Earning Honors Credit

Every Honors student is required to complete 24 hours of Honors credit by the time of graduation. There are four primary ways to earn Honors Credit: Honors Program Honors Courses, Departmental Honors Courses, Honors Contracted Courses, and Study Abroad.

Honors Program Honors Courses

Freshman Seminar 189H courses are small class sections of 20-25 students focused on an area about which the course’s professor is passionate. Since courses are taught in a seminar format, students are active and engaged participants on a daily basis, sharing their ideas and perspectives. All Honors freshman seminars meet general education (ACE) requirements. See individual course descriptions for specifics. See a full list of the current semester’s Freshman Seminars.

Junior/Senior Seminar 395H courses are small, discusion-based sections of 12-15 students who together explore the course’s topic in depth and from a variety of viewpoints. Honors students must take one 395H course, generally during the third or fourth year, and they may take more than one, as space allows. All 395H sections meet general education (ACE) requirements. See a full list of the current semester’s Junior/Senior Seminars.

In addition to the required seminars, Honors Program students may choose from a variety of optional UHON 289H seminars, which offer additional opportunities to accumulate Honors credit and take advantage of the unique learning environment of an Honors course. The Honors Program also offers specialized limited-credit courses each semester as UHON 198H, which may be offered as zero-credit, one-credit, or two-credit courses. Examples include English Conversation Partners, EN Thompson Scholars, Charting Your Path in Honors, and Starting Your Honors Thesis/Senior Project. See details about the current semester’s 198H sections.

After-class selfie with Dr. Berger
After-class selfie with Dr. Berger

Students may also earn Honors credit while writing their thesis or working on their senior project, by registering for Honors thesis credit through their department (often listed as 399H or 499H) or through the Honors Program by registering for UHON 499H. This is a variable-credit course, which means students may register from one credit to six credits. For each degree, no more than six hours of thesis writing may be completed for credit.

Dr. Lyon's class
Honors classes offer small, seminar formats

Departmental Honors Courses

Several departments offer courses with an “H” designation (indicating the course is taken for Honors Credit) each semester. Some of the sections enroll only Honors students, and some sections enroll both Honors and non-Honors students, with different requirements for students earning Honors credit. See each semester’s course offerings in MyRed for specifics.

Honors Contracted Courses

Completing an Honors Contract allows students to receive Honors credit for a non-Honors class in which they are enrolled. The contract is an individual agreement between an Honors student and the course’s professor. Usually contracts involve expanding an existing course project, developing an additional project for the course, or in some way applying knowledge and skills learned in the course outside of the classroom (more examples here). The Honors Contract process is one of the most popular ways to earn Honors credit, as it offers significant opportunity for students to customize their educational experience. Further, the Honors Contact allows students to develop projects or practice skills that support future goals, such as working toward the Honors thesis/senior project, preparing for graduate or professional school, or showcasing abilities for the professional job search.

Most faculty and departments are very willing to work with students in this endeavor. However, it is essential to remember that when a student approaches a faculty member about contracting a course, the student is asking the faculty member for a considerable amount of time and energy above and beyond the faculty member’s normal duties. Faculty receive no compensation but the joy of working with Honors students. Most faculty are happy to participate in the contracting process, but the Honors Program asks students to be mindful that faculty are volunteering their time and to be courteous in all communication and be prompt in meeting deadlines. This will enhance the individual contracting experience, as well as ensure continued opportunities for future Honors students to contract courses.

To contract a course, students need to submit the Honors Contract Form by the 6th week of the semester in which they are taking the course. Students should start discussions with professors early in the semester to allow enough time to fully develop contract details.

Honors Experiences

Beginning in Summer 2016, students may receive a substitution of 3 Honors hours for a qualified, pre-approved, co-curricular Honors Experience from the following categories: 

  • Education Abroad experiences for which a student is earning at least 3 credit hours. (Any Honors credit for Education Abroad experiences prior to Summer 2016 is still valid. An Education Abroad experience occurring Summer 2016 or later must be pre-approved via the Honors Experience pre-approval form.)
  • Undergraduate research/creative activity for a period of one academic semester or summer in an approved setting on campus, or a documented formal off-campus research experience. Note: when possible, we encourage you to enroll in already available courses (usually a 299H, 399H, or 499H class) to earn credit for on-campus research experiences.
  • Internships in a student’s professional field lasting a minimum of 6 weeks to a semester, approximately 12-30 hours/week
  • Civic Engagement projects requiring a minimum of 50 working hours in a semester. These are substantial projects outside of an RSO (Recognized Student Organization) volunteer experience in which the student is engaged off- campus with a community agency or in which the student has taken significant leadership initiative.

In order to apply such experiences towards a student’s required Honors credit, students must:

  • Submit a pre-approval form at least 4 weeks prior to the start of the experience along with the appropriate documentation to confirm your participation.
  • Register for UHON 98H during the term of your experience in one of these categories: Study Abroad, Research, Internship, or Civic Engagement. You will be provided with specifics on the UHON 98H section when/if your experience is approved. 
  • Complete and submit a 2-page reflection mid-way through the experience; complete and submit a 5-page reflective paper two weeks before your experience ends.  (Exact dates will be determined by Renae Oestmann based on your dates of involvement.)

Restrictions and Limitations:

  • Students are limited to a MAXIMUM OF TWO Honors Experiences, but those experiences may come from the same category.  For example, you can have two, separate study abroad experiences, and each may count for one Honors Experience. 
  • Because these experiences substitute for Honors credit, any Honors experience that can be covered by an Honors contract or by a 399H/499H course are not eligible.  Also ineligible are any courses taken at other U.S. institutions.
  • Remember, hours earned in the summer count FORWARD in regards to total credit hours and Honors hours earned during each year for scholarship purposes.

For more information about earning Honors credit for Honors Experiences, please contact Renae Oestmann.

Honors student studying abroad
Earn Honors credit for Studying Abroad

Submit a pre-approval form