Humanities Track


The Humanities Honors Track provides an exploration of the interdisciplinary relations between literature, history, and philosophy. It is open to students from all majors in the University who wish to enrich their major field of study with this broader cultural context or who enjoy the life of the mind in reading, discussing and writing about ideas.

The Humanities Track provides a direction for the examination of human, social, and universal nature that connects with the social and natural science but that also has its own value. Drawing from the realms of literature, art, music, philosophy, history, languages, and religion, this track allows the student to examine a wide variety of human ideas, actions, values, and creative productions from Classical Greece to our current Modern and Post-Modern era.

Like other Tracks, the Humanities Honors Track functions like a minor in the student’s curriculum, providing a distinct set of courses to enrich the student’s major and the general university experience. The initial work in the Track focuses upon foundational ideas and themes in Western culture, while the research projects encompass whatever culture(s) that suits the student’s interests. Many students have explored the culture of their ancestors, as others have looked at Greek poetry or modern jazz.

Students complete a year-long Seminar (Seminars 1 & 2) examining the connections between literature, history, and philosophy in Western culture and then take one Colloquium limited to one cultural period, such as Classical Greece and Rome, Medieval, Enlightenment, or Contemporary. The culmination of the study is the year-long research and thesis project usually in the senior year, offering the opportunity to work independently with the guidance of a selected faculty member.

The completion of this project provides not only a fitting expression of the student’s college accomplishments, but also a valuable representation of their abilities for graduate school and future employers. There are courses available for both daytime and evening students. 


The Track is Ideal For:

  • Students of all majors
  • Students who enjoy reading, discussing, and writing about ideas




All students take TWO of the following four Seminars:

Humanities Honors Seminar I (HUMH 1990)

Representations of Humanity Past and Present

Humanities Honors Seminar II (HUMH 2000)

Representations of Humanity Past and Present

Humanities Honors Seminar III (HUMH 2010)-Evening

Humanities and Technology in Today’s World

Humanities Honors Seminar IV (HUMH 2020)-Evening

Representations of Humanities through Historical Perspectives 

Plus ONE of the following four Colloquia: 

The 20th Century and Its Discontents (HUMH 3000)

The Enlightenment: Origins of Modern Consciousness (HUMH 3010)

Medieval and Renaissance Culture (HUMH 3020)

Classical Tradition and Christian Civilization (HUMH 3030)

Plus TWO semester to research and write their thesis: 

Humanities Honors Thesis Seminar I (HUMH 4010)


Humanities Honors Thesis Seminar II (HUMH 4020)



What projects have students completed in the past? 

Students in the Humanities Track have produced a wide variety of theses, some titles are included here: Transplanting El Cactus: From Mexican to Latino, Allegory in the Poetry of William Blake as the Answer to the Physical/Spiritual Duality, Walden: Transcendentalism and the American Dream, Holy Mother Church: Anti-Catholic Satire in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, total Quality Management’s Impact on Human Behavior, What it Means to Be Human, and Sweetest Tongues as the Sharpest Tooth: The Evolution of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.


How do I enroll?

To enroll in the Humanities Honors Track, contact the Director, Dr. John Peterman, at (973) 720-3030 or at You could also contact Jan Pinkston at (973) 720-3776 or at pinkstonj@wpunj,edu. A completed track application must also be submitted to the Honors College. 

About the Track Director:

Dr. John Peterman got his Ph.D. in 1980 from the Pennsylvania State University. He is interested in ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Plato), American pragmatism (particularly Dewey). He teaches courses in Ancient Philosophy , Plato, Aristotle, environmental Ethics, and Life Science Ethics. He coordinates the Humanities Honors Track. He is also an avid hiker and has successfully completed the New York City Marathon three times (best time: 4:15).