Your Unique

Personalized Curriculum

The Honors College is dedicated to innovative courses, hands-on experience, service learning, and — most importantly — the individuality and diversity of our brilliant students.

Those learning experiences — and those unique students — just don’t fit into the standard college curriculum. To make sure their curiosity is fed, their passion is pursued, and their fire stays stoked, we guide our students in charting their own course with their own personalized curriculum.

That passion and curiosity mean that Honors College students want to know things, do things, and explore things without limits. Lots of things. You know the type — the student who wants to double-major in neuroscience and philosophy, with a minor in business. Or the student who doesn’t see a major that suits her wild mosaic of interests and wants to design one of her own. You want an education with maximum flexibility, and we want to give you one.

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Working with your honors adviser, you’ll start to develop your interests and talents into goals. Then you’ll build a pathway to get there, going through honors offerings to find courses that interest you, inspire you, and engage you. Your next step is to string them all together in a four-year curriculum that will take you places no standard, one-size-fits-all curriculum ever could — no additional courses, no extra semesters, just four years of satisfying your degree requirements with classes and experiences like none other. You’ll check in with your adviser every semester to make sure your pathway is headed in the right direction, but what they won’t do is tell you what course to take in what semester. They’ll show you the array of options available to you, and then the next steps are up to you.

And it’s not just classes — your adviser will help you find leadership and service opportunities to make it all meaningful. They’ll help you learn about your subject and about yourself. (We had one biology major who uncovered a love for filmmaking during an honors seminar — he’s added a digital media minor and is combining both of his passions into one.) You’re the one going out there to make a difference in the world after graduation. It only makes sense to prepare you with a targeted, personalized curriculum.

Sample Courses: Innovating Healthcare; Diamonds, Drugs and Guns; Exploring Sustainable Design; Autopsy Experience; Drug Discovery and Development

Student Leadership

Honors students are known for leadership. Look at any major student organization on campus — Ambassadors, TrailBlazers, Student Government, Residence Life, Athletics, Greek life — and you’ll find an honors student in a leading role. We count on our students to lead the Honors College as well, and we create opportunities for them to develop their leadership potential through the Honors College Ambassadors and the Honors College Student Leadership Council. Leadership comes in many forms, but the element that brings them together is passion — to make the world better, to accomplish change, to innovate. It involves knowing who you are, what’s important to you, and how you can make a difference. And that’s why we get to know you on a personal level and why we allow you — and challenge you — to personalize your experiences in the classroom and out in the world around you.

Student Spotlight: Rebecca Hyde, ’17

Rebecca Hyde made her first visit to UAB as a high school senior. She met with honors advisers and faculty in her area of interest, she took notes on all of the honors opportunities available to her at UAB, and she chose us. Then she started writing, and attacking, a lengthy and ambitious personal and academic bucket list. As an International Studies student, she won the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Oman. As a person with diverse interests, she discovered a passion for filmmaking in one of her honors seminars and designed a second major. This summer, she combined both passions as a Clinton Scholar in Dubai, studying the region and documenting her experience through film. This fall, she’ll be using photography and digital media to document poverty in Birmingham in her “Stories from the Line” service learning course. Forced to choose a single pathway for her academic career, she chose the UAB Honors College, where she wouldn’t have to choose. Her personalized curriculum and real-world experiences have given her the education of her dreams, and she’s literally going places.

View Course Listing >
Phage Genomics I Denise L Monti
General Chem I Lab (Honors) Joe L March
General Chemistry I - Honors Gary M. Gray
Organic Chemistry I - Honors Jacqueline Nikles
Public Speaking - Honors/Service Learning Rebecca A. Reamey
Media and Society-Honors Michele F Forman
English Composition I - Honors/Service Learning Cassandra M Ellis
English Composition I - Honors Amy Cates, Donald Gilliand
English Composition I - Honors Erin Lewis
Calculus I - Honors Lex Oversteegen
General Physics I - Honors David Hilton
Gen Phy I Recitation - Honors David Hilton
General Chem I Lab (Honors) Joe L March
Intro to Psychology - Honors Mary M Boggiano
Princ of Microeconomics-Honors Griffin Edwards
Origins of Epidemics Honors Max Michael
Honors Seminar: Whiteness Studies "Breaking the Silence and De-normalizing Whiteness in American Literature and Film" Nichole L. Lariscy
Honors Seminar: Diamonds,Drugs & Guns - The Illicilt Global Economy Robert G Blanton
Honors Seminar: Diamonds,Drugs & Guns Robert G Blanton
Honors Seminar: Leadership Amy Newman Atkisson
Honors Service Learning - Independent Study Amy Newman Atkisson
Honors Seminar: Road to Santiago & Pilgrimage John K. Moore
Honors Seminar: Biology of Disease Peter Anderson
Honors Seminar: Phenotyping Human Disease Robin Lorenz
Honors Undergrad Research - Independent Study Amy Newman Atkisson
Honors Internship/Co-Op - Independent Study Amy Newman Atkisson
Engineering Graphics-Honors Douglas H. Ross
Honors Seminar: Engineering, Innovation and Design: How to turn a series of mistakes into a successful outcome Iwan Alexander, Timothy Wick
Honors Seminar: Health and Humanity - Being a Global Leader Amy Badham
Honors Seminar: Justice for All? Education and Opportunity in America SL Ashley Floyd
Honors Seminar: Innovation in Healthcare Rubin Pillay
Honors Seminar: Entrepreneurship Michael Milsap
Honors Seminar: Sustainability-Economy, Environment, Society Julie Price
Special Topics in Neuroscience Gwendalyn King
Methods in Human Neuroimaging Kristina Visscher
Mechanisms of Memory Cristin Gavin/David Sweatt/Garrett Kaas
Program Participation/SL Diane C. Tucker
Intro to Scientific Process Diane C. Tucker, Joe L March
Intro to Scientific Process Joe L March, Diane C. Tucker
PrimeTime Leadership Diane C. Tucker
Interdisciplinary Seminar TBA TBA
Interdis Sem: CNS Disorders Sunshine A Epps, Candace L Floyd
Interdis Sem: High Volt Innov Joel Lyman Berry
Communicating Science Diane C. Tucker
Clinical Innovation Seminar Joel Lyman Berry
Honors Proposal Preparation Diane C. Tucker
Internship/Comm Projects/SL Diane C. Tucker
Independent Study Diane C. Tucker
Honors Research Diane C. Tucker
Honors Thesis Research Diane C. Tucker
Honors Thesis Preparation Diane C. Tucker
Honors Thesis Preparation Joe L March
Eng Comp II for Science & Tech Cynthia Ryan
English Composition II/STH Cynthia Ryan
Interdisc: English William J. Rushton
Participation in Honors Michael E. Sloane
Community Service Michael E. Sloane
Interdisc: Literature William J. Rushton
Seminar: Independent Project Michael E. Sloane
Interdisc: Psychology Michael E. Sloane
Seminar: Dogs in Society Julie Malone
Community Service Michael E. Sloane
Interdisc: Economics Sarah Culver
Interdisc: Public Health Stella Asilbekyan
Road to Santiago & Pilgrimage John Moore
Interdisc: Biology Julie Locher
Sem: The Archaeology of Death Rebecca Osborn Freeman
Indust. of the American South Karen R Utz
Seminar: Whiteness Studies Nichole L. Lariscy
Seminar: Publishing in Honors Michael D. Hornbuckle

The same group I study with for one class can comprise different majors, concentrations, and reasons for studying the subject.

Charlotte Boles, Honors College

Specialized Programs

Not all Honors College students choose a personalized pathway — some find a perfect academic fit in one of our three specialized honors programs. The Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, Science and Technology Honors Program, and University Honors Program lay out a curriculum of courses and experiences to thoroughly explore global leadership, science and technology, or interdisciplinary arts and sciences.

Global and Community Leadership Honors Program

Students in the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program (GCL) know that they’re members of a community — not just a local one, but a global one. And that means that their responsibilities to their community span the globe. Social justice issues like educational disparities, poverty, food insecurity, environmental degradation, and health care access touch lives in every country, in every big city and small village, at every socioeconomic level. GCL prepares students to explore, understand, and take a leadership role in addressing those issues and making those lives better.

View the GCL Details >

The GCL curriculum is a carefully crafted mix of political science, sociology, public health, and many other disciplines, because we know that it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to change the world. But it’s not just about the studies — the classwork lays a foundation for all of the real education that takes place out in the world. In Spain or South Korea, in Birmingham’s Woodlawn community or across the street at Glen Iris Elementary, every new encounter is an opportunity for service, and every lesson learned is another step toward engaged, responsible, inspiring leadership.

GCL’s four values are:

  • Participatory citizenship,
  • Ethical leadership,
  • Creative problem-solving, and
  • Effective communication,

But we don’t need to explain that to you, because you already have the drive to internalize those values and put them to use in the world. Our curriculum of specially designed honors courses, community engagement, faculty mentoring, service learning, and study-away experiences give you an opportunity to put those values into use to make a real difference in global and community issues.

And that impact starts right away — from freshman-year community service to post-graduation learning and service experiences around the world, GCL students learn to understand the world around them and beyond them and to put that understanding to beneficial use. Students incorporate the GCL curriculum into their own interests, academic targets, and life goals — because the thing that will make them successful as a local, national, or global leader is the fire that brought them to the UAB Honors College in the first place.

Sample Courses: Justice for All? Education and Opportunity in America; Human Trafficking; Global Health Service Learning; Leadership

Student Leadership

Student leadership is a huge component of the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program — it’s right there in the name. Our students take the education they receive about world issues, and the guidance and support in developing their leadership strengths, and use them to initiate real change. Engaged, driven GLC students have started campus organizations, including Universities Fighting World Hunger; ONE at UAB, advocating for the reduction of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa; and Active Minds, raising awareness about mental health and mental illness.

Student Spotlight: Brendan Rice, ’12

Brendan Rice came to UAB with a passion for social justice and a deep concern about poverty in Alabama. In the GCL program, he found a community of students and faculty committed to becoming leaders for change. Brendan studied food security and wrote his international studies honors thesis on “Conditions that Enable the Success of Agricultural Cooperatives: The Case of Institutional and Organizational Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa,” but the sum of his work was far from academic. He also helped start the Universities Fighting World Hunger chapter at UAB and participated in the Oxfam CHANGE initiative. Internships with Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization led to work after graduation in service of the cause he pursued so passionately while in GCL. After 16 months working with UNFAO to help smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone, he now works with them as a consultant in Rome, Italy, helping fight poverty around the world.

Science and Technology Honors Program

The Science and Technology Honors Program (STH) is built around the knowledge that our students are driven, they’re curious, they’re smart, and they don’t want to wait to put those qualities to good use. We’ve built a curriculum around starting science and technology right away, from an honors-honed core curriculum (enjoy your English class focused on scientific and technical writing) to specialty classes that teach you the fundamentals of science right there in the lab where they belong. Because that’s where you belong.

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The STH curriculum lays out a challenging, engaging four-year path from student/learner to skilled technician to scientist/innovator, from the basics of lab techniques, scientific communication, and planning to the intricacies of scientific research and leadership. Students graduate from the program with exciting knowledge, honors recognition (and most students can satisfy requirements for honors in their major using their STH thesis), and years of lab experience already under their belts before they even start grad school.

A series of STH seminars will explore methodologies and techniques used to study biology, cell biology, chemistry, complex information systems, engineering, neuroscience, physics, and more. A series of Research Approaches courses will teach you state-of-the-art lab methods in biotechnology, molecular genetics, and other disciplines (ever wanted to splice DNA?), taking you to active research labs to observe researchers up close. And your honors thesis will put all of that to use, launching a two-year, hands-on research project that takes you from proposal to publication — from skilled lab technician to actual scientist.

It’s all about experience. Our semiannual “Quick Connections” event is like speed dating for research scientists, helping students connect with faculty mentors who share their interests and want to help support their goals. Those connections can get STH students into the lab as early as freshman year, working one-on-one with their mentors and other researchers to see what real scientific discovery looks like up close — and to make discoveries of their own.

Sample Courses: Problem Analysis and Project Planning; Communicating Science; Clinical Innovation Seminar

Student Leadership

Leadership and teamwork are two of the most essential skills a scientist can bring to the lab — and they can only be taught to people who really want to learn them. That drive to lead is what sets STH students apart — to be leaders at the bench and in the community. Through a two-semester leadership sequence, our students plan and carry out service projects to benefit the program, the university, or the Birmingham community. UAB’s annual regional Science Olympiad, the Alabama Brain Bee, and the student awards program at the Alabama Academy of Science have all been STH initiatives. STH students also occupy leadership positions on the Student Executive Council, planning key aspects of the program, assisting faculty with program seminars, and mentoring and tutoring. No evil scientists here — our students use their powers of research, critical thinking, analysis, and discovery to do good.

Student Spotlight: Brenna Nye, ’17

Brenna Nye came to UAB from a math and science high school in Mississippi to study molecular biology — and she quickly came to appreciate the difference between just studying science and actually becoming a scientist. As she was learning scientific writing, making contacts and connections with researchers, helping to coordinate the regional Science Olympiad, and even presenting at an undergrad research symposium her freshman year, she knew that she was looking at her future. And she liked it. Currently, Brenna is working in the lab of Adam Wende, Ph.D., looking at how glucose regulates gene expression in cardiac muscle of type 1 diabetics — research that can have a major impact on the future of diabetes treatment. She plans to attend grad school to focus on genetic research, aided by knowledge, skills, and experience she’s already gained in just a couple of years in STH.

University Honors Program

Life doesn’t follow one path, and knowledge doesn’t come from one field of study. The University Honors Program (UHP) provides a uniquely engaging arts and sciences curriculum taught by faculty from a wide variety of academic fields. Special team-taught interdisciplinary courses and small seminars replace the core curriculum with something more innovative and varied for excellent students who value the full diversity of their skills and interests.

View the UHP Details >

Unique Curriculum: An expansive interdisciplinary course focused on broad themes and taught by a six-person team of faculty and otherwise knowledgeable community members is created afresh each year for the combined class of first- and second-year students. Honors seminars (limited to 16 students) are taught to students of all years by diverse faculty on subjects related to their fields of expertise but not found among the usual department listings. Service learning is formally incorporated into the interdisciplinary curriculum as an annual joint project between UHP and Arrington Middle School 7th graders.

Sample Interdisciplinary Courses: Food; Conflict and Cooperation; Science, Technology, and Society; Nationhood; Knowledge and Ways of Knowing; In Search of Human Nature

Sample Seminars: God & the White Coat: the Influence of Religion on Medicine; Beyond Beads, Booze, and Bourbon Street: the Literature and Culture of New Orleans; Personalized Genomic Medicine; Intelligent Life in the Universe; Harry Potter: Ethics and Imagination

Housed in a beautiful old church on the southern edge of campus and led by a supportive and devoted team of faculty and staff, UHP provides an environment that is as familial as it is academic wherein students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones, be steered by their intellectual curiosity, and develop the full diversity of their interests and talents. Many UHP students travel (program-funded) to present research at regional and national honors conferences. Many take an active role in the governance of the honors program itself including the selection processes by which students are admitted and seminars are chosen. Many contribute to and help design student-run creative arts and research journals (Sanctuary; Inquiro). Many study or engage in service activities abroad for weeks, months, even a year at a time. And an impressive number of UHP students have been awarded Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, Fulbright, and other national scholarships.

Student Leadership

UHP has a long tradition of empowering its students to lead, not only within the program but also throughout the surrounding communities and beyond. Our students are extremely well represented in USGA and in the governance of other campus-wide student organizations. And within UHP, our student-run Steering Committee oversees all student extracurricular activities and initiatives in the program from community service, student recruitment, sustainability, and Homecoming to road trips, intramural sports, and the two student-run scholarly journals.

Student Spotlight: Ali Massoud, ’15

Polyglot and world traveler Ali Massoud came to UAB by way of four U.S. states, the U.K., and Cairo, Egypt. With his experiences abroad and exposure to different cultures, Ali was a natural fit for a major in international studies. The UHP gave Ali a place to connect with other students, explore his passions, and develop skills that would help him bring the world together in understanding and cooperation. His independent documentary “Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights: the Ongoing Struggle for Equality in Alabama” welded what he’d learned from UHP’s ethnographic filmmaking course with his own experiences in the U.S. immigration system. After a fall semester of study in Cairo, Ali attended his second Clinton Global Initiative University summit this past spring to present his plan for an “Egyptian Exchange,” which would send UAB students to Cairo to collaborate with Egyptian students on issues like socioeconomic disparity, gender inequality, and environmental sustainability.

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