Signature Courses

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All Barrett students are required to complete the Barrett foundational courses. Lower Division students entering the Honors College are required to complete a two-semester sequence of “The Human Event”. Incoming Upper Division students complete a one semester course entitled “The History of Ideas”. These courses are taught by the Honors Faculty Fellows.

"The Human Event" is an interdisciplinary seminar focusing on key social and intellectual currents in the development of humanity in its diversity. Students examine human thought and imagination from various disciplines, including philosophy, history, literature, religion, science, social science, and art. Coursework emphasizes critical thinking, discussion, and argumentative writing. "History of Ideas" has the same objectives as "The Human Event", but is more intensive, since it is only one semester in length and reserved for upper division transfer students. The texts in "History of Ideas" are generally selected based on a theme of the instructors' choosing. Both of these signature courses represent, in microcosm, the great benefits of becoming part of the Barrett Honors College – small, student-centered, seminar-style classes in which students explore the world's greatest literature and most profound ideas with a faculty member chosen for their ability to facilitate lively, meaningful discussion. In this intellectually rich atmosphere, students bond over the course of the year as they form an honors cohort.

Introductory Honors Courses

Intended primarily for new Barrett students and rising sophomores - but open to anyone who needs Honors credit - these one-credit courses allow you to explore exciting themes and topics through an interdisciplinary lens and build skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. 

Courses that engage the pandemic through different intellectual and disciplinary lenses

These courses help you understand and respond to the challenges of our current moment from a variety of perspectives. 

Classic Interdisciplinary Honors Courses

These courses offer a selection of some of our most-loved Honors special topics; and represent a key signature platform of the Barrett experience.

Research & Thesis Support

These courses offer a support on your research & thesis activities.

Honors Sections “In the Disciplines”

These courses provide Honors-only sections of courses that serve as pre-requisites or electives in popular ASU majors. They allow you to obtain Honors credit and progress in your major at the same time, and to learn in your discipline in a supportive cohort with other Barrett students. 

Courses on success, happiness and self-awareness from the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development

These one-credit courses allow you to earn Honors credit while learning about your own personal strengths and how to apply them for happiness and career success. 

Global Classroom

This course allows Barrett students to learn collaboratively with faculty and students at Sichuan University in China

Honors Internship

If you have a summer internship, you can earn Honors credit by enrolling in this course

  • None available at this time.

We also have an option to participate in remote global internships with international companies and non-profits as part of this course. For more information, contact Cassie Saenz at 


Honors courses are mindfully designed to accomplish the following learning objectives:

  • Improve the student’s ability to reason critically and communicate clearly
  • Cultivate the student’s ability to engage in intellectual discourse through reading, writing, and discussion
  • Broaden the student’s historical and cultural awareness and understanding
  • Deepen awareness of the diversity of human societies and cultures
  • Instill intellectual breadth and academic discipline in preparation for more advanced study

Each honors class features the following core components:

  • Chronologically Expansive - We cover some of the earliest recorded texts (e.g. The Epic of Gilgamesh or the Maxims of Good Discourse) to current works (e.g. Kwame Appiah’s The Honor Code).
  • Extensive Geographical Coverage - We select texts that highlight key issues in human thought, which means the texts we cover are from all over the world (e.g. Tao Te Ching, Plato’s Republic, Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Sakuntala, and Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease).
  • Focused on Human Cultural Diversity - Every effort is made to incorporate cross-cultural perspectives, non-Western texts and texts composed by women and racial/ethnic minorities (e.g. texts by early female Sufists or American slave narratives).
  • Student Centered - We encourage students to take the lead in these small, discussion based classes.