Lasallian Honors Program

Lasallian Honors Program

The Lasallian Honors Program partially fulfills the general education requirements for graduation and is available to a select number of students each year.

It is designed to provide an intellectually stimulating experience for bright and motivated students who wish to engage in "shared inquiry" in small, interdisciplinary classes (also available is the Lasallian Core Traditions Program).

The hallmarks of the Honors Program are in-depth discussions of the Great Books and other notable texts of the Western and Eastern cultural traditions; service learning with organizations in the community; experiential learning in the fine arts; and participation in a community of learners who desire to grow intellectually, spiritually, and creatively. The program is grounded in the university mission and the Lasallian dispositions of faith, zeal, service, and community.

The ultimate goal of the Lasallian Honors Program is to awaken and nurture the intellectual, spiritual, and personal development of learners in preparation for lives of servant leadership and appreciation of the world’s intellectual and cultural heritages.

Program Details

Students are invited into the Lasallian Honors Program based on their college-entrance test scores, their academic record, and their co-curricular activities and achievements.

Through a series of eight seminar courses, students read and engage with the most important ideas in human history. Through service learning, students explore the practical dimensions of social justice in the local community and reflect on the Christian concept of servant leadership. And through innovative tutorials in the fine arts, students learn about and create a variety of works of art.

Students are required to maintain a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average in order to remain in good standing in the Lasallian Honors Program. Students who spend a semester studying abroad can substitute one course taken abroad for one honors course.

Program Outcomes

Students in the Lasallian Honors Program develop advanced skills in analytical reading, writing, critical thinking, and oral communications. The curriculum promotes active learning, preparation for graduate study and professional work, and camaraderie in a supportive community of peers and professors.


Degree Requirements

Please Note:

The Natural Scientific Systems general education requirement will be met only when both the lecture and laboratory courses of a lecture/laboratory pair are completed.  Passing only the lecture portion of the lecture/laboratory pair does not satisfy a non-laboratory science requirement.  Passing only the laboratory portion of the lecture/laboratory pair does not satisfy a laboratory science requirement.

Natural Scientific Systems (NS)

Students completing the Lasallian Core Traditions Program must complete two of the following courses; at least one course must have a lab.

Students completing the Lasallian Honors Program must complete one of the following courses and lab.


B105 Environmental Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

The human position in the biological world and responsibility for living in reasonable harmony with the environs is the focus of this course. Beginning with an overview of major ecological principles governing all ecosystems, consideration is then given to such problems as population expansion, natural resources, pollution, conservation and environmental health.

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

This introductory course serves both majors and non-majors.  Course topics include the process of evolution and ecology; biological molecules and basic chemistry; cell structure, cellular respiration and photosynthesis; the mechanisms of chromosome replication, transcription and translation; and Mendelian genetics. Three fifty minute or two seventy-five minute lecture/discussion periods are held weekly. 

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

This introductory course serves both majors and non-majors.  Course topics include the process of evolution; surveys of microbial, plant and animal life; plant anatomy and physiology; comparative animal anatomy and systems physiology.

B200 Human Biology (2 cr.)

This course is designed for the student with little science in their backgrounds. Basic human biological principles are investigated with emphasis on nutrition, cancer, immunity, reproduction and heredity. Special consideration is given to current advances in medicine and associated bio-social issues.

B300 Current Scientific Issues (3 cr.)

This course addresses current scientific issues of interest to the general public, ranging from modern medical advances to those affecting the environment. Stress is placed not only on the concepts involved, but also on the social, ethical, political, and economic aspects of these issues. The course is intended for non-science majors.

B350 Heredity and Society (3 cr.)

This course includes in-depth coverage and discussion emphasizing how the main principles of genetics and heredity relate to contemporary social issues. The biology behind these main principles of genetics and heredity are examined. Topics may include genetic inheritance, human reproduction, chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, the genetic basis of behavior, genetic engineering, genetic screening, genetic counseling, and modern genetic techniques. The course meets for three one-hour lectures weekly and is open only to junior or senior students, or with consent of the instructor.

C110 World of Materials with Laboratory (3 cr.)

the chemical makeup, physical properties, historical development, and economic impact of materials encountered in daily life. Examples of the materials covered include: metals, ceramics, leather, plastics, concrete, paper, and a variety of others. The course details a "biography" of each of these materials from its primary source in the animal, vegetable, or mineral world, through the various transformations in its production and fabrication into usable products, to its ultimate fate and impact on the environment when it has lived its useful life.

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

P111 The Earth and the Solar System (3 cr.)

This course examines physical, geological, and astronomical processes involved in shaping the Earth and other planets. The geological processes acting on the Earth and the natural history of the Earth are studied first, and then used to examine the other bodies of the solar system, studying how the physical characteristics of the planets influence and are influenced by the same basic processes operating in different ways. Topics include: the properties of Earth materials, the evolution of the Earth and geological structures, matter and energy in the Earth system, the Earth in the solar system and the universe, fundamental issues of planetary science, and fundamentals of observational astronomy and objects in the sky (moon phases, properties of orbits, etc.).

P113 Physics of Sound and Music (3 cr.)

This course is an exploration of the fundamental physical concepts relating to sound (vibrations and waves, overtones, Fourier synthesis and analysis) and its perception (physiology, physics, and psychophysics of hearing) and measurement (transducers and the decibel scale); sound recording and reproduction (analog and digital); musical acoustics (temperament and pitch; families of musical instruments; speech and the human vocal tract); and the acoustics of enclosures.

P121 Astronomy: The Stars and Beyond (3 cr.)

This general-education level course focuses on three broad topics in astronomy: the tools of astronomy (the celestial sphere and the motion of objects in the sky; scientific method; light, spectra, and atomic structure; the astronomical distance scale; gravity and celestial mechanics); stars and stellar evolution (the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram, the main sequence, and stellar lifecycles); and galaxies and cosmology (Hubble's Law, dark matter, evidence for the Big Bang, and theories of the early universe).

P123 Investigating the Universe (3 cr.)

This general education level course covers topics similar in nature to P121 and P123.

P155 Foundations of Physics (3 cr.)

This course is intended for elementary education majors as well as other non-science majors. It examines the conceptual frameworks that underlie physics, including mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, and light.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

Lasallian Honors courses

All of the following:

LH105 Origins and Foundations (4 cr.)

As the first course in the Lasallian Honors Program at Saint Mary's University, Origins considers a variety of beginnings. This first-year seminar facilitates a successful transition to the university through its emphasis on developing critical academic skills and attitudes as well as appreciation of the university's Lasallian mission and of Winona's natural environment. Points of departure for understanding our intellectual, environmental and spiritual traditions include readings on the natural features of our region and on the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle; the ancient narratives of Gilgamesh, Genesis and The Iliad; and a modern novel, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, which elaborates on the modern significance of ancient hero stories. As part of the introduction to the Saint Mary's community, and as a precursor to the Aesthetics course in the junior year of the honors program, students attend and discuss four local arts events during the semester. Students' participation as audience members provides opportunities to reflect on the nature and value of art in community and culture.

LH155 The Classical Tradition (4 cr.)

This course introduces students to central texts of the classical tradition in order to provide them with a critical understanding of ancient works that have been central in the development of both a global and a particularly Western tradition. It continues to engage students in the key honors program practices of active and close reading, shared inquiry and formal presentations. The course provides as part of its inquiry questions about the historical and/or cultural conditions that help one to understand the origin or implications of issues raised by the texts.

LH205 Ethics and Justice in Society (4 cr.)

This course continues the practice of close reading of central texts, now with a particular eye for how such texts address fundamental philosophical questions of ethics, justice, and politics, especially as they relate to the concept of the "happy life." Through close reading of classical authors such as Plato, Aristotle and Dante, students will also be asked to consider the themes of the course in contemporary contexts, in particular by demonstrating the call to ethical service through their service learning work at area agencies.

LH255 Knowledge, Authority, and the Individual in Culture and the Cosmos (4 cr.)

e beyond the largely unchallenged authority of scholasticism, a split between philosophy and what would come to be called science, a reinterpretation of the role of the individual as a knowing subject, and an expanded emphasis on experience and experiment. The course ends with a close reading and discussion of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov as one critique of the implications of the emerging tradition of Western Humanism. Students continue to engage in service learning begun in LH205 as they explore the interaction between concrete realities and abstract ideas evident in much of the work of these authors.

LH305 Aesthetics (4 cr.)

This course provides an intensive study of questions and issues that are both generated and answered by a variety of art forms, including literature, painting, sculpture and music. In studying the nature and role of the imagination, and the process of embodying that imagination in art, the course continues the inquiry into epistemological questions about how one comes to know the world that were raised in earlier honors classes about the classical world and scientific reasoning. Students will consider a number of significant literary works; paintings and sculptures from different cultural contexts; and significant works of music to address such questions as the nature of art, its role in interpreting the world, and how it represents or creates what we understand of our world or culture. As part of this inquiry, students will be asked to produce and reflect on their own works of the imagination.

LH355 Classics of the East and Islam (4 cr.)

This third-year seminar builds upon the honors program's emphasis on ways of knowing through close reading and discussion of classic and contemporary texts honored by Eastern traditions, including the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Qu'ran, and prominent contemporary Buddhist thinkers. Students will be introduced to art and to vocal and other practices (singing, chant, meditation) central to the spiritual experience in these traditions.

LH405 Catholicism and the Modern World (4 cr.)

In this course, the "modern world" is recognized as the creation of revolutions of the mind that have their roots in 17th century Western philosophy but that took hold in many disparate fields in the 19th and 20th centuries as a modern worldview. One alternative worldview that has both embraced and challenged aspects of modernity is Catholicism. This course explores the works and impacts of major thinkers of that world-transforming intellectual movement called modernity in dialogue with Catholic responses to those thinkers. Through reading, writing and seminar discussion, the course challenges students to uncover what modernity means, what Catholicism means, and what synergies and antagonisms might exist between the two. Such discoveries provide a critical understanding of contemporary culture and provoke consideration of how one can live more thoughtful and responsible lives as scholars and servants in a postmodern world.

LH455 Lasallian Honors Capstone (4 cr.)

In this capstone seminar, seniors in the honors program explore, in a U.S. American context, four spheres of adult life: citizenship, work, relationships and spirituality. Students are challenged to engage these themes through close reading and discussion of texts, reflection on their education in the Lasallian Honors Program, and service learning. The course emphasizes an awareness of historical development of society and social construction of individuals and systems, the challenging and ownership of one's own beliefs, and the living out of Lasallian values in a contemporary world.