have thoroughly gone through the preparatory process. HNRS 390 will be a required course for students entering the Honors College in Fall 2023 and beyond.

HNRS 490 can be taken over 1-3 quarters prior to graduation to complete the capstone. HNRS 490 is a variable credit load with a minimum of 2 credits and a maximum of 8 credits. Replacement of HNRS 490 with departmental research credits is possible but requires prior approval from Honors.

Honors Recognition at Graduation

Separate from the Honors Minor, Honors students who complete any of the above pathways, in addition to maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.5 for the last 90 graded credits of university-level work, earn University Honors recognition at graduation.

Priority Registration

Honors students may request priority registration for any 3 quarters during their tenure at WWU (exclusive of their first quarter). Requests for priority registration will be prompted by the Honors staff prior to Phase 1 registration for the upcoming quarter.

Priority registration allows you to register for all your classes (not just Honors) within the first time slot of registration. Priority registration does not give exceptions for course restrictions (e.g. MJ, JR, SR, PREREQ). You will still need to meet the listed prerequisites or get the proper overrides from the course's home department.