Honors 291A: Ideas that Change the World

Two special courses are required for all Commonwealth Honors College students: Honors 291A, Ideas That Change the World; and Honors 391A, Topics. In combination, these courses are designed to encourage a spirit of critical inquiry and an appreciation for voices that have impacted humanity.


Honors 291A is a 4-credit honors course that also fulfills an Interdisciplinary General Education requirement. This class is exposes students to an array of literature and other media that have made significant and lasting impacts on the world. This course is broken down into four units focused around one common text (book, work of art, film, performance, etc.). Honors 291A is intended to challenge students to think critically about our world and the profound ideas that shaped it. A close connection is maintained in the course between the concept of the historical innovator and the concept of the student as potential creator.

This course addresses questions such as

  1. Why do some ideas become influential?
  2. What social environments tend to foster creative thinking?
  3. How does creative thinking in turn transform societies?
  4. Across disciplines, what do influential scientists, artists, and leaders have in common?

Important Links:

Faculty Lectures

Faculty Lecture Video

Book Selections

Schedule and Descriptions
Instructor Resources