Curriculum

Curriculum

The Moody Honors Program curriculum consists of 15 credit hours designed to supplement major degree plans, with honors course work counting toward degree requirements or electives.

The courses in the program have been developed to provide a strong foundation in the intellectual traditions of the sciences and humanities, provide the opportunity to explore critical topics in communication fields, and to offer opportunities for independent research and writing. For all classes, emphasis is given to critical thinking, writing and discussion, and courses are taught by top instructors in the college

The curriculum includes two interdisciplinary courses in critical thinking and dialogue, two special topics seminars, and a capstone experience.

First Year and New Transfers (6 hours)

Core Class I 

Life of the Mind: As the introductory course of the Moody College Honors Program, Life of the Mind is an initiation into the program's Socratic culture of critical thinking and open dialogue, where challenging questions are asked, assumptions are examined, and blind certainties held up to the light. What is communication? How do its various forms shape what we know, and what we think we know about the world? Such questions will guide our intellectual journey through selected essays, fiction, film, lectures, guest lectures, student and panel discussions, and tours of campus museums, libraries, and public art and architecture.

Core Class II

Life of the Community: This course considers the social responsibilities of intellectual leadership and the role of communication in a world characterized by political divisions, varieties of inequality, and global challenges to health and sustainability. Questions of cultural diversity and social justice are central to the course.

Second through Fourth Years (9 hours)

Upon completion of Core Courses I and II, students will take an additional nine hours comprised of a combination of special topics seminars and capstone options.


Special Topic Seminars

These classes offer deep engagement with a special topic related to a discipline within the college. Two to three are offered each semester, and emphasis in these seminars is given to independent inquiry, class discussion, critical or creative writing, and special projects. The number of Special Topic Seminars students take depends on their choice of three capstone options, shown in the next section. Below are some examples of past seminars:

Knowledge, Leadership, and Communication
Barry Brummett, Department Chair, Professor, Communication Studies

The main motivating question for this course is this: What does a leader need to know to be effective? The question is vital to the project of leadership, and the answers are more complex than you might think. Probably the most pressing question is, in a world in which the available knowledge having to do with nearly any leadership role is enormous, how can any leader possibly know everything? And if the leader cannot know everything, what should s/he know? In this course, we will think about how the question of what a leader must know is very much tied to communication ability.


Screen Theory: Animation
Lalitha Gopalan, Associate Professor, Radio-Television-Film

This course explores the distinctiveness of animation in the age of the moving image. With this brief in the works, we will see how scholars deem animation proto-cinematic since it precedes film and anticipates digital. The rich variation of animation practices, varied in both size and scope, allows for no settled definition except to direct us to look closer at the variedness in which time and space move and bend in the arts of animation. To grasp the historical and geographical variations of animation are both challenging and intriguing, additional vectors that chart other ways to mark distinctiveness.


Online Incivility and Public Debate
Gina Chen, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism

This course explores online incivility - defined as nasty remarks that often contain profanity or promote homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, or bigotry. This course aims to lead students in critically assessing the roots of incivility, attributes of online communication that help it flourish, and what tools and practices help prevent incivility or calm it once it occurs.


The American Political Campaign in Journalism, Literature, and Film
Wayne Slater, former Senior Political Writer for the Dallas Morning News and co-author of New York Times bestseller "Bush's Brain"

The best journalism, film, and literature seek to tell the truth. How well do they do it? What is the truth? This course covers how campaign reporting has evolved in journalism, novels, and movies from Theodore White's The Making of a President in 1960, to the instantaneous web and cable-news reporting of 21st century presidential races.


Film Style From the Inside
Donald Howard, UT3D Director, and Associate Professor, Radio-Television-Film

An editor's job, once the materials for a film have been gathered or created, is to fashion them into a coherent mode of presentation—a style of cinematic presentation—on screen. In this course, we'll take a look at how this has been accomplished, in classic films and in more modern and challenging versions of narrative.

For more examples of past Special Topics Seminars visit the Senior Fellows website

 

 

Senior Year - Capstone Experience

Graduating seniors will be required to complete a capstone project to reflect on their undergraduate experience in a critical way. This experience culminates in public events each spring to showcase students’ presentations of their work. There are three options for fulfilling this requirement:

1. Independent Capstone Option (3 hours):

Students choosing this option will take at least two special topics seminars (6 hours), in the semester of their choosing, with a capstone project class (3 hours) in the spring semester of their final year led by the honors director or another faculty member. This is a substantial independent project that can be a long-form feature article, report, creative work, outreach community service project, or a work of the student’s own design with approval from the faculty. The capstone project class meets once per week to develop ideas and ensure progress.

2. Special Topics Seminar Option (3 hours):

Students choosing this option will take a total of three special topics seminars. Though these students will not be required to complete a thesis or a substantial independent project, this option requires a short essay or creative work to reflect on their honors experience.

3. Traditional Thesis Option (6 hours):

Students opting to complete a traditional academic thesis or major creative project will take two semesters of thesis work (Thesis I: Planning, and Thesis II: Writing, 3 hours each). These courses meet once per week or at the discretion of the thesis advisor. Students will submit a proposal and work with an Honors Faculty Committee member and a second reader. They will follow University guidelines for the research and writing of an undergraduate thesis. Students choosing this option will not have to take more than one special topics seminar (3 hours) in the overall course of study.