Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program

Evelyn Spratt, Ph.D., Director

Learn to Live

The Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program is designed to meet the needs and interests of Women's College students of outstanding academic ability and high motivation. The goal is to provide opportunities for students to experience the same challenge and excitement in education that Elizabeth Morrissy encouraged throughout her distinguished 40-year career as a professor of History, Political Science and Economics at the Notre Dame.

Morrissy courses are designed to create small learning communities of scholars exploring a topic together and enjoying the pleasure of mutual discovery and intellectual stimulation. Some courses are offered within specific disciplines and may meet general education requirements. Other courses are interdisciplinary and become electives within the student's Program of Study. Drawn from a variety of departments, Morrissy courses promote the integration of knowledge which offers new insights into students' learning. Through the Program's research, internship, service, leadership and collaborative opportunities, students are empowered to use their knowledge to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of others.

Students become Morrissy scholars by invitation or recommendation.

Students applying to NDMU will be invited to apply to the program based on their credentials in their applications.

A current NDMU student can become a Morrissy scholar with the recommendation of a NDMU professor. At mid-semester, the director of the honors program seeks recommendations from professors to nominate any current Notre Dame student. If the students meet the criteri, she is invited to apply.

All applications are reviewed by the Morrissy Advisory Council. Admitted students receive a letter of acceptance in the mail.

Students must register for at least one honors course per year and take six honors courses during their four years at the University. All first year Morrissy students complete the Honors NDMU-100 class together in the fall. In the spring of the first year, Morrissy students enroll in a second honors course with the Director. Those who are enrolled in "3/2" programs with other institutions or who spend a semester or year studying overseas need to complete a minimum of 5 honors courses. Transfer students from an honors program may transfer nine honors credits. Transfer students with an AA degree from a community college without an honors program need to complete a minimum of 4 honors courses. Three credits of honors work may be taken as an independent study with the approval of the sponsoring faculty member and the Morrissy director. Students that participate in a study abroad experience may also apply to have that experience count towards an honors course. Students are expected to maintain a 3.3 overall average and a B average in honors courses to remain in the Program. Honors courses cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis. The Director reviews the records of Morrissy scholars at the end of each semester.

Morrissy scholars receive recognition in various ways. Honors courses are so designated on student transcripts. Completion of the program is noted on scholars' final transcripts and diplomas and in the Commencement program. Students in the Morrissy Program are also recognized publicly at Notre Dame's annual Honors Convocation. Students in the Program enjoy the special benefits of the Mildred Otenasek Honors House, which stands as a symbol of the Program and serves as a gathering place for social, academic and program activities.

In addition to special courses, Morrissy scholars have access to a variety of honors activities. Each semester, the director hosts a dinner for Morrissy scholars and honors faculty. Each year, the Honors Program sponsors off-campus trips to museums and performing arts events. Every few years, a select number of Morrissy scholars receive a stipend to participate in a study abroad program. Morrissy scholars often serve the University during programs planned for prospective students visiting campus as well as at lecture series or cultural events offered for the Notre Dame community and the general public. Morrissy scholars engage in community service projects and volunteer in local service opportunities as well. Members of the Morrissy Honors Student Executive Board assist the Morrissy director in making plans for the program.

The Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program maintains memberships in the National Collegiate Honors Council, the Northeast Regional Honors Council, and the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council. Morrissy scholars regularly participate in honors conferences through poster and paper presentations.

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ART-279 Honors: Concepts in Visual Aesthetics

Introduces new ideas and concepts stemming from a particular period and/or movement in society, becoming the "fireworks" that stir the artistic spirit to react to those ideas consciously, vibrantly, intuitively and with unique creativity. This class will use audio-visuals, readings and shared dialog to examine works of art and varied aesthetic concepts. It will address the artist as a gendered translator of history, as a visionary, and as a social documentarian within the context of significant periods in Western art. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills the General Education Requirement in Fine Arts. [3 credits]

BIO-239 Genetics

Considers the mechanisms by which biological information is stored, accessed, and passed on from one generation to the next from both Mendelian and molecular genetic perspectives. Introduces basic techniques of molecular biology such as bacterial transformations, gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing and sequencing analysis. Includes the use of online databases such as Pub Med and sequence analysis tools such as BLAST. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-111 and CHM-110, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ] 

COM-329 Honors: Women in Mass Communication History

Engages students in an historical-critical study of the role of women in the communication fields of broadcasting, journalism, public relations and advertising. Surveys their contributions as practitioners and the challenges they have met as part of the professional media culture. Opportunities to meet women working in the media and to participate in an oral history project. Fulfills general education requirement in history and gender studies. [3 credits]

ECO-220 Honors: Economics and Contemporary Issues

Applies economic principles and methodologies to the decision-making process of individuals, businesses and governments. Evaluates current political, social and economic events using basic economic theories and principles. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in social science. [3 credits]

ECO-330 Honors: Food Safety Risk Analysis

Analyzes the extent and significance of food-borne diseases in the United States and around the world. Examines the most important hazards to food safety, including food additives and pesticides, microbial hazards, irradiation, and food defense as well as science-based solutions to their management. Considers the interdisciplinary risk analysis paradigm as a modern approach to food safety systems in considerable detail. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

ENG-251 Honors: Ethnic American Literature

Studies works by writers of different ethnic groups in 20th century America, with emphasis on African-American, Asian-American, Jewish-American, Native-American and Latino/a writings. The course will provide interdisciplinary approaches to literature; readings will come from several literary genres, including novels, short stories and poetry, but students will also read theory and criticism relevant to recent work in ethnic studies. The course will teach students to read and write about literature, and it will introduce many of the important works of 20th century American minority literature. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirements in literature and cross-cultural studies. [3 credits]

ENG-313 Honors: Thomas Hardy: Novelist and Poet

Provides an in-depth study of English writer Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). Hardy is known as a Victorian novelist and a modern poet; his work thus crosses literary (generic) and historical boundaries. Hardy wrote 14 novels, 50 short stories, roughly 1,000 poems, one epic drama, seven volumes of published letters, an auto-biography, and a number of essays on literary and sociological topics. Students will read selected novels and poems as we trace Hardy's career and examine literary topics such as serial publication, the circulating library, and censorship, along with themes such as the Victorian "Woman Question," the part-real, part-invented land of Wessex, social class, law, and the "ache of modernism" in his later novels. Students will engage in primary (letters, notebooks, etc.) and secondary (critical) research as they explore these and other topics in two research projects during the semester. The course emphasizes the process of writing a research paper. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in literature. [3 credits]

ENG-324 Honors: The Irish "Troubles": Literature, History and Film

Examines, from a variety of perspectives, the Irish "Troubles;" that is, the violent political conflicts between Irish and English in the early 20th century and between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in the late 20th century. Explores literary and cinematic treatments of the conflict and compares them with historical accounts in order to arrive at a better under-standing of the "Troubles." Students will discuss the treatment of the "Troubles" in the plays of Sean O'Casey and Brian Friel, the poetry of W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, the fiction of Frank O'Connor, Liam O'Flaherty, Eugene McCabe and others, and the memoir, Guerilla Days in Ireland by Tom Barry. Students will also view several films, including "Michael Collins" and "Bloody Sunday." Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

ENG-347 Hrs: "New Woman" Literature

This course will examine selections from the body of writing known as New Woman literature in England during the 1880s and 1890s, along with selected works from American and European writers. New Woman novels, essays, and plays address what was called "the Woman Question" and its primary issues, e.g., women's independence, the "nature" of women, women's roles and responsibilities, the effects of women's independence, sexual relations and gender differences. The course will follow the development of the New Woman character and will examine common conflicts and themes among the various representative works. Prerequisite: Morrissy Scholar or permission. Fulfills General Education requirement in literature and gender studies. 3 credits.

ENG-440 Hrs:Women and/as Monsters in Literature and Culture

Requires students to examine, in a seminar format, the interdisciplinary topic of women and/as monsters in literature and culture. Women's writings, as well as women writers themselves, have historically been viewed as "monstrous"; this course investigates the notion of monstrous women, as well as women writing about monsters, by examining both female- and male-authored, canonical and non-canonical, literary and non-literary texts, primarily but not exclusively from the past two centuries. Prerequisites: Morrissy Scholar or permission. Fulfills general education in literature and gender studies. [ 3 credits ]

HIS-200 Hrs: To Break the Killing Machine: Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Genocide

Examines the nature, causes and consequences of genocide in order to understand the possibilities and challenges of preventing genocidal violence in the future. The course introduced students to the controversies surrounding the definition and analysis of genocide. It begins with the contested question of what constitutes genocide, and how genocide stands apart from other forms of mass violence such as ethnic cleansing and massacres. The course then considers several approaches to theorizing the causes of genocide. In addition, we analyze the challenges of identifying potentially genocidal situations before the killing begins and of intervening to prevent and stop genocides. The course also studies processes of reconciliation in societies that have experienced, or teetered on, the brink of genocide. Using scholarly texts, works of fiction and films, we explore issues of causation, intervention and healing in cases including the colonial genocides of indigenous populations, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Iraqi Kurds and Darfur. Ultimately, the course asks students to decide whether genocide is an inevitable scourge of the human condition or a tragic aberration that humanly has the power to transcord. [3 credits] Fulfills General Education Requirement: History

HIS-352 Honors: Educating Women in the United States

Examines women's education from the colonial period through the mid-20th century. Pays particular attention to the contributions of key educators and on the ways race, class, ethnicity and gender shaped decisions about who was to be educated, by whom, and for what purpose. Assesses contemporary issues in women's education. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills the general education requirements in history and gender studies. [3 credits]

HIS-402 Women, War and Peace

Examines the wartime experiences of women. Addresses question of how perceptions of women and "female nature" inform attitudes about women's wartime roles. Uses historical monographs, literature, art and film to examine and evaluate the relationship between war and gender. Also assesses women's role in the international peace movement. Fulfills general education requirements in history and gender studies. [ 3 credits ].

IDS-172 Honors: The Axial Age: Philosophy of East and West

Considers the new ways of thought that emerged in the ancient Near East, Greece, India and China during the first millennium B.C. ("the axial age"). Thinkers reconsidered basic areas of concern-the transcendent, human nature, the family, society, government, knowledge, the past and death-in relation to the pre-existing culture. For example, this re-interpretation of tradition led to the rise of Biblical Judaism in the Near East; classical philosophy in Greece; the Upanishads and Buddhism in India; and Confucianism and Daoism in China. In this seminar, students discuss the thought of the "axial age," compare ideas across civilizations and learn how to write philosophical essays. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in 200 level philosophy. [3 credits]

IDS-231 Honors: The Science of Science Fiction

Considers science fiction as a literature of ideas-the ideas of modern science. Selects contemporary science fiction writers and film makers in order to gain a perspective on the development of a fiction of scientific ideas and a prophecy of future technological change. Employs reading, film and the campus planetarium. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

IDS-271 Honors: Romanticism: The Beautiful Infinite

Analyzes seminal works of the 19th century Romantic movement in the fields of art and music. The relatedness of the two forms is revealed through discovery of common themes running through works of the Romantic period-the emancipation of the individual, the love of nature, nationalism, and fondness for the fantastic and the exotic. Common qualities of expression found among the two art forms during the period also emerge, providing a holistic sense of the intellectual and artistic atmosphere of the times. Opportunities for visits to museums, concerts, and theatre or opera performances are provided. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in fine arts. [3 credits]

IDS-369 Honors: Genethics

Provides students with the opportunity to understand and evaluate various religious and philosophical positions and arguments on a range of contemporary moral issues related to biotechnology. Explores the science of genetics and its application to the fields of biology, technology and medicine. Examines selected topics in the ethics of genetic testing, research, drugs and therapy. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission; RST-201. Fulfills general education requirements for 300/400 level religious studies and values. [3 credits]

IDS-373 Honors: Cosmos and Creation: Religion and Science

Explores the relationship between religion and science as bodies of knowledge, modes of inquiry, and ways of knowing. Examines the complex history of science and religion as social institutions in various degrees of cooperation and tension. Areas of inquiry will include theology, spirituality, scientific theories, and philosophy of science, as well as the intersection of these areas at key historical moments such as the Copernican revolution, natural selection, and the development of quantum physics. Prerequisite: RST 201. Fulfills general education requirement for 300/400 level religious studies. [3 credits]

IDS-374 Hrs: Gaming and Society

Gaming and Society explores gaming's
intersections with themes such as art, economics,
history, culture, race, media, training, and
gender. Learners will critically examine,
analyze, and discuss gaming and its many facets
as they perform scholarly research and analyze
games and their narratives for cultural and
societal significance. They will also cultivate
next-generation skills such as creativity,
problem-solving, collaboration, communication,
and multimedia production as they collaboratively
develop their own game premise and present both
written and oral professional-quality proposals
to industry experts. Prerequisite: Women's
College Morrissy Honors program. Junior/Senior
[ 3 credits ]

IDS-378 Honors: The Holocaust

Explores the roots of anti-Semitism and the rise to power of the Nazis. Considers the development of the German policies toward the Jews, from economic discrimination to planned extermination, the fate of Jews in various countries under German control, and the possibility of resistance and opportunities for rescue. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

IDS-471 Honors: Politics and Ethics of War and Peace

Explores war and peace through an examination of historical conflicts, social science explanations, ethical positions and alternative peace proposals. Considers 20th century conflicts and alternative explanations of war, and the individual, state and international levels. Compares and contrasts ethical positions from several religious and philosophical traditions. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission and RST-201. Fulfills general education requirements in 300/400 religious studies, values, and history. [3 credits]

IDS-479 Honors: Philosophy Through Literature

Takes a fresh look at traditional philosophical problems using classic philosophical texts and literary works that deal with common issues. Considers the questions: What is self? Is there an answer to the problem of evil? Are our actions free or determined? Are there any objective moral values? Is the material world real? Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in 300/400 level philosophy. [3 credits]

LCO-378 Honors: From Homer to Star Wars: The Epic Tradition in Western Literature

Traces the evolution of the epic as a literary genre transcending national and cultural boundaries. Epics from Homer and Virgil through the romance epics will be analyzed, culminating in a study of epic characteristics in Star Wars. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

MUS-243 Honors: A Musical Mosaic

Focuses on representative musical compositions and related works of art in Western and non-Western cultures. An exploration of the varied elements which, through individual creativity, hold parts (not always compatible) together to form the sound structure which becomes the osaic that is music. Develops the aural sense of formal structure and the visual sense of sound. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in fine arts. [3 credits]

PHL-301 Honors: The Mind-Body Problem

Introduces students to the problematic nature of the statement "our minds control our bodies." Identifies the philosophical and psychological assumptions underlying this statement. Examines the contradictions and unrecognized implications of these assumptions. Explores alternative accounts of what is known, in philosophy and psychology, as mind-body interaction, including accounts that deny the existence of mind, and/or provides alternative models. Prerequisites: IDS-172 or PHL-201 and PSY-101. Fulfills general education requirement in philosophy. [3 credits]

PHL-376 Honors: Human Flourishing: Ancient Perspectives, Contemporary Interpretation

Requires students to examine, in a seminar format, the representations of human flourishing presented in Ancient philosophy and literature. Ancient texts, such as, Plato's dialogues, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and Greek tragedies present myriad understandings of the relationship between moral goodness, luck, and human flourishing. These topics will be studied with a focus on primary texts, hand in hand with contemporary philosophical writings on relevant themes. Prerequisite: Morrissy Scholar or permission and 200-level philosophy course. Fulfills general education requirement in upper-level philosophy. [ 3 credits ]

PHL-471 Honors: Morals and Mortality: Ethics of Exiting

Considers the structure and foundations of morality with special emphasis on ethical problems related to death and dying. Prerequisite: PHL-201, Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in philosophy and values. [3 credits]

PHY-101 General Physics I

Studies the fundamental physical laws of nature and their use in understanding natural phenomena. Course provides a knowledge base for study in all areas of science and mathematics. Topics include kinematics, dynamics of motion, Newton's laws, rotational mechanics and conservation of energy and momentum. Development of the concepts of vector algebra and calculus are provided as needed. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory weekly. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. [4 credits]

POL-370 Hrs: Model Organization of American States (OAS)

Prepares students to participate in the Model Organization of American States (Model OAS) competition, which takes place at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the spring. A team of 10 Notre Dame students, representing an assigned country, debates other colleges and universities from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean on issues such as democratization, regional integration, poverty, environmental problems and human rights issues. In addition to becoming familiar with hemispheric issues, students learn leadership, cooperation, persuasion and diplomatic skills. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar and permission. Fulfills general education requirement in social science and cross-cultural studies. [3 credits]

PSY-371 Hrs:Women and Her Symbols

Explores symbols and symbolism related to women through interdisciplinary lenses of psychology, philosophy, literature, politics, sociology, religious and cultural traditions, and art.  Students will critically examine, analyze, and discuss the use of symbols in understanding women from psychological and spiritual perspectives. The use of symbols will be explored through theories, scientific evidence, cultural and religious rituals, art, and literature. Students will complete an integrative project. Prerequisite: Morrissey Scholar or permission from instructor and Morrissey Program Director. Fulfills gender studies requirement. [3 credits]

RST-471 Honors: Theological Investigations

Engages students in the exploration of current scholarship about a person, event or topic of religious or theological significance. The topic for spring 2013 will be Catholic Women Theologians. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement for 300/400 level religious studies. [3 credits]

SOC-271 Honors: Sociology of Gender Roles

An analysis of the social sources and psychological mechanisms that shape gender role differentiation. Special attention will be given to the political, ideological behavior and social construction of gender. Historical and cross-cultural data will be used to demonstrate patterns of inequality. The psychological and social impact of gender inequality will be examined. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirements in social science and gender studies. [3 credits]

SOC-371 Honors: Social Problems

Considers how social conditions come to be defined as social problems. Reviews causes and theoretical explanations for their origins and possible interventions to resolve social problems. Topics include substance abuse, family violence, environmental issues, discrimination, crime and terrorism. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]