Students pose in front of their poster, which discusses an innovative, interdisciplinary topic.

»Honors Preceptorials

Create, design and teach a course with fellow Honors students!

A preceptorial is a student-designed and student-directed course that is offered during interterm sessions. The design process begins during the spring semester prior to next year's interterm session. Interested? See below:

  • Decide on a topic you want to learn more about.
  • Get a faculty preceptor to supervise the course. The Honors Director will contact that faculty member to make the arrangements.
  • Find fellow students to be in your cohort - to help you design the course content, and also take the class!
  • Work with the preceptor during the spring semester to construct a syllabus. Decide what will be covered during each class session.
  • Divide discussions and presentation of information among the cohort, giving everyone a role to play in teaching the class. Finalize the course in the fall semester, in time for the upcoming interterm class.
  • Teach each other during the class. The preceptor supervises the class and grades each student.

Honors Preceptorial Guidelines

Preceptorials are courses designed by students on themes they find interesting and want to study more deeply. They represent an opportunity for students to exchange ideas and learn from each other while drawing on the expertise and experience of the faculty preceptor.

Preceptorial structure and texts: Students, with the assistance of the preceptor, will construct the syllabus and decide on texts for the course.

Grading and required work: Grades will be based on work in class, on assignments outside of class, and on the common final examination. The faculty preceptor will provide specific details concerning the assigned work. Grading will adhere to the following model:

  • Formal writing assignments: papers relating to the course materials
  • Classroom involvement: class attendance and active participation in class discussions
  • Final evaluation: each course will have a two-hour final essay examination. At least a week before the exam, a list of questions will be distributed, and at the final examination, questions from this list will be selected.
  • Individual preceptorial assignments: reaction papers, class facilitation, and other requirements specified by the organizers of the preceptorial.

Preceptorial Objectives

Primary objective is to explore in depth the chosen theme of the preceptorial. Secondary objectives are to help students:

  • cultivate habits of reading, thinking about, and discussing demanding texts
  • develop communication skills, specifically in the areas of written and oral exposition and analysis
  • acquire a sense of belonging to an intellectual community through active and engaged participation in conversations about the subject matter of the preceptorial with the faculty and fellow students

Student Outcomes

Honors students who successfully complete a preceptorial should become:

  • better at recognizing, analyzing, evaluating, and constructing arguments
  • more active, more thoughtful, and more discerning as readers
  • more skillful and more reflective as writers
  • better friends and companions in the intellectual community that is Honors

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