The Honors Tutorial (Year 3)

The Honors tutorial is a small course capped at 8 students that offers a look into a specific topic or theme. To get a sense of what that means, check out some of our Previous Tutorials.

You also have the option of completing our Tutorial Alternative rather than taking a traditional Honors Tutorial. See below for more details.

Honors tutorials will carry the course number (between 311 and 347) corresponding to the general education area(s) addressed by the course. A key to those correspondences can be found here.

Fall 2020 Tutorials
HON333 Course Poster

HON333: Creating the Modern Era: The Intersection of Science and the Humanities

Around the turn of the twentieth century, the world seemed to be changing as rapidly as we often experience today. Such changes were happening across various fields of thought and artistic expression, and many of these fields, despite how different they often appear, asked some of the same fundamental questions about the nature of humanity and its place within the world. In this course, we will consider these questions and how they were explored in three specific fields: physics, philosophy, and literature. What is consciousness? What is perception? In what ways are we connected to each other, and in what ways are we fragmented from one another? How do we understand the dynamic forces of existence, and our role within them? These questions, both as posed in the early twentieth century and as we consider them now, challenge us to reconsider our notions of how we relate to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. (Note: this course does not engage in the mathematics of physics; no prior physics or related mathematical knowledge is needed.)

This course builds on the fourth section of the Honors Civilizations sequence, expanding discussions of your readings about Warner Heisenberg and the philosophy of science, Virginia Woolf, and others. We will engage a selection of literary, philosophical, and scientific texts, including work by William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Albert Einstein, and Henri Bergson, as well as popular and scholarly secondary material. Assignments will include writing an essay for each of three course units, and producing a group presentation using an original, creative, and engaging format of your choosing.

Meets Wednesdays, 9:00am – 11:50am
Taught by Michael Swacha

HON338 Poster

HON 338: Food, Identities, and Politics

In this course, we will interrogate problems that lie at the intersections of food, identities, and politics. Using foodways as our lens, we will explore how power is challenged, negotiated, and maintained when it comes to issues of gender, race, place, class, and politics. Students will analyze the intersections of these domains by critically examining the history, ingredients, and meanings associated with a particular food, dish, or beverage of their choosing. By the end of the course, students will better understand how individual choices and preferences intersect with forces beyond the individual – such as politics, power, inequality, and the environment – to shape everyday experiences with and understandings of food.

Meets Wednesdays, 2:00pm – 4:50pm
Taught by Amy Blackstone and Amber Tierney


HON 343: Camden Film Festival

Camden Film Festival Course: October 1 – 4, 2020  Attendance is required throughout the entire Camden International Film Festival in Camden on October 1- 4, 2020. This includes film screenings and events beginning Thursday evening through Sunday evening. Attendance is also required at all class meetings during the festival at 9 AM on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday.  Students must provide their own transportation and lodging during the festival.  Any overnight lodging arrangements and payments are the responsibility of the student.  Attendance is also required for five Saturday classes, September 19 and 26, October 17, November 14, and December 5, which run from 9 AM to 4 PM.  Attendees have the opportunity for close interaction with filmmakers through events specifically created to facilitate such relationships.  These events include panels, workshops, special events, and musical performances, all of which are open to students enrolled in the course.

Meets select Saturdays, 8:00am – 4pm, and October 1-4, 2020 for the festival
Taught by Michael Grillo and Michael Scott

HON346 Poster

HON 346: Climate Change in Daily Life

The United Nations describes climate change as the defining issue of our time, saying that we are at a defining moment when it comes to deciding how humanity will respond. Despite this urgency, climate change remains a global phenomenon, psychologically distant for many, making it difficult to conceptualize and act upon. In this class, we will explore how climate change intersects with our daily lives in “hidden” ways while also discussing mitigation strategies and climate friendly actions and how these solutions are communicated to the public. Furthermore, we will address topics related to ethical challenges regarding our relationships with the natural world, climate justice, and issues of fairness and responsibility. This course will focus on topics such as sustainable agriculture and food waste, fast fashion and ethical clothing, gender inequality and its impact on population, and other issues related to our consumption patterns. At the end of this course, students will be able to recognize how their daily decisions affect and are affected by climate change, how climate change communication strategies affect (or don’t affect) their behaviors, and they will be better prepared to act in climate friendly ways.

Meets Tuesdays, 9:30am – 12:20pm
Taught by Lydia Horne

The Tutorial Alternative


In some cases the tutorial requirement may be waived based on a Tutorial Alternative, which is defined as:

An academic or experiential learning opportunity involving small group interaction that is not available at the University of Maine and that is pre-approved by the Dean of the Honors College. Tutorial Alternative opportunities should include some if not all of the following: application of academic knowledge, intellectual merit, independent work, a cultural experience, and personal initiative. Because the alternative is in lieu of a 3-credit course only proposals that indicate the student will spend a comparable amount of time (approximately 80 hours, which can include preparation time for the experience as well as the experience itself) will be approved.  Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, study away experiences, engineering cooperatives, congressional internships, participation in Semester at Sea, cultural/language immersions, recognized summer REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates).

For information about Study Abroad opportunities through the University of Maine, click here to visit the website of the Office of International Programs.

Special Course Substitutions: The following UMaine courses for students majoring in Nursing or Education can be substituted as Honors Tutorial Alternatives. 

  • NUR 306 – Care of Adults II Clinical
  • NUR 419 – Introduction and Service to Global Health
  • EHD 400 – Field Observation (Activity)
  • CHF 496 – Field Experience in Human Development and Family Studies
  • KPE 427 – Internship

You will still need to submit the application and complete the requirements for HON349, as described below.

This substitution should help make it much more possible to graduate from the Honors College with these degrees. If you decide to substitute one of these courses for your tutorial requirement, please reach out to the Honors Associates for more information.


Honors College students wishing to substitute an academic or experiential learning opportunity not available at the University of Maine in lieu of the  third-year tutorial must:

  • Register your intent to submit an alternative with the Honors College at least one month before embarking on that experience.  Click here to submit your application for a tutorial alternative online.  [Except in very rare circumstances, you will be notified whether your proposed tutorial alternative is approved within two weeks of submitting the form.]
  • If approved, register to take HON 349 when you have returned by emailing HON 349 is a 0 credit, P/F course which requires submission/completion of the following documentation and assignments:
    • if any coursework is involved in the alternative opportunity, a transcript indicating that you have passed all courses taken abroad,
    • at least six (preferably digital) photographs suitable for the Honors College’s web pages, including pictures of yourself, representative of your experience, and
    • a three-page reflective essay addressing a topic such as
      • How the culture in ______ is different from the culture (in the United States, in Maine, at the University of Maine, etc.)
      • Things that I couldn’t have learned at the University of Maine that I learned while participating in this experience.
      • How this experience enhanced my undergraduate education.
    • Present a ten- or fifteen-minute talk describing  your experiences at a study-abroad event (generally a Study Abroad Informational Meeting) during the first two semesters following your return to the University of Maine.  You should include stories about your six photographs, a description of the program in which you participated, the application process, the classes (if any) you took and how they differed from Maine classes, and you should discuss what it was like living in a different place, adjustments you made, challenges you faced, food, culture, news, and anything else you found interesting.

Timeline: HON 349 should be taken and completed within two semesters of the end of experience on which the Tutorial Alternative is based.

Click here to submit your application for a Tutorial Alternative!