Summer Honors Program Course Descriptions

SHP Chemistry Lab

All courses offered through the Summer Honors Program are designed to be dynamic, interactive explorations by the students and professor into the course topic.

Classes meet Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and noon and again between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Half the day will be spent in Honors Core and the other half in the discipline-based class chosen by the student. All classes are conducted by IUP faculty members and local professionals.

Honors Core

Required class for all students

In the Interdisciplinary Honors Core Course, all students will tackle some of the most basic and debated questions of human existence, such as, “How do we discern the good from the bad?” or, “What do we know? What do we believe? Is there a difference?” Working with professors from literature, philosophy, history, and the fine arts provides a unique opportunity for a synthesis of ideas. You will be challenged to develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of great scholars’ arguments, group discussions, writing, and group presentations.

Discipline-Based Class Options (continue to check back for updated course decscriptions)


From Pot Sherds to Gladiators: An Intro to Classical Archaeology

How do we know what we know about the past when written records do not exist or are incomplete? Where the written word is silent, archaeology steps to the forefront. Shipwrecks, volcanic eruptions, burials, and discarded items can all provide crucial evidence for understanding the past. An examination of archaeological sites from Egypt (The Great Pyramids), Greece (Atlantis, Parthenon, and Olympic Games), and Rome (Pompeii, gladiators, and urban living) will shed light on the similarities and differences between these ancient cultures and our society today.

Instructor:  Dr. S. Moore

Return to Course Selection


Genetic Engineering: Techniques and Application

Covers nucleic acid properties, structure, and functions. The lecture part of the course will cover the principles and techniques of recent developments and findings in recombinant DNA technology. The laboratory component will provide the opportunity to learn and apply hands-on recombinant DNA procedures and the technologies of spectrophotometer analysis of nucleic acids and proteins; restriction enzyme digestion, gel electrophoretic analysis of mutant genes, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis.

Program Prerequisites: High school biology, chemistry or physics

Instructor: Dr. N. Bharathan

Return to Course Selection

Chemistry (TBA)

Return to Course Selection

Film and Television: Hollywood from both sides of the lens

This course will serve as a basic overview of the film and television industries and be split into three sections. The first section will include a historical overview of the entertainment industry on both the small and large screens. Next, our focus will turn to modern-day Hollywood and the current state of the business, some included topics: Hollywood accounting, budgeting, and industry personnel. The final portion of the course will cover the basics of preproduction, principal photography, and postproduction. This course will be a fast paced look at the entertainment industry from both in front of the lens and behind!

Instructor: Dr. S. Kleinman

Return to Course Selection

Journalism/Public Relations

Do you enjoy using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Do you like to learn, write and socialize with people? Did you know that social media networks are turning the journalism and public relations fields upside-down? At IUP, we teach our students the latest and greatest ways that journalists are adding social media tools to their professional toolboxes. Join me for a two-week adventure full of field trips and challenging projects that will serve you well through your quest for higher education and beyond!

Instructor: Dr. M. Papakie

Return to Course Selection

Language, Cognition, and Culture in East Asia

A general introduction to the languages of East Asia, mainly Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese, three populous languages of the area. Students will learn the basic concepts of linguistic inquiry and the linguistic features of these languages. The course has two primary goals: (1) to explain basic linguistic features of these languages and compare them, and; (2) to explore interconnections between language, cognition, and culture within these languages. Training in one of these languages would be helpful, but not required for the course.

Instructor: Dr. Y. Kim

Return to Course Selection



Amend the Constitution!

Whether it is the issue of same-sex marriage, the right of the unborn to enjoy the status of full personhood, or the limits of the executive branch to push the boundaries of civil liberties in a time of national crisis, the United States Supreme Court struggles daily with the need to balance the rights of its collective citizenry against the individual rights of its citizens, as defined by the Constitution. Justices appointed to this task must wrestle daily with the words of our founding document as they define and interpret the cases that come before it.

You will explore the process of judicial review. We will begin with an examination of several very complex and emotional legal issues that threaten to rend the fabric of our national unity. You will investigate a controversial topic from a constitutional and legal perspective. You will also undergo the very process of judicial review that takes place in the U.S. Supreme Court. After researching and developing positions, the course will culminate in a presentation of a brief that interprets the case and sets the precedent for all future litigation surrounding the issue.

Instructors: Dr. D. Chambers and Dr. G Torges

Return to Course Selection

Mathematics: Combinatorics- the Science of Counting

Combinatorics  is a branch of mathematics which deals with enumeration.   Although originally used to answer mathematical questions about games  (e.g., How many possible chess moves?), combinatorics now has far  reaching uses.  Areas of applications include computer algorithms,  physical sciences (chemistry, etc.), branches of the social sciences,  game theory, and more.

In this course, we will begin with basic  counting techniques which may be familiar to many students.  From there,  we will progress through the topics and give a gentle introduction to several advanced techniques.  We will introduce students to some high  level mathematics, including an overview of some current research in the field.  If you enjoy numbers, then you will enjoy Combinatorics - the science of counting.

Instructor: Dr. T Flowers

Return to Course Selection

Mathematics: Topics in Linear Algebra

Don’t let the title of this course fool you. Indeed, you will recognize some of the topics if you have ever sat in a basic algebra class. However, this course will be anything but your typical algebra class. In this course, you will be introduced to one of the most influential and applied branches of modern mathematics. Linear algebra, in one fashion or another, touches almost every scientific and technical field including but not limited to mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, economics, computer science, and sociology. One particular instance is facial recognition software, which is used heavily by federal agencies. Other applications include, but not limited to, animation, networks, graph theory, and games. This course is accessible at all levels and no prior background knowledge is required. The only expectation is that you be willing to learn a significant amount of mathematics that you most likely have never seen before. This course will introduce some aspects of abstract mathematics but will focus primarily on computation. Calculators, such as any TI graphing calculator having matrix capability, are recommended but not necessary, and computer software will be introduced and used for time-intensive computations.

Instructor: Dr. J Lattanzio

Return to Course Selection

Physics (TBA)

There are multiple objectives of the summer honors physics class. The first is to provide an overview of the content in a first-year calculus based university physics class. Topics such as kinematics, dynamics, work-energy, electric circuits, and modern physics—which includes nuclear physics, special relativity, and quantum mechanics—will be surveyed. This is suitable for any student; good preparation if you plan to take physics in the future or a good review if you had physics in high school and are going to take it again at the university. The second objective is to examine the nature of the physical world from a philosophical perspective. In other words, is knowledge gained from the scientific process different from knowledge gained through other means? Third and last there will be a research project. Projects in the past have been: calculating the mechanical efficiency of a toy car through the process of destroying the car, using radioactive tracers to determine percolation rates of water through various soils, and determining how much aluminum you might need to block radioactive particles. The project done this year might be similar or different from those of the past.

Return to Course Selection


Isn’t psychology all just common sense? Why don’t psychologists believe in punishment? How can psychology be a science when every person is unique? Why do psychologists compare the human brain to a machine; people aren’t machines! The course will address questions such as these to broaden the understanding of psychology as a science. Classic psychological experiments will be reviewed and students will have the opportunity to design their own research study. Students will also learn about the extensive applications of psychology to various aspects of personal life and various careers.

Instructor: Dr. L Newell

Return to Course Selection