The Honors Tutorial (Year 3)

Honors tutorials are small enrollment (up to 12), 3-credit classes that offer an in-depth look at a specific topic or theme. These courses are proposed by faculty from across campus, and the tutorials offered change each semester. To get a sense of what that means, check out our current Tutorials below.

You also have the option of completing our Tutorial Alternative in place of taking a traditional Honors Tutorial course. Examples of typically approved Tutorial Alternatives include study abroad, internships, REUs, etc. Learn more about the Tutorial Alternative here.

Fall '24 Tutorials

The Honors College is excited to introduce a new tutorial option for 2024-25: The Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing.

Founded at Wellesley College, these seminars are designed to help you connect your studies to the world beyond UMaine through writing for public audiences.  In a Calderwood Seminar, you will learn how to translate complex concepts and academic knowledge into prose that is accessible to a general reader.  Instead of lengthy essays targeted primarily to your professor, you will write fast-paced, short assignments like book and film reviews, interviews and profiles, op-eds, and other forms of public writing.  Seminars involve a weekly rhythm of outside-of-class peer editing, in-class workshopping, and delivery of multiple drafts. Students rotate each week between the roles of editor and writer.

In addition to the Honors Colleges at the University of Arizona and the University of Oregon, Calderwood Seminars are taught at Georgetown University, Smith College, Bard College, Rice University, and Wesleyan University, among others. 

We will offer three Calderwood Seminars in 2024-25

  • Why Museums Matter: Collections, Curating and Culture (Dr. DeTurk, Fall 24);
  • Religious Conflict and Compatibility (Dr. LaBouff, Fall 24);
  • Writing for Political Empowerment and Policy Change (Dr. Glover, Spring 25)

For more information about the fall 2024 Calderwood Seminars, see below.  Click here to learn more about the Calderwood experience.


HON 340: Why Museums Matter: Collections, Curating and Culture Dr. Sabrina DeTurk Fall 2024 | Tuesdays, 2 – 4:50

Did you know that there are over 250 museums in Maine? Over 35,000 museums in the United States? What do they exhibit and why? Who goes to them? Who pays for them? Who cares about
them? Answering those questions and more will be the focus of this course. However, rather than just exploring the world of museums as an abstract academic exercise, this Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing will ask you to explain, through different forms of writing and to different audiences, why museums matter
in the 21st century.

You will have the opportunity to try your hand at new genres of writing, from grant proposals, to wall labels, to interviews. Through the drafting and peer editing process we will form a collaborative and
supportive writing community in which we can all develop our skills in public communication.

HON 338: Calderwood Seminar for Public Writing: Religion, Culture, and Conflict Dr. Jordan P. LaBouff Fall 2024 / W 2-4:50

Gordon Allport famously said, “Religion is a paradox; it both makes and unmakes prejudice.” In this course we will examine the powerful social and cultural force that is Religion by practicing writing about religion and religious issues for the public. We will learn about cutting edge research on religion, prejudice, warfare, and peacemaking, and then share that expertise we develop with public audiences. In a small-group, focused workshop setting, you will develop your public voice through ~6 iterative cycles of writing and peer-editing different kinds of public writing (e.g., social media posts, podcasts, film reviews, public testimony, op-eds, etc.). By taking turns as writers and editors you will build a community of writers and thinkers, as well as critical skill in writing for the public, editing others’ writing, and responding to feedback. We will follow the Calderwood Seminar expectations for you to engage in rigorous drafting, revising, and commenting on your own writing as well as the writing of your peers.

The Tutorial Alternative
An Honors student poses in front of a scenic vista while traveling.
An Honors student gives a presentation at their internship.
Honors student shown overlooking a city in Croatia while studying abroad.


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 abroad experiences, engineering cooperatives, congressional internships, participation in Semester By the 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 studying Nursing, Education, Child Development and Family Relations, or Kinesiology and Physical Education can be substituted as Honors Tutorial Alternatives. These course substitutions should help make it much more possible to graduate from the Honors College with these degrees. 

  • 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, enroll in HON 349, and complete the requirements* for the course, as described below.

*We understand that there can be legal restrictions on photographs during these courses due to patient or student confidentiality, etc. In these circumstances, we are able to grant an exemption for the requirement of 6 photos. If this applies to you, please simply reach out to the course coordinators when you are enrolled in HON 349 to let them know.


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:

  1. Apply: Submit an application for a tutorial alternative at least one month before embarking on your experience.  Click here to submit your application for a tutorial alternative.  (Typically you will be notified of whether your proposal is approved within two weeks of submission.)
  2. Enroll: If approved, register to take HON 349 after you have returned by emailing HON 349 is a 0 credit, P/F course. HON 349 should be taken within two semesters of the end of experience on which the Tutorial Alternative is based. NOTE: HON 349 is a 0 credit course. Taking this course will not add any credits towards a student’s full-time load in consideration of Financial Aid awards that are dependent on this.
  3. HON 349 Course: Complete the HON 349 course which requires submission of the following assignments:
    • Evidence of successful completion of any coursework involved in the Tutorial Alternative opportunity, typically a transcript or certificate (if applicable)
    • At least six photographs representative of the experience, including pictures of the student, that are suitable for the Honors College website, and
    • Completion of ONE of the following options:
      • ESSAY – A three- to five-page, double-spaced, reflective essay, OR
      • VIDEO – A three to five-minute video reflecting on your experiences.

If you have any questions about the Tutorial Alternative or HON 349, please reach out to