What makes honors courses special?

Faculty Observations

Dr. Joseph Bozzelli, Professor of chemistry
Students are in classes that provide a higher intellectual content. The material is at a higher level. It is presented to students expected to have the needed background , so repeated or old material from earlier course studies is omitted. While the material is at a higher level the grading distribution also accommodates for this – higher grade distributions are expected in honors courses.

Dr. Nathan Himelstein, School of Management
What makes the honors courses I am fortunate to teach is having the ability to stimulate these gifted students to be creative and become involved with projects that explore their potentiality beyond the strict boundaries of the course content.

Roy H. Cornely - Electronic Circuits I, ECE 271
The Electronic Circuits I curriculum offers two options for honors credit:

  1. Students can spend about 8 hours studying the best writings on the subject of the electrical and optical properties of semiconductors and other solid state materials. They then can apply this knowledge to learn how light emitters and photo-conductors and other sensors work. At least every two weeks they can discuss with Professor Cornely what they have learned and will be encouraged to write essays describing their new knowledge. They also can watch one or two excellent videos on the fabrication of integrated circuits, including the subjects of diffusion, photo and electron beam lithography, oxidation, thin film deposition, ion and chemical etching, and other fabrication technologies and discuss their understanding with Dr. Cornely.
  2. Students can learn to use computer simulation software (e.g. HSPICE and CAD Software Packages available from Altera Corp.) for experimentally evaluating the performance of basic digital logic and memory circuit designs. A goal is for the students to write their observations of how the important parameters of power consumption, switching speed, required chip space area, and immunity to noise are traded off when designing digital circuits. To reach this goal, students must first achieve the objective of learning how to use either HSPICE or Altera Corporation's VHDL CAD software from reading manuals and performing simple example experiments on a computer. Achieving this objective might take between 15 to 25 hours and is a significant accomplishment.

Joseph Bozzelli - Chemistry 124/125/126, General Chemistry and Lab
Chemistry 125 /12 6 Honors 3 hours credit per semester course

A significant amount of organic and bio-organic as well as some polymer chemistry is taught, which is not covered in the regular Chem. 125 course. Previous students have commented that the organic component was very good preparation for the organic chemistry course sequence. Computational chemistry projects and other similar, more advanced, yet workable, projects are included for more exposure to the many fields within the chemistry curricula.

Chem. 124 - Lab
Students perform research for part of a semester or part of a summer with one of the professors in the department of chemistry. Students are also required to learn how to write a more complete lab report in the form required by industry or technical article standards. While this requires effort; it is excellent experience, and students also have the feedback from the professor, in order to correct technical and other mistakes in the report.

Bruce Bukiet -Math 450/451H - Methods of Applied Mathematics
The Honors Math Capstone course is one offered by no more than a handful of higher education institutions in the US. In the course students perform physical experiments in the math department laboratory. Examples have included: mass-spring and pendulum experiments, electrostatic potential, gyroscopes, chemical reactions and fluid dynamics experiments. The purpose of the course is to integrate much of the students' undergraduate education and have them see how their entire undergraduate experience fits together. Specifically, the course involves performing experiments (using what they've gained from science and engineering courses), modeling them mathematically, analyzing the model equations (using the math theory they've learned), use numerical techniques to obtain quantitative results (using their numerical methods and computer skills learned at NJIT), and (during the second semester) write up the results and present the results orally (using skills learned in humanities courses). It is about using what you already know and seeing how it relates to realistic situations.

Alexandros Gerbessiotis - CIS 435H : Advanced Data Structures and Algorithm Design
CIS 435H is suitable for honors or other students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in Computer Science at any top University. Such students have the opportunity to take an early glimpse at the challenges and requirements of a graduate course on algorithms, an integral part of any graduate CS program, by satisfying the additional requirements of CIS 435H.

CIS 467H : Efficient Algorithm Design
The students who took the course recently enjoy the opportunity to program text-mining algorithms for searching a particular chromosome that had been made available through the Human Genome Project; used software packages to implement code with cryptographic applications; implemented a method for secret sharing; and practiced their programming and algorithmic skills at a level that was not available in any other undergraduate (or for that matter, graduate) course.

Joseph Skawinski - Organic Chemistry Honors
This course introduces molecular modeling in the first semester and uses student projects to demonstrate some of the fundamental concepts of organic chemistry through some complex molecules. The depth and breadth of coverage is greater than the regular courses and special topics are presented. Student questions about subjects related to concepts being discussed are given extensive consideration and such discussions are encouraged. The second semester concludes with a molecular modeling project that gives the students an opportunity to apply all they have learned to address a question that does not necessarily have a clear answer, but requires that the students build a case for their answer from the data they generate.

Joel Schesser - Biomedical Engineering - BME 310 Biomedical Computing
The method of teaching goes beyond the text book level and reaches into the details of the mathematical theories on which the signal processing algorithms and techniques are based. As a result, students are expected to get involved in the development and analysis of the topics both during the lectures and homework review. Therefore, the learning experience is more interactive for the students.

Furthermore, students are given a special assignment to model a real world biomedical Signal. Using Fourier Analysis, they model a biomedical signal such as the electrocardiogram. As part of this assignment, they must compare their model to a measurement of the actual signal in the lab. Furthermore, they comment and judge the effectiveness of this modeling exercise.