Contracting Courses for Honors Credit

Honors course contracts take a variety of forms, appropriate to individual course content and the discipline in which the course is taught. While we believe that faculty are in the best position to determine that the amount and level of work in a particular contract constitutes Honors quality, we are available to answer questions and help faculty through this process.

Contracting Process

When students approach faculty members about contracting a course for Honors credit, they should bring some ideas about ways they might earn Honors credit in a non-Honors course. Faculty are encouraged to help students identify work for Honors credit that helps advance the student toward graduation, career, or personal goals. Please see some common examples of Honors contract projects below.

In addition to identifying the scope, format, and details of the project, the faculty member and student should discuss timelines and expectations for their interactions and for the project’s completion. The project should be completed during the semester the course is offered. Ideally, the student and faculty member should have more contact than would be normal in the class, as interchange of ideas between student and faculty is extremely important. For this reason, online courses are ineligible for contracting.

Step 1
Ideally, students should approach faculty members early in the semester for permission to contract the course for Honors credit. The student should have some suggestions for what type of project s/he might complete to earn Honors credit.
Step 2
The student and faculty member should discuss the projects, topic, scope and format, and timeline for completion, reaching an agreement. The project should be completed during the term in which the course is offered.
Step 3
The student will submit an Honors Contract form, which includes the project details upon which the student and faculty member have agreed. Forms are due by the 6th week of the fall and spring semesters, and the 1st week during a summer session course.
Step 4
When the contract form is processed, the faculty member will receive an email with the information that the student submitted. If the faculty member has concerns or sees discrepancies between the information in the email and the information discussed with the student, the faculty member should contact Dr. Tamy Burnett in the Honors Program office.
Step 5
The student completes the contracted work. If the student fails to do so, or the work submitted is not of sufficient quality to earn Honors credit, the faculty member should contact Dr. Tamy Burnett in the Honors Program office to have the annotation for Honors credit removed from the student’s transcript.

Sample Honors Contract Projects

This is far from an exhaustive list of all possible projects that might earn Honors credit by contract. We hope it serves as a range of examples to help faculty and students think about possible options that best serve individual students’ needs, strengths, and goals. To earn Honors credit via a contract, the student might:

  • Prepare an in-depth critical term paper on a topic relevant to the course.
  • Compose a review or a critical essay on a book or articles selected by the faculty member on a relevant topic chosen by the student. For example, such a review might expose the student to a particular critical lens related to the course’s discipline or to complex issues that build upon the course’s curriculum.
  • Become involved in the professor’s research in limited, yet significant ways.
  • Prepare a series of in-class presentation on topics that expand upon the course’s primary content.
  • Present a formal seminar related to the course materials, open to the department offering the course.
  • Design computer aids to classroom instruction, a website, an app, or similar related to the course content, if the student is technologically proficient.
  • Present on a topic related to the course at local elementary, middle, or secondary schools, to afterschool program, boy/girl scout troops, etc.
  • Prepare and present research at a regional undergraduate conference.
  • Attend departmental colloquia or presentations by faculty or advanced graduate students and write an evaluative summary of the presentations, drawing connections to course materials.
  • Complete problem sets relevant to the course that are more difficult or thought provoking and which delve more deeply into the course’s material than the regular class meetings and assignments.
  • Extend the scope of laboratory assignment(s) associated with the course to explore areas not covered in the regular course section.
  • Prepare a creative project that reflects the nature of the class, drawing on skills from the fine or performing arts.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data beyond the parameters of the regular class section.