Scientific Reasoning and Discovery

Using a problem-based learning approach to explore topics in science, students in the Scientific Reasoning and Discovery seminars will learn to identify hidden regularities and patterns in nature that may indicate fundamental unifying principles and laws; apply the scientific method to unearth these laws and principles; evaluate scientific information; describe the limitations of the scientific process; understand the importance of collecting accurate and precise data; and develop a valid scientific hypothesis. Investigation will use the tools and methodologies of biology, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines. The emphasis of inquiry in any given section might reflect the particular instructor's area of expertise.

Who Should Take These

Freshmen take one Scientific Reasoning and Discovery course each semester. Freshmen may also take a Scientific Reasoning and Discovery alternative instead of Scientific Reasoning and Discovery.

Scientific Reasoning and Discovery Alternatives

Students can fulfill their Honors Scientific Reasoning and Discovery requirement by either taking an approved alternative course or successfully petitioning a course not already listed here. This list of approved courses is the only eligible list for students who entered the University Honors Program in the fall 2014 semester or later.

All sections of BISC 1111: Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
All sections of BISC 1115: Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules WITH BISC 1125: Introduction to Cells and Molecules Laboratory
All sections of BISC 1112: Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms 
Any 4-credit 2000-level Biology course with lab
All sections of CHEM 1111: General Chemistry I
All sections of CHEM 1112: General Chemistry II
Any 4-credit 2000-level Chemistry course with lab
All sections of PHYS 1021: University Physics I
All sections of PHYS 1022: University Physics II
Any 4-credit 2000-level Physics course with lab
Other Lab-Based Science Courses (With Successful Petition)
A lab-based science course that is not already on this list may be petitioned to count as an alternative. Speak with a Program Officer for more information about the petition process and to obtain a petition form. Students should begin the petition process as soon as possible, and may submit a petition no later than seven days before the end of the add/drop period for the given semester.
CRNS, course meeting times, appropriate prerequisites, and other pertinent registration information for these courses can be found at the online Schedule of Classes

Who Should Take These 

Freshmen take one Scientific Reasoning and Discovery course or an approved alternative each semester.


Revolutions in Astronomy 

Professor Bethany Kung
HONR 1034: 10- 4 credits
CRN: 32010
MW 9:00-10:50 AM

HONR 1034: 11- 4 credits
CRN: 33349
MW 11:00-12:50 PM

Fulfills: CCAS: Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: This course explores the history and frontiers of modern astronomy. In the 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope toward the heavens, the science of astronomy has gone through numerous radical shifts in our understanding of the universe. We will examine these great paradigm shifts, starting with the Copernican revolution, through Hubble’s discovery of the expanding universe, to topics in astrophysics that remain controversial and perplexing even today such as extrasolar planets, black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Both the concepts behind these astronomy revolutions and the associated physics will be emphasized (there is, however, no mathematics prerequisites and the math level will be confined to algebra). We will consider historical and scientific perspectives on who was behind these radical discoveries, what evidence supports each revolution, and how astronomers and society have responded to each advance. Students in this course will develop an understanding of the types of modern astronomical topics discussed frequently in the popular science press and media and will come to appreciate how the science of astronomy is performed. Students will be expected to take an active role in the classroom, where we will explore topics through a combination of lecture, discussion, student presentations, group projects and mathematical exercises.

Concepts in Genetics - Are We Our Genes?

Professor Jelena Patrnogic
HONR 1034: MV- 4 credits
CRN: 33885
TR 11:00-12:50 PM

HONR 1034: MV1- 4 credits
TR 8:30-10:20 AM

Fulfills: CCAS: Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: We are now in the “post-genomic” era and the ability to read our genome is allowing us to answer questions about identity, race, and behavior, to name a few. Throughout this course we will explore genetics through the subject’s history – from the basic concepts of inheritance, to modern day genetics and the technological advances that are opening new avenues for research. These technological advances are important from the standpoint of biomedical applications such as gene therapy and precision medicine. We will explore the impact of these discoveries and examine the social and ethical implications they have brought on. With the advent of these social and ethical implications, science has become ever-present in the media. Discussions will cover how to evaluate research in order to effectively communicate scientific ideas. Lectures will be accompanied by lab exercises as a way of introducing techniques used in biological research. Students are expected to actively participate in class through debate and discussion, written and oral presentations, and group projects while exploring these topics.

Human Reproduction

Professor Carly Jordan
HONR 1034: MV3-  4 credits
CRN: 35497
MW 1:00-2:50 PM

Fulfills: CCAS: Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: In this course, we will explore the biology of human reproduction, with views at many levels. At the cellular level (How are sperm and egg made? How do chromosomes get sorted?), the organ level (What’s happening in the reproductive organs, throughout a month and throughout a lifetime?), the organismal level (How does an embryo become a tiny person? How do changing hormones affect the whole body?), and at the societal level (What misconceptions do we hold about sex and reproduction?). The content of the course is reproduction, but the main focus is skill building- you will develop science literacy and critical thinking skills to make sense of the information you encounter. You will practice communication, in many different forms. And you will conduct a research project to investigate a claim and judge its validity. You will determine the legitimacy of its makers, learn where to find primary sources to support or refute the claim, and create a public information piece to share your understanding with your peers. At the end of the semester, you will be armed with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about your body and your health.

Basic Biology of Blood

Professor Yolanda Fortenberry
HONR 1034: MVC- 4 credits
CRN: 35946
MW 9:00-10:50 AM

Fulfills: CCAS: Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: This course will investigate the normal flow of traffic in the body, as well as some of the biological diseases that hinder this flow.  We will focus on understanding the basic and fundamental principles of the scientific method as it relates to the biological and disease processes of blood.  You will apply scientific reasoning and critical thinking in investigating these processes.  You will also acquire a basic understanding of how scientific research in the area of hematology (blood) and oncology (cancer) is conducted and how we apply laboratory discoveries toward treating blood-related disorders.  We will center upon examining the molecular mechanisms associated with bone marrow and several blood disorders.  Specifically, we will study cancer (leukemia and lymphoma), anemia (sickle cell disease), blood coagulation (hemophilia and thrombosis), and atherosclerosis.  Upon completion of this course you will have gained the knowledge to apply basic biological concepts to larger, complex pathological diseases.