Every Honors student is required to complete 24 Honors hours by the time of graduation. There are four primary ways to these hours: Honors Program Honors Courses, Departmental Honors Courses, Honors Contracted Courses, and Study Abroad. Additionally, students may earn Honors hours by enrolling in 800 or 900 level graduate courses.
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, discussion-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.
Occasionally, the Honors Program may offer optional UHON 289H seminars or specialized limited-credit 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.
Students may also earn Honors hours 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. Each credit hour is assigned with an expectation of 2-3 hours of thesis work per week.
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 hours 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 accumulate Honors hours, 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.
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. 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 beginning of the 6th week of the semester in which they are taking the course. Students should initiate discussions with professors early in the semester to allow enough time to fully develop contract details.
Students may receive 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 hours for Education Abroad experiences prior to Summer 2016 are 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 towards graduation for on-campus research experiences. Whether the research is associated with a for credit class or not, the time commitment for this Honors Experience must be at least 120 hours over the course of the semester.
- Internships in a student’s professional field lasting a minimum of 6 weeks to a semester, for a minimum of 120 hours over the course of the internship.
- Civic Engagement projects requiring a minimum investment of 120 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 hours, 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 99H 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 99H section when/if your experience is approved. You should be aware that 99H will be recorded as a 0 credit course on your schedule; it will not count towards the minimum needed for full time student standing but will be counted towards Honors hour requirements.
- Complete and submit a 500-600 word reflection mid-way through the experience; complete and submit a 1200-1500 word final reflection at the end of the term. (Exact dates will be determined by the Honors Program based on your dates of involvement.)
Restrictions and Limitations:
- Students are unlimited in the number of Honors Experiences they may have, but it is preferred that those experiences not all come from the same category. For example, you can have two, separate study abroad experiences, and each may count for 3 Honors hours.
- Any Honors experience covered by an Honors contract or by a 399H/499H course are not eligible for additional 99H credit. Also ineligible are any courses taken at other U.S. institutions.
- Hours earned in the summer count FORWARD in regards to total Honors hours required during each year for scholarship purposes.
For more information about earning Honors credit for Honors Experiences, please contact Honors Program faculty.