Baylor > Honors Program > Prospective Students > Academics > First Year Seminars

First Year Seminars


These specialized seminars are introductory courses in the Honors Program curriculum.  Most incoming Honors Program students will participate in one of these highly recommended seminars during their first semester at Baylor.  These small classes enroll a maximum of 19 students, ensuring close student-faculty interaction and a chance for lively discussion. FYS courses usually satisfy a social science or fine arts graduation requirement.  Below are some sample FYS 1399 topics that have been offered in the past; selections will differ from year-to-year.

Crossroads in Medicine
What does it mean to have the power to heal another individual? What ethical lines should not be crossed to save another human life? What would happen if humans could live forever? Medicine is a complicated profession in which science, philosophy, business, sociology, psychology and religion all intersect. Everyday, the modern day physician sits at a crossroads of possibilities trying to determine the best outcome for their patients and their practice. This course will use several literary texts as a context for discussion of the many issues and concerns that physicians must encounter as an aspect of their everyday responsibilities in research and patient care.

Environmental Ethics and Human Health: Emerging Issues in Environmental Health
This seminar examines the range of topics associated with environmental health, including population growth, food security, environmental diseases (e.g., cancer), emerging diseases (e.g., Ebola, West Nile), food-borne illness, water usage, hazardous wastes, and human health risk assessment. After exploring causative linkages to increased human health risk, the class will examine approaches to define and understand local and global environmental health issues.

From Memex to YouTube: New Media Studies
All cultures are mediated through language, images, music, and all the other ways we represent our existence to ourselves and each other. this class will explore the intersections of computing and information science, education, Internet studies, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts, as well as the crucial and long-contested relationships among making, doing, and knowing.  Course readings will range from Plato to Jorge Luis Borges to Sherry Turkel to Scott McCloud and beyond.  These readings will be supplemented by various other texts and artifacts, from podcasts to MMORPGs to machinima.

Getting Away with Murder in Classical Athens
Which is most likely to persuade a jury: what is true, or what seems to be true? What, if anything, distinguishes argumentation from the mere manipulation of an audience? Through a study of the history and technique of persuasive rhetoric as practiced in Athens during the 5th and 4th centuries BC, using speeches written for actual trials involving homicide, assault, adultery and other criminal activity in the Greek city-state, this class will consider the use of, and the reaction against, persuasive rhetoric.  For their final projects, students will compose and deliver their own speeches in mock trials based on course readings.

Language, Thought, Identity, Action
What is language, and how does language work?  This course examines both the mechanical and social aspects of language.  We will ask questions about the relationship between thought and language, and move far beyond a study of verb conjugations, dangling participles, and punctuation rules.  Language is a miraculous gift of creation and connection.

Literary Bible
The Bible is the most important foundational document for the history and canon of English literature.  This course especially aims to assist students who are interested in historical anthropology, classics, English, history, and philosophy.  The approach will be primarily literary--a consideration of structure and imagery.

Philosophy of C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis was first trained as a philosopher, but after the war there were no positions, so he gained qualifications to teach English and the rest is history. However, Lewis continued to write philosophical works and to write literature philosophically on such a variety of issues that his work can serve as a fitting introduction to philosophy. In this course we will examine issues in ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics through Lewis's works of both fiction and non-fiction. We will also get to know C.S. Lewis the man, the soul at the center of the work.

Priests, Pastors, and Power: Church Leaders in Literature
Reading a variety of literary texts featuring Christian clerical leaders, students will explore questions about spiritual, ecclesial, and temporal power.  The class's concerns will be both literacy and theological, including the nature of pastoral vocation, the nature of martyrdom, and church governance.  Readings will include T. S. Eliot, Anton Chekhov, Graham Greene, G. K. Chesteron, and George Eliot.