Approved Coursework

Academic Opportunities for University Scholars
In order to successfully complete the USP, University Scholars are required to complete 12 hours of approved coursework by the time they graduate. The following may be used to complete this requirement:

See the schedule of Fall 2020 approved coursework.

Honors Seminars

HON seminars promote critical thinking, reading, and problem solving and to employ methods that instill the integration and appreciation of knowledge across disciplines. Their small class size provides an ideal setting for constructive argumentation, analysis, synthesis, and pointed conclusions. They are taught by faculty members that are specially trained to engage students in critical debate about the subjects studied.

Honors Sections

Honors sections of courses (designated by an “H” suffix) typically have a smaller class size, and provide students with a more in-depth and challenging exploration of the course subject matter, than their non-Honors equivalents.  They are usually restricted to students in the University Scholars Program and University Honors Program, creating an environment of academic excellence and inquiry.  Not surprisingly, Honors courses tend to receive very positive feedback from our students.

Honors Contracts

The Honors Contract process allows students to earn Honors course credit through contracts with faculty. The contract may be for work done independently by a student under faculty supervision or may be made between faculty members and teams of students working on a common project. Contracts for Honors Credit may be developed in advance by members of the faculty who agree to supervise Honors work (faculty-initiated) or may be proposed by students to members of the faculty in whose courses they are or plan to be enrolled (student-initiated). The form that must be completed can be found here.

First Year Inquiry Courses

First Year Inquiry (FYI) courses are restricted to first-year students at NC State, and are designated with a “Q” suffix.  These courses are especially designed for first year students to help them make the transition from high school to university-level thinking.  Their small class sizes (typically 20-22 students) and emphasis on inquiry-guided learning techniques help foster a close relationship between the students and the professor, and the development of critical reading, writing, and discussion skills.  Most FYI courses fulfill General Education Requirements or departmental requirements. It is recommended that students consult with their academic advisors when choosing an FYI course.

USP 200-Level Courses

USP 200-level courses are designed for University Scholars who have completed 3 semesters of Scholars Forum.  These 1-credit courses count towards the USP’s 12 hour coursework requirement, feature small class sizes (20 students per section), and reflect the mission of the University Scholars Program. For more information, contact Ken Johnson ( or Sean Cassidy (

Fall 2019 Courses

  • USP 201-001: Great Decisions
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
    Great Decisions seeks to educate students from all majors about important foreign policy issues through the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions Program. The course will meet for 90 minutes on 10 occasions. Students will study, discuss and debate 8 important issues during the semester. With the Great Decisions briefing book serving as a guide, students enrolled in the course will investigate the following topics: Russia and the Near Abroad; Privacy in the Digital Age; Sectarianism in the Middle East; India Changes Course; U.S. Policy Toward Africa; Syria’s Refugee Crisis; Human Trafficking in the 21st Century; Brazil’s Metamorphosis. More information about the Great Decisions program is available at:
  • USP 204-001: USP Readings Inspired By the Scholars Forum
    *Restricted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the Scholars Forum.
    Wednesdays, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
    This class meets for two hours on six Wednesdays. Using selections inspired by upcoming Scholars Forum themes and topics, this course will encourage University Scholars to think across borders and cultural boundaries in order to make cultural connections with their world and experiences. The focus is on sharpening the students’ critical reasoning skills through an in-depth exploration of contemporary fiction drawn from the Scholars Forum and facilitating a conversation among University Scholars about how these texts reflect both the culture they are written in and the culture of the students. We will emphasize the acquisition of knowledge, the development of critical and close reading skills, and the increased understanding of shared ideas and values. The course will rely on close reading strategies as a guide during class discussion.

Graduate (500+ level) Courses

Under the University-wide Guidelines for Honors Programs at NC State, the Provost has approved the acceptance of Advanced courses, 500-level courses that are taken as electives or as substitutes for lower-level courses, in fulfillment of Honors program requirements. Therefore, these courses will also automatically fulfill requirements for completion of the University Scholars Program.

Study Abroad Courses

University Scholars who participate in semester- or summer- NC State OR Non-NC State Study Abroad Programs may use a total of six (6) of these credits in partial fulfillment of the USP course requirements. To receive credit for Non-NC State Study Abroad Programs, please make sure to submit the USP Request for Study Abroad Credit form upon return to campus.  Students cannot receive USP credit for Spring Break Study Abroad programs. (*Please note that if you completed a study abroad program prior to the Fall 2015 semester, you should complete this form instead).

The University Scholars Program sponsors two summer study abroad programs: Florence Summer Abroad and Oxford Summer Abroad.

Independent Study and Research Courses

University Scholars may receive up to 6 hours credit towards the 12-hour USP course requirement through successful completion of approved independent study or independent research courses [listed on the second page of the form]. To receive credit towards the 12 hours of required USP coursework through completion of a 400-level independent study or independent research course a student must complete the USP Request for Independent Study or Research Credit form and submit it to the University Scholars Program office at the beginning of the semester in which the course is taken.