Skip to main content

Honors Program

The Honors Curriculum

Students who complete the Carthage Honors Program are expected to commit themselves to rigorous study, and to demonstrate intellectual balance and flexibility through their ability to make connections across disciplines.

Students in the Carthage Honors Program must complete four to six Honors courses during their time at Carthage. These courses meet divisional distribution requirements and Global Heritage and Carthage Symposium requirements. Students must take the following courses, earning a grade of B or higher in all of them.

Carthage Honors Freshman/Sophomore Seminars

Completed in the first four semesters on campus
Carthage Honors Freshman/Sophomore Seminars are for Honors students only. These specially designed seminars generally fall into two categories: “Thinking” courses or “Problem” courses.

The “Thinking” courses are intended to demonstrate to students how professors conduct inquiry and attain knowledge in their fields. These courses are introductory; they do not assume advanced knowledge in the field being treated. Yet these courses give Honors students an in-depth look into the field that students in introductory courses would not typically get. For example, a biologist may begin with an overview of her research and findings pertaining to a particular project. Then, stepping back, the professor would take students to the starting point of her work and from there proceed through the necessary steps to get where she has ended up. Along the way, the professor might show that things do not always go as well as expected or planned, providing the opportunity to show how setbacks and dead ends are dealt with and can be instructive. They likely will touch on new questions that emerge along the way and ask students to begin to think of how they would pursue research into those questions. These courses will be conducted as intensive and interactive seminars. They give professors the chance to show nonspecialists what excites them in their fields, and allow students to learn an approach to inquiry, as opposed to merely the results of inquiry.

The “Problem” courses begin with a contemporary serious problem that is in some way addressed by the professor’s field (or professors’ fields). The problem could be social, economic, environmental, medical, political, pertaining to creativity, or some combination of these. Some of these seminars will work best if they are team-taught by faculty in distinct disciplines. The course begins by explaining the problem, its scale, and who is impacted. It will also look at possible causes and possible solutions, using the terms, categories, and approaches to inquiry within the professor’s field. From this beginning point, the students are asked to broaden their perspective on the problem and to see it in a wider context — a context that might be geographical, historical, or theoretical. That is, the course may demonstrate how the problem is connected to the problems or even the advances found in other places around the country or around the world; it may demonstrate that the problem emerged as a result of attempting to solve other problems; it may show that the problem is seen as a problem because of changes in ideas or changes in standards of fairness. As they go through the course, students begin to see the difficulties inherent in any attempt to solve problems and even to correctly identify and describe them. Overall, these courses help students to see the essential need for more knowledge in the real world — often including knowledge from unexpected sources or about matters not obviously related to the problem with which they started. These courses also show students the need to cultivate the faculty of informed judgment.

Honors Carthage Symposium

Completed in the junior or senior year
In the spring semester of his or her junior or senior year, each Honors student will take an Honors-only Carthage Symposium course. In the course, students will attempt to answer a specific question or to solve a specific problem while working in two distinct disciplines, at least one of which will be outside of his or her major. Please note that qualified students (including transfer students) may petition the Honors Program Director for a modified plan of study.

Honors Global Heritage

Completed in the junior or senior year
Honors Global Heritage courses are approved Global Heritage courses offered in sections for Honors students only. These courses are usually offered in the fall semester. They require active and independent work at a high level. For approval as an Honors Global Heritage course, instructors must show that the course will be taught above the introductory level and will require an independent project of research and/or analysis.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …