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Honors Courses: What’s the difference?

Photo taken at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. /Russ DeSantis Photography and Video, LLC

How do Honors courses differ from regular general education courses?


  • Courses emphasize discussion and active learning over lectures and information-delivery. They are run as seminars, when/where appropriate.
  • Courses are more intensive learning experiences and study subject matter in greater depth than a regular General Education section
  • Students assume leadership roles in the classroom.
  • Where appropriate, interdisciplinary connections are emphasized.

Course requirements

  • Textbooks are supplemented and/or replaced with other course materials, including primary sources and interpretive secondary sources.
  • Campus and community resources are utilized to broaden the classroom experience and bring in interdisciplinary perspectives.

Course materials

  • Assignments are rigorous and foster stronger critical reading and thinking skills,
  • Assignments require students to synthesize sources and ideas both in writing and in oral presentation.
  • Many Honors courses include a capstone-eligible research paper or project. These are student-conceived and require the integration of multiple sources and/or perspectives.


  • Student work is evaluated with higher standards of performance expectation and the weight of course assignments reflects rigorous Honors course requirements.
  • Assessment focuses on synthesis of ideas, critical thinking, and innovation over test-taking or mastery of facts.