Courses that Challenge You
Honors students have two options when it comes to planning their course schedules: stand-alone classes and contract courses. View the list of upcoming Honors stand-alone classes at MVC by semester or discover your options for participating in Honors contract courses, available each fall, winter, spring and summer term.
Honors Stand-alone Courses
- Anthropology 2H: Lecture and Lab
- Sociology 10H: Lecture
- Humanities 10H: Lecture
- Psychology 1H: Lecture
- Biology 60H: Lecture and Lab
- Political Science 1H: Lecture
- Music 19H: Lecture
Honors Contract Courses
An Honors contract is a way for motivated students to work with participating professors to offer an otherwise non-Honors course, completing additional assignments (as stipulated by the contract) to count towards completion of the Honors program.
Honors students may count up to two successfully completed contract courses toward the program completion requirement of five courses.
The Honors contract course will not receive an 'H' on student transcripts; however, it will be considered as part of a student’s Honors coursework and will be fully recognized by all of our transfer partners as contributing to Honors completion.
Eligible courses must be for-credit, letter-graded, and carry transferable units.
Generally, courses that are offered as a standalone Honors class (Psy 1H, English 1AH, Math 12H, etc.) are ineligible for Honors contracts. Exceptions may be possible in extraordinary circumstances at the discretion of the Honors Advisory Council.
Good candidates for Honors contract courses are entry-level or GE courses for which there is no Honors option (Astronomy 1A, Ethnic Studies 1, Accounting 1, and so on) as well as advanced or specialty courses within a discipline (English 20 – African American Literature, History 25 – History of Mexico, Psychology 2 – Biological Psych, Physics 4C – Heat, Light, and Waves).
The following MVC faculty members have expressed an interest in offering contract coursework. Other faculty members may be interested as well - just ask them, and refer them to this page and program coordinator Professor James Bany if they have any questions!
- Art History: Professor Lauren (Ally) Johnson, Ph.D.
- Biology: Professors Felipe Galicia and Joanna Werner-Fraczek, Ph.D.
- Communication Studies: Professors Jennifer Floerke and Rikki Tremblay
- English: Professors Daniel Clark, Ph.D., Michael Schwartz, Ph.D., and David Banuelos
- Ethnic Studies: Professor Melanie Lindsay, Ph.D.
- Philosophy/Humanities: Professors Nick Sinigaglia and Sam Hughes
- Psychology: Professor Adam Felton, Ph.D.
- Sociology: Professor James Bany, Ph.D.
- Theatre Arts: Professor Melody Gunter
The details of the contract are arranged between the student and the participating faculty member in advance, or during the first few weeks, of the class. Honors contract assignments and projects require students to explore topics that are more advanced than traditional classes.
Contracts may include, but are not limited to, assignments such as:
- Research Paper
- Quantitative/Qualitative Research Project
- Conference-Style Presentation
- Creative Writing or Fine Arts work
- Research Journal
- Short Film/Video
- Computer Program
Honors contracts must be approved by the Honors Advisory Council. The completed Contract Proposal/Cover Sheet form should be submitted to the program coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the term deadline. Case-by-case exceptions might be made for emergency approval after these deadlines.
- Winter Contracts – end of first week of December
- Spring Contracts – end of second week March
- Summer Contracts – end of first week of June
- Fall Contracts – end of second week of September
If you are a faculty member or student interested in pursuing an Honors contract, please consult the following documents:
Honors students receive priority registration for upcoming terms. Honors students can register for any classes at MVC during the priority enrollment window, before regular registration begins.
- Fall 2023: May 3 - 5
- Spring 2024: October 25 - 27
Past Honors Classes
Biology 60H: Honors Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Taught by Dr. Joanna Werner-Fraczek
- This course offers the study of life on a microscale as observed by a microscope or experimental analysis including genetic manipulations and looking at your DNA. The course offers hybrid lectures with all materials posted on Canvas and one per week face-to-face discussion. All labs are face-to-face. Students conduct individual research in collaboration with UCR that may provide paid summer research opportunities.
AHS-6H: Honors Art Appreciation
- Taught by Dr. Lauren "Ally" Johnson
- This class is an introduction to key issues in art and visual culture. We’ll examine how images are constructed and how cultural meaning has been produced in and through images across time and place. Through topics covering the history of museums, the intersection of race and visual culture, and the rise of citizen journalism, we’ll explore the relationship between power and representation and think about images as a vital form of communication in society.
History 6H: Honors United States History to 1877
The Historian as Detective
- Taught by Professor Ann Pfeifle
- In History 6 Honors, we will examine what is involved in doing historical research and explore the role of the historian in revisiting and revising the historical narrative. Because the present is continually changing, the interpretation of the past changes. History is more than a collection of facts and data. Historians recognize that the shape and meaning of historical events look different from distinct vantage points and time periods. How can we incorporate more voices into the story of the United States prior to the Reconstruction era - beyond the story of dead, rich, white men?
Geography 1H: Honors Physical Geography
- Taught by Professor James Hayes
- Climate change is all around us, in our daily lives and in the news and politics. We are experiencing higher temperatures, longer heat waves, drought, and more wildfires. Physical geography provides the scientific basis for understanding why this is happening and provides information for what to do about it. GEG 1H introduces the fundamentals of physical geography – solar energy, atmospheric properties, the geologic cycle, and ecology – in a way that helps us explain why climate change is happening, what its impacts are, and what can be done about it.
Spanish 2H: Honors Spanish 2
- Taught by Professor Fernando Nahon Valero
- Spanish 2H is an introductory Spanish course full of opportunities to discover and explore the powerful connections between language and culture. Furthers development of basic skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. Emphasis on the acquisition of vocabulary, structures and at the beginning level. Includes discussion of Hispanic culture and daily life. Offers an enriched experience for accelerated students through limited class size, a seminar format, the reading of level-appropriate adapted Hispanic works and cultural studies, and the application of higher-level critical thinking skills.
MAT-1AH: Honors Calculus I
Calculus Through Discovery
- Taught by Professor Nicolae Baciuna
- The single variable Calculus I course introduces the notion of limits to define the derivative. Students will engage in discovery projects and learn how to use the tools of calculus to process, analyze, interpret, and communicate results. In this course both computational and conceptual skills are emphasized and necessary for mastery. The course covers applications in geometry, physics, and natural sciences.
COM-9H: Honors Interpersonal Communication
You are on Mute: How the Pandemic Changed the Way We Communicate Interpersonally
- Taught by Professor Jennifer Floerke
- This course is a study of how people communicate one-on-one. Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) has been a growing communication channel for decades but never has it been more important in relational maintenance and satisfaction than during the pandemic. In this class, we will utilize original source materials to explore the concepts and theories of dyadic communication — perception, self-concept, nonverbal communication, language, emotions, conflict management, etc.—with an emphasis on how a global crisis changed everything and how those changes may be here to stay.
SOC-10H: Honors Race and Ethnic Relations
Power, Privilege, and Racial Justice
- Taught by Professor James Bany, Ph.D.
- This course is a critical study of the construction of race as a social, political, and cultural mechanism, with a focus on historical and contemporary systems of power, privilege, and dominance. Emphasis will be on social justice and developing knowledge and tools to dismantle racism at the structural and individual level. Topics include critical race theory, intersectionality, racism, anti-racism, and social movements.
ENG-1BH: Honors Critical Thinking and Writing
Untold Stories: How Literature Challenges Dominant Narratives about Historical Oppression
- Taught by Professor Jeff Rhyne, Ph.D.
- In this class, we'll read poems, short stories, two plays, and at least one novel to explore how authors use fiction to reveal histories and stories that have long been suppressed or marginalized. We'll examine how different genres can be used to challenge dominant narratives about racial identity, about ideas of belonging in America, and about the nature of storytelling itself.
- Humanities 10H: Honors World Religions
- Instructor: Chris Rocco
- Course Theme: Mystery and the Sacred: How the World's Religions Experience the Holy
- Description: Ever wonder how to find Nirvana? Curious about the healing powers of the Tao? Did Jesus actually exist? Have you ever practiced hatha yoga? Do Muslims really pray five times a day, and why is the Hindu god, Krishna, blue? If you are interested in any of these questions and want to study the enduring religious traditions across the globe, then this small, seminar style class that delves into the original source materials is for you.
- Psychology 1H: Honors General Psychology
- Instructor: Adam Felton, Ph.D.
- Course Theme: When the Brain Attacks: How the Atypical Sheds Light on the Typical
- Description: The general psychology course introduces students to the diverse span of research topics in psychology: cognition, emotion, motivation, social influence, mental disorders, health behavior, etc. This semester we will discuss what clinical neuropsychology tells us about typical psychological functioning by focusing on neuroatypicality: from brain trauma to gifted performance. We're going to get all House, MD up in here!
- Biology 60H: Honors Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology
- Instructor:Joanna Werner-Fraczek, Ph.D.
- Course Theme: Do Genes Tell All the Story?
- Description: You will get to know genes and how they play out in different environments. Lectures are enriched by reading review papers describing breakthrough research in modern biology. Labs include research-based projects in collaboration with UC Riverside studying plant and animal genomes/bioinformatics that provide opportunities for individual research.
- Political Science 1H: Honors American Politics
- Instructor: Fabian Biancardi
- Course Theme: American Politics in the Age of Extreme Inequality
- Description: This course is a critical study of the major political ideologies prevalent today, of the logic and legitimacy of the major socioeconomic and political institutions, and a comparison of the US to other wealthy, liberal democracies. Topics include American exceptionalism, the political impact of extreme inequality, race and racism in US politics, America's role in world politics and climate change.
- Sociology 10H:
- Instructor: James Bany
- Course Theme: Power, Privilege, and Racial Justice
- Description: This course is a critical study of the construction of race as a social, political, and cultural mechanism, with a focus on historical and contemporary systems of power, privilege, and dominance. An emphasis will be on social justice and developing knowledge and tools to dismantle racism at the structural and individual level. Topics include critical race theory, intersectionality, racism, anti-racism, and social movements.
- Biology 1H:
- Instructor: Felipe Galicia
- Course Theme: Evolution and the Human Body
- Description: This semester we'll research the evolutionary steps that gave rise to some of our important body parts. The brain and heart likely came to mind, they are certainly important. But we also depend on our hands, eyes, ears, nose and other organs in our daily lives. What came first, the nostril or the nose? Where did nostrils come from? Who had the first true nose? Are all noses the same? We will also discuss how contemporary evolutionary theory has addressed questions such as what good is a partially formed nose or a partially formed eye? The evolutionary paths of each of our body parts are interesting and worth exploring.
- English 1BH:
- Instructor: Jeff Rhyne
- Course Theme: Untold Stories: How Literature Challenges Dominant Narratives about Historical Oppression
- Description: In this class, we'll read poems, short stories, two plays, and at least one novel to explore how authors use fiction to reveal histories and stories that have long been suppressed or marginalized. We'll examine how different genres can be used to challenge dominant narratives about racial identity, about ideas of belonging in America, and about the nature of storytelling itself.
- History 7H:
- Instructor: Ann Pfeifle
- Course Theme: The Historian and Social Justice: US History Through the Lens of Major Legal Cases
- Description: In this course, we will examine the social, political and economic emphasis will be on examining the American legal system after the abolition of slavery and how various groups of people have been impacted by, and tried to change, the institutions of power in the United States.