Humanities Honors

What comprises the Humanities Honors Program?

The Humanities Honors Program is a General Education four-semester, six-unit per semester survey of the Foundations of World Cultures and Society (HUM 1A/HUM 1B) and Modern Cultural and Social Institutions (HUM 2A/HUM 2B). Centered on the interdisciplinary study of world culture, the Program emphasizes the interrelationship of the arts, world literatures, philosophy, and social institutions. Throughout the four semesters, students develop a foundational knowledge of the stories of human history and how civilizations have arisen and transformed into the cultures of the world today. Humanities Honors curriculum spans Antiquity (1A), the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1B), Revolutionary and Modern Eras (2A), and the Contemporary Era (2B). Be sure to look at our Reading List and FAQ online for more information.

What the 4-semester Program Satisfies at a Glance:

Core (Lower Division) General Education (GE) Areas 




Oral Communication



Written Communication 1A



Critical Thinking and Writing



Arts & Letters

C1 & C2 & C2


Comparative Systems



Social Issues



American Institutions (AI) Areas



US History



US Constitution



CA Government



All of these areas are completed by taking four six-unit courses (HUM1A, 1B, 2A, 2B) over four consecutive semesters. 

Humanities Honors courses DO NOT cover GE areas:
(human behavior)
(human understanding and development), and
B1, B2, B3, B4 
(all science and mathematical concepts)

Information about General Education Areas can be found at

Information about American Institutions Areas can be found at

Can I Apply?

Entering first-year students from all majors who meet the qualifications below may apply for admission to the Humanities Honors program.

3.0 overall unweighted high school GPA, and ONE of the following:

575+ score on the SAT EBRW section, or

24+ ACT verbal section, or    

3+ score on AP English exam, or

4+ score on an IB English (language A literature, or language & literature).

Satisfying the GPA and any one of the standardized English test score options qualifies you for the program. If you have any questions about the requirements, or wish to be considered for inclusion in the program, contact Professor Cynthia Rostankowski, the Coordinator for the Humanities Honors and Advanced Honors Programs, at or at 408-924-4508. Once you have contacted us and indicated your interest, we can proceed with your application process.

Why Humanities Honors?

Humanities Honors creates a scholarly community in which students learn together and in so doing form lasting friendships and memories. One of the best things about Humanities Honors is meeting other students with whom you can discuss what you are studying, and who are as interested in the ideas as you are.

Along with building knowledge and community, Humanities Honors enables students to fast track through many general education requirements. In addition to the 24 units of GE requirements the program fulfills, students also meet graduation requirements in American Institutions and California Government.

What Can I Do To Be Successful?

First and foremost, Humanities Honors requires reading, so be prepared to spend a significant amount of time immersed in the literature you will be assigned. While challenging, this is also incredibly rewarding, because through immersion you will gain great insight and understanding into the cultures and eras being taught.

Second, take good and copious notes. Exams are based on lectures and reading, so pay particular attention to what professors say and write it down, as this will help in studying and in understanding the material. The act of writing engages you mentally in what is being discussed and will be very useful when it comes time to prepare for exams.

Third, form study groups. Cooperative learning is one of the best ways to be successful in your studies and to make friends. If you are having trouble understanding something, studying with a fellow classmate helps you to make sense of things because he or she may be able to explain it in a way that makes it clearer. Also, if you are a student who is confident in your understanding of the material, explaining the material to another person solidifies the material in your mind.

Fourth, talk to your professors. Professors in the Humanities Honors Program care about the success of their students and are a resource to help you succeed. Don't be shy. Ask for help when you need it. Your professors will be happy to work with you.


Whom should I contact if I have questions?

The Coordinator for the Humanities Honors program is Professor Cynthia Rostankowski. Her office is in Clark Hall, room 441, and her office phone is 408-924-4508. You may also reach her by email at