What are Honors seminars and how do they differ from Honors classes?

  • Seminars are 1-credit courses that meet for one hour per week for the 15-week semester or two hours per week for just the first seven weeks of the semester.
  • You need to take at least three seminars to complete the program, but because these are so popular, many students take more than what’s required.
  • You can take up to one seminar per semester, and you won’t be charged additional tuition for seminars when you have more than 16 hours.

We offer at least 10 seminars each semester that span a wide range of topics. We encourage you to take seminars on topics outside of your major. The list below represents some of the recent seminar offerings.


Bodacious Babes, Magical Women, and Final Girls: Representations of Femininity and Feminism in Horror Media with Prof. Leslie Russell, English Department

This seminar will provide an intersectional examination of some of the archetypal representations of feminine gender identity in horror media, including literature, film, and television, as well as the influence of the four waves of feminism on the horror genre. The seminar will involve the reading/viewing of a culturally diverse selection of films/texts that exemplify some of the common feminine archetypes in horror, as well as the reading of critical theory to facilitate analysis. Some of the archetypes to be examined will include final girls, witches/magical women, mean girls, bimbos, and vengeance-seekers.

Conspiracy Theories with Dr. Sara Netzley, Communication Department

Today's conspiracy theories are bigger, faster, and more influential than ever. This seminar will examine the media practices and psychological motivations that make people susceptible to these beliefs, along with the social and political consequences such theories can create.

Do you really know what you think you know? with Prof. Wendy Beanblossom, Biology Department

This seminar focuses on using practices of science to evaluate conventional wisdom and potential myths and misconceptions. As students leave home and start to live independently, this course will focus on practical science that will help them make decisions about everyday life. The class is built around collaborative projects that extend from the classroom into the dorm. Projects will be used to generate discussion about how we choose to live, which practices we grew up with are scientifically accurate, which are just tradition, and which we want to continue practicing. This interdisciplinary approach branches both physical and life sciences. Is it really ok for your dog to lick your face? What is the purpose of adding salt to boiling water? The class will work together to determine which questions will be explored.

Exploring the Fourth Dimension with Dr. Tony Bedenikovic, Mathematics Department

The idea of a fourth dimension–of reality beyond what can be seen–has attracted thinkers from various fields throughout history. In this seminar, we will study references to the fourth dimension in the work of artists, mathematicians, philosophers, scientists, and others. In general, a different aspect of the fourth dimension will be explored at each meeting. While most studies will include a mathematical perspective, the goal of this seminar is to investigate diverse perspectives. All majors are welcome. To help further convey the nature of this seminar, a list of sample questions follows: Can we learn to visualize the fourth dimension? How is a 4-dimensional universe different from a 3-dimensional universe? Is the fourth dimension just time? How has the idea of higher dimensions influenced the work of visual artists and writers? How has it influenced current scientific theories?

Ghosts of Climate Change Past, Present, and Future with Dr. Anant Deshwal, Biology Department

Climate change is a phenomenon that is going to affect us all irrespective of our majors or disciplines. In this seminar, we will aim at understanding what is climate change. We will also be visited by the ghosts of Climate Change Past, Climate Change Present, and Climate Change Future. In addition to understanding the science behind climate change and its impact, we will also explore climate change from indigenous knowledge perspectives. We will explore how the indigenous knowledge of farmers, hunters, and fishermen in Illinois can help in mitigating climate change. Through this seminar, I hope to empower you in understanding how climate change will impact your field and how you can be equipped to tackle the challenges thrown your way by climate change.

The Joy of Cooking with Dr. Jennifer Jost, Biology Department

Why do we love to eat? How do we find joy in cooking? Why does a particular food taste great to you but terrible to someone else? This course will examine cooking from a variety of perspectives including personal experience with food, the culture of food preparation, and the underlying science of farming and cooking. Topics will include the various flavor profiles and how they vary between geographical regions, the scientific processes behind cooking and baking, and the future of agriculture in the face of climate change. Discussions will include the Peoria community and both the challenges and successes that exist locally. There will be opportunities to prepare and consume food during class in addition to class readings, discussions, and assignments.

The Life You Want: Confucius Speaks with Dr. Dan Getz, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department

Bradley University has announced in its 2021 Strategic Plan that your education at Bradley is an “investment in the life you want.” This declaration bears the weight of all of your aspirations, hopes and dreams for the future, promising that your Bradley education will lead to a life of success. As satisfying that promise might be, it leaves a sense that something is missing. The question of what kind of life one might want is reframed in this class, suggesting that a more fundamental question must first be pondered: What should one want? Focusing on this prior question of how one should lead one’s life, the seminar will examine the issue through a lens created twenty-five hundred years ago by Confucius. Participants will read The Analects of Confucius, a text that has had an outsized influence in shaping Chinese civilization. While one of the goals of the seminar is to challenge participants to understand this text in its original Chinese cultural and linguistic context, this classic will at the same time be explored for its manifest wisdom in offering universal insights into the human condition. You’ll be pondering these questions in an intergenerational community of learners, half of whom are undergraduates, with the other half drawn from retirees participating in the Bradley OLLI Program. As an undergraduate, you will, in witnessing the dedication of your older classmates, be rewarded with the realization that learning is a life-long pursuit. They in turn will derive benefit from the excitement, energy, and fresh ideas that you will be bringing to our conversations.

Oral Communication for Real-Life Situations with Dr. Dakota Horn, Communication Department

This course is designed as an opportunity to research, organize, practice and present your ideas for several different types of speech situations in which you may find yourself throughout your professional and personal life. It is not designed to teach you the skills gained in COM 103, but rather a chance to use those basic skills to further create, practice, hone, personalize, and professionalize your own way as a speaker.

The Place of Work in the Life You Want with Dr. Andrew Kelley, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department

This class will look at the issue of the role of work in the life that a person wants by focusing on two texts: The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us & How to Build Better Lives by Jonathan Malesic, a scholar of religion, and also Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, by the philosopher Matthew Crawford. Several other short readings and videos will also be assigned. This course is part of a three-seminar sequence that includes “The Life that You Want: Confucius Speaks” [Dr. Dan Getz] and a third class that involves a study abroad trip to Copenhagen over Spring Break.

Post-feminist Princesses and Princes: An examination of popular Disney characters and stories through Critical Theory with Prof. Shannon Sandoval, Communication Department

Love Disney? So do I! Arguably, Disney has had a tremendous influence on my life and likely on yours too. It is often said that “art imitates life” and in this seminar we’ll put that theory to the test as we re-examine stories and characters from Disney films through the various lenses of Critical Theory. We’ll focus on Disney animated feature-length films but will also interweave Walt Disney company history, culture and history, and literature review to give us a broader understanding of the impact they’ve had. The goal of our seminar isn’t to condemn or praise but rather to examine this form of media with a more critical eye and a more nuanced understanding of the messages and representations that influence us throughout our stages of life. Weekly meetings will be discussion-centered and you’ll need access to the Disney+ streaming service for assigned viewings. There will also be assigned short readings, which will be provided to you. The seminar will conclude with a research oral presentation on a topic of your choice.

The Power of Song with Dr. Robert Prescott, English Department

All of us have our own music–not simply the songs on our playlists, but those songs that mean so much to us that they express at some level who we are. This seminar will examine a wide array of songs through the lenses of many disciplines: literature, music history and performance, history, cultural anthropology, world languages, and religious studies. We will analyze lyrics together, consider how songs have changed through the ages, and share with one another those songs that are most important to us personally. We will also study what goes into writing an original song.

Practical Legal & Accounting Concepts with Dr. William Bailey, Accounting Department

This seminar is open to all students interested in understanding key practical legal and accounting concepts including (1) the United States legal structure, (2) capital markets (e.g., stocks and bonds), (3) personal finance, and (4) the impact of taxation on individuals and businesses—including individual tax issues, the entrepreneur’s choice of business entity, and estate planning issues. Students of all majors are encouraged to participate and no prerequisites are required.

The Psychology of Social Media with Prof. Heidi Rottier, Marketing Department

Why do we use social media? What about social media keeps us coming back again and again? Around the globe, nearly half the world’s population turns to social media for information, social interaction, shopping advice, and so much more. Although you may use social media every day (2+ hours/day!), you may not be aware of the psychology behind it. This seminar will explore the reasons why social media keeps us coming back for more. We will also discuss the impact social media has on our mental health, relationships, and perception of the world around us.

Stem Cells and Regenerating Tissue–Ethics with Dr. Craig Cady, Biology Department

The first two class periods will focus on clarifying the field of regenerative medicine, particularly the general biology, function, and vocabulary. After establishing a basic level of understanding, we will have the tools to discuss the many ethical topics that exist in this field. Students who attend will understand general stem cell biology and therefore have the tools to rationally consider the many ethical problems/questions in the media and literature.

Why are we here? with Dr. Seth Katz, English Department

Through reading, writing, and conversation, we will approach different answers to this question, and a number of others, including but not limited to

  • “Why have you come to college?”
  • “What should be the relationship of college to career?”
  • “What does it mean to learn?”
  • “What happens when we die?"
  • “How do we know what’s true?"
  • “What do non-scientists need to understand about science?”
  • “Why do the arts matter?”
  • “What is happiness?”

Assigned readings will include classic and contemporary texts, all available online.