First-Year Sequence

The First-Year Sequence consists of discussion-based courses in which careful reading, debate, and inquiry are encouraged. Students often manifest their understanding in experimental or creative forms of expression. The several sections of each class are uniquely shaped by the people in the room. They unite, however, around common conceptual pursuits, such as the nature of justice, power, and love; the processes by which humans make decisions and determine values; and the relationships between individuals and the communities they inhabit.

Across three quarters, first-year Honors students complete four courses. They enroll in HNRS 101 and HNRS 103 concurrently in their first quarter at Western; HNRS 104 in the second; and either HNRS 105 or HNRS 106 in the third. Incoming Honors students must complete the First-Year Sequence unless otherwise discussed with the director of the Honors College. By taking the full sequence, students complete the (BCOM) General University Requirement for graduation in addition to the (HUM) and (ACOM)/(BCOM) credits that are attached to the individual courses.


Fall Quarter

(1 credit)

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.

(4 credits)

Analysis, interpretation, and discussion of a wide range of texts from ancient times to the 5th century. Students navigate ideas drawn from outside a modern framework of thought. May be offered as a study abroad course.

Winter Quarter

(4 credits)

Analysis, interpretation, and discussion of a wide range of texts from the 6th to the close of the 19th century. Students navigate how a modern framework of thought came to be.

Spring Quarter (pick one)

Students choose between HNRS 105 and HNRS 106. Both courses use the rubric of “Postmodernity” to hone in on human experiences that academic discourses have, historically speaking, subordinated and silenced. By communing with those whose lives and creations represent a marked departure from the dominant structures, values, and institutions of the Global North (North America and Western Europe), students are invited to revisit, reconsider, and recontextualize material from previous quarters.

(4 credits)

Comparative culture in the modern world; emphasis outside North America and Europe.

(4 credits)

Comparative culture in the modern world; multicultural and gender studies.