The International Honors Program is a way to satisfy your Gen Ed requirements at PLU  — but in classes that are designed to cut across different academic departments, programs, and labels.  Our classes focus on topics and problems, rather than just methods.  Each class will use a variety of intellectual approaches (economics, literature, political theory, history, comparative religion, sociology, geology, environmental studies, and many more), not just one.  In short:  in each class we use multiple lenses in order to overcome the blindness that comes from insisting upon just one.

IHON will challenge your mind, and it will challenge your assumptions!

The IHON Program

First Year: IHON 111-112

In the first year of the program, IHON 111 and 112, you’ll explore some of the great works from across the globe– works that have shaped the human conversation over many thousands of years.

During your first semester, IHON 111, you’ll explore how issues such as the order of the universe, political authority, justice and dissent, gender relations, and the human relation to nature manifested themselves in texts emerging from different peoples and regimes from the pre-modern world (ancient Egypt, Sumer, Greek city-states, the pre-Columbian Maya people, the Empire of Mali, ancient Rome, the Warring States period in China, etc.).

In your second semester, IHON 112 also engages in a dialogue with a wide variety of voices and texts from across the globe, but this time against the backdrop of the gradual emergence of a modern world-system which not only connects societies in Europe, Asia, and Africa with the Americas, but which also increasingly connects rural with urban areas, and creates global metropoles where new identities and distinctive cultures emerge.

The point in reading these works is not to know what ’x’ says — it’s to acquaint you with voices which will expand your horizons not just across cultures, but across time.


Second/Third Year: IHON 200s

After the first year, you’ll choose from courses on topics such as What is Work?, Friendship from Aristotle to Aids, Self/Other-Human/Animal, Global Climate Change, and Comparative Genealogies of Race, along with many other courses.

What distinguishes these courses from those students might take in the general education curriculum is that each engages its particular theme or topic in multiple ways, whether through different academic disciplines (such as political theory, or literary studies, or economics), or through different cultural perspectives (different countries, different languages, different traditions). For example: a course on epidemics and epidemiology might be grounded in biology, but include cultural perspectives on epidemics from history, or literature, or art.

See some recent IHON 200-level courses here.

Culminating Experience: IHON 328

Your final IHON course, IHON 328, is a culminating course in which you bring together a wide variety of voices and texts from around the globe to wrestle with complex contemporary social problems that are of interest to you personally.

You have the opportunity to put together the frameworks of knowledge – international, transhistorical, and interdisciplinary analysis – introduced in 111-112 along with the content and disciplines you explored across your 200-level courses, and you use these to evaluate multiple different responses to social problems, and to develop your own positions and your own commitments.

PLU Student Perspectives:

Elana on PLU's Honors Program


Multidisciplinary approaches, historical and internationally focused study, intentional intellectual formation and ethical reflection, and the establishment of a cohesive learning community.

Oxford Program

The Oxford program is designed for PLU Honor students to study away at Oxford University.


Get your general and class specific International Honors questions answered.

IHON in the News

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