Honors Courses & Components



Unique course opportunities are at the core of the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program. With small class sizes and close access to faculty, Honors Scholars can enjoy all of the opportunities that Berkshire Community College offers. Students who complete the Honors Program can transfer into Commonwealth Honors programs at public colleges and Universities across Massachusetts. 

Fall 2022 Semester Course Offerings:

  • ENG-103-01 Honors Composition I                          

    Honors Composition I

    ENG-103-01 Honors Composition I                          

    Instructor:  Matthew Müller, 

    Hybrid - On-campus, Friday 11:00-12:15 (room M-208)

    In addition to fulfilling 3 credits toward 9 needed to graduate as an Honors Scholar, this course also fulfills 3 credits of Composition I (like ENG 101) required for almost all programs.

    The study and practice of academic writing with an emphasis on developing logical arguments. Students will apply critical reading strategies to texts from multiple disciplines in order to analyze rhetorical strategies, methods of expression, argument-formation. Written assignments will focus on use of textual evidence; the methods, strategies, and applications of college-level research; and the development of an individual critical stance.  Prerequisite: Cumulative HS GPA of 3.25 or demonstrated competency on Accuplacer; or ENG-020, and ENG-090 with admission to the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program preferred or permission of the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program Coordinator.

    Additional note from Mr. Müller:

    I believe that good writing comes out of clear thinking. Therefore, this class will be spent developing your capacity to think clearly and critically. We will talk about process and how to build a writing practice that can nurture steady progress and joy. You’re going to learn a variety of research practices that will build your confidence in seeking out information. This will set you up beautifully for future courses that require research. We’re going to work on developing ways in which you can learn to take an individualized critical stance on an issue. You’ll work to develop both your own writing style, and your own ability to craft arguments in a way that best utilizes that style. You’ll read widely, from philosophical works, to psychological works, to historical works. You’ll also read nonfiction stories and research papers. You will learn how to read these essays critically, to approach them from a variety of viewpoints and lenses, and in becoming a better reader, you will also become a better editor of your own work. This class will feature complex essays and class discussions that dive headlong into this complexity. The point of this course will be to challenge you while also exciting in you the potential of your own academic progress. I see this course as a chance to better understand our world and our own reactions to it through our class discussions, readings, and written assignments. I hope you’ll join me. 



  • HON-298I-01 Honors Colloquium: Graphic Novel & Comics As Cultural Barometer  

    Honors Colloquium: Graphic Novel & Comics As Cultural Barometer

    Honors Colloquium: Graphic Novel & Comics As Cultural Barometer

    Instructor: Maura Delaney, 

    On-campus: Tuesday/Thursday, 12:30-1:45, (room M-208)

    In addition to fulfilling the colloquium requirement for the Honors Program, this course also fulfills requirements for either Humanities or Literature

    An introduction to critical methods in popular culture studies, with a focus on the graphic novel and comics as cultural producer and process. Through a survey of primary texts, we will learn how graphic storytellers use historical and contemporary social issues as a primary source for their work. The translation of traditional literary pieces into graphic medium will also be addressed. Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program required.   Prerequisites: Six credits of composition or permission of the instructor.

    Additional note from Ms. Delaney:

    The graphic novel is a dominant medium in our time and this class will explore what influenced its origin, how an author responds to his/her/their culture through a graphic novel, and how a graphic novel can shape our understanding of ourselves. Together we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in comic strips and several celebrated texts of the graphic novel medium. From Archie to Maus, comics have been a reflection of contemporary society, we will see how critical studies of popular culture have a distinct place in the medium of sequential art and word. 

  • PSY-107H-01 Honors Introductory Psychology  

    PSY-107H-01 Honors Introductory Psychology  

    PSY-107H-01 Honors Introductory Psychology  

    Instructor: Dr. Melody Fisher,  

    Wednesday/Friday, 12:30-1:45 (room H-205)

    In addition to fulfilling 3 credits toward 9 needed to graduate as an Honors Scholar, this course also fulfills 3 credits of Social Science for gen ed or program requirements, and it fulfills the requirement by many programs that students specifically take PSY 107.

    Topics include research methods and experimental design, biology and behavior, development, learning and conditioning, intelligence and memory, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, theories of personality, abnormal behavior and psychotherapy.  A prerequisite for many psychology courses and a requirement for several programs.  Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program required, or permission from the Honors Coordinator.  Prerequisite: Skills: ENG 020 and ENG 090 or permission of the Honors Coordinator.

    Additional note from Dr. Fisher:

    If we've learned anything over the past few years, it's that human beings are completely crazy. Why is that? Honors Introductory Psychology travels through neurological, developmental, abnormal, cognitive, and social psych topics (among others), exploring everything from memory to dreams to gender and sexual development. You'll develop a strong foundation in reading and understanding published psychological research studies, and when you hear news studies cite research as "proof" you'll be better able to critique their claims. Through performing and reading psychological research, we seek to scientifically understand the experience of being human. Psychology can help us understand why we procrastinate, why we care so much about others' opinions of us, and how our genetic expression might not be as fixed as we thought. There is no more important skill set in the world today than to think critically about data, to be empathetic about life's challenges, and to communicate and collaborate well. Psychology can help us understand ourselves as well as others, and to learn how we might help to heal those who are suffering from mental health challenges. 


Spring 2022 Semester Course Offerings:

  • HON-298G Honors Colloquium: Gothic Literature & Horror Film                           

    Gothic Honors Course

    HON-298G Gothic Literature & Horror Film                             

    Professor: Chuck Prescott

    On-campus: Hybrid, Wednesday 12:30 - 1:45 (room H-201)

    Catalog Course Description: An exploration of the Gothic novel from its origins to the current cultural movement, and its evolution into horror film.  The course will examine how "classic" Gothic devices and conventions were employed by such authors as Shelley, Poe, Stevenson, Stoker, and King, and how those conventions developed in film throughout the twentieth century.  This colloquium will include literary, historical, psychological and sociological approaches to "horror."  Admission in Berkshire Honors Scholar program required.  Prerequisite Skills: ENG 020 & ENG 090  |  Recommended: Six credits of composition

    Credits: 3

    Additional Statement from Professor Prescott:

    Why do monsters continue to intrigue us? Gothic fiction has explored the "monstrous" since the mid-1700s and continues to recycle and reinvent itself today.  This course will explore classic Gothic texts by Monk Lewis, Mary Shelley, Poe, Stoker, and Stephen King, with emphasis on the social history surrounding the texts. We will also watch and discuss a series of horror films, considering how they incorporate the major elements of the Gothic tradition and create their own iconography.  Finally, we will close by discussing the film Get Out (2015) to consider how images of monstrosity continue to resonate in our own society. Plus, zombies as a figure of anxiety for global pandemics. What could be more timely than that?

    Note that this course will be in-person hybrid, meaning that we will meet once a week on campus with extensive online interaction as well. However, students will have the option to participate remotely through Zoom via the OWL meeting camera, meaning you do not need to come to campus to participate. Email Professor Prescott if you would like additional explanation.

  • HUM-148H: Honors: The 1960s in the US  

    The 1960s in the US - Honors Course

    HUM 148H Honors: The 1960s in the US

    Professor: Charles Park

    On-campus: Hybrid, Tuesday 11:00 - 12:15 (room M-211)

    Catalog Course Description: An investigation of the people, politics, and prose of a critical era in American history. This course includes a study of the Civil Rights Movement, the New Feminism, and the war in Vietnam as well as the art, music, and literature of the period. In addition to books, films and other media are used to bring home the reality of the era. Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar program required. Prerequisite: Three credits of composition, or permission of the instructor.

    Credits: 3

    Additional Statement from Professor Park:

    As we turn our gaze towards the US in these early years of the 2020s, it is hard not to see the comparisons to the tumult of the 1960s.  Protest against racial injustices and police violence against Black Americans.  Marches for gender equality and for recognition of gays and lesbians. Concerns over the environment.  Shifting ideologies in politics and a nation divided over cultural, economic, and social values. Debates over immigration policy.  Technological changes in the way news is disseminated and how we experience what is happening around us.  The role that young people play in politics, culture, and direction of the nation.  These are all issues that are familiar to us, but each has their roots in the transformative decade that was the 1960s.  In this class, we will examine the causes and legacies of movements that shaped the United States during the “long” 1960s, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 and ending with the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam in 1973.  The course will focus on primary documents and eyewitness accounts, as well as scholarly analysis, to examine why the 1960s happened, and what this decade can teach us about where our nation is today.    
  • ENG-104 Honors Composition II     

    Honors Composition II

    ENG-104 Honors Composition II        

    Professor: Nell McCabe

    Online: Hybrid-Virtual, Thursday 11:00 - 12:15 (in Zoom)

    Catalog Course Description: A multi-modal college-level research course with a focus on using evidence-based research methods, forming clear arguments, and developing a professional academic writing style. Students will identify and pursue individual research interests and present their findings in multiple modes such as a formal research paper; slide, poster, and oral presentations; and other forms appropriate to presenting scholarly work. Membership in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Program required.  Prerequisite: Three credits of composition, or permission of the instructor.

    Credits: 3

    Addition statement from Professor McCabe:

    This course will be almost entirely driven by student research interests. No matter where your interests lie, you’ll engage in a semester-long academic research project on a subject that matters to you. You’ll compose an argument-driven academic research paper and present your work in whatever mode best fits your subject, whether it’s giving a speech, creating a website, or designing a poster. Throughout this process, we will be developing the skills necessary to engage in academic research and present your work in a polished and professional way.

    This semester, this class will be presented in a hybrid-virtual format. We will meet one per week as a class via Zoom, and engage together online in the time between class meetings. In our virtual meetings I will present and review core concepts of the academic research process, we will engage in small group inquiry and discussions, and there will be time for questions. In our online space, we will apply critical thinking to our reading of published academic and public work, discuss existing research and research strategies, and use peer review as a means of supporting one another through each stage of the research, writing, and presentation process.


Frequently Taught Honors Courses

These are a selection of courses frequently available to Berkshire Honors Scholars. Click on a course to see its entry in the  catalog (if available).


Course Types

  • Honors Colloquia

    Colloquia are seminar-style interdisciplinary courses that look at wide ranging topics in order to help students think more broadly and critically. They support other courses by helping students learn how to investigate academic areas independently, and by connecting what's learned in one class to what's learned in others.

    Past Colloquia Include:

    • Conspiracy Theories in American History
    • Seventeenth Century Thought
    • The Philosophy of the Life Sciences
    • Graphic Novel and Comics as Cultural Barometer
    • Gothic Literature and Horror Film
    • Disease and Disability: A Historic and Holistic View
    • Deconstructing Whiteness in America

    What all of these topics have in common is that they provide a broad base of understanding that goes well beyond the subject material. They give students crucial knowledge that will connect to and support many other courses that thry take, and with important analytical and critical thinking skills that are crucial to academic (and workplace) success.

    Each honors student must take at least one colloquium to graduate as a Berkshire Honors Scholar. Students may take more than one colloquium to fulfill the three course requirement.

  • Honors Courses

    These are special sections of regularly scheduled courses that are reserved exclusively for honors students. They cover the same material as non-honors sections and fulfill the same requirements, but involve deeper and more independent work. Honors Courses are listed in the course catalog under their discipline, with an H added to the course number (e.g. ENG 298H). To see which courses are currently offered, type the word "honors" into the keyword search in WebAdvisor. 

    Past courses include:

    • Irish Literature
    • Environmental Advocacy
    • The Harlem Renaissance
    • The 1960s in the US
    • LGBTQ+ Literature
    • Social Problems
    • Modern Poetry
  • Honors Composition Sequence

    The Berkshire Honors Scholar Composition Sequence provides an alternative to BCC’s traditional composition sequence by offering two courses that challenge students in rigorous academic writing, research, and presentation methods. The first course in the sequence, ENG 103, can be taken instead of ENG 101, and will give students practice in formulating written arguments, conducting college-level research, and learning to read critically through a variety of lenses. ENG 104, which can be taken instead of ENG 102, is a research and presentation methods course during which students will undertake individually developed research projects and learn how to present them in a variety of academic formats. Together, these two courses expose students to the practices of academic writing and research to be used throughout their college and academic careers.

  • Honors Components

    These one-credit independent studies are attached to an existing course, which results in that course counting as one of the three required honors courses. These are in-depth research projects on an area jointly determined by the faculty member and the student. They must result in some written work that will be kept on file in the Berkshire Honors Scholar Offices. They may also include a presentation, performance, or work of art. Students will add and pay for one additional credit.

    Process for Adding a Component:

    • Students should contact their professor before the first day of classes to make sure the professor is able to work on an honors component that semester.
    • Students should notify the Honors Coordinator once there is agreement on the potential for adding a component to the course.
    • Students must meet with the Honors Coordinator no later than the first week of classes to start working on the proposal. Students contacting the Honors Coordinator after the first week of classes will not be permitted to add a component.
    • Proposals for honors components are due no later than the end of the third week of classes.

    Go here for more information about adding a component.

  • Honors Independent Studies

    Honors independent studies are like regular independent studies.  They are availble to fulfill an intellectual investigation that is not found in the regular curriculum at BCC.  Students should find a professor to teach the independent study; the schedule for organizing an independent study is the same as that for components.

    Go here for more information about setting up an Honors Independent Study.