Honors Contract Information for Faculty

What is an honors contract? An honors contract is a mechanism for adding an "honors dimension" to a course or section that is not already an honors course. The project should add an academic dimension by introducing new material or by allowing the student to go into greater depth than normally required in some aspect of the course.

Who may supervise an honors contract? Contracts may be undertaken in courses taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty. Visiting, adjunct, clinical faculty and other instructors holding terminal degrees appropriate to the discipline may supervise honors contracts with approval from the department head and Dean of The Honors College.

How are contracts related to course grades? Students must earn a grade of A or B in the course and complete the contract project to the faculty member's satisfaction to receive honors credit for the course. The student's grade in the course should not be affected by their performance on a contract project (nor should the project consitute "extra credit" in a course), but if a student violates the university Academic Integrity Policy in their contract work, the student may earn an F! in the course as well.

How much work should a contract entail? The student should be able to complete the honors contract project with 20-25 hours of work. If the student is invited to participate in a professor's research project in a way that would involve substantially more time, it may be more appropriate to set up an independent study course instead.

What kinds of projects have students undertaken? Contracts are designed to foster creativity for both the student and the professor. Some of the most successful contracts are unique and highly inventive, especially those that incorporate a student's major field of study into a seemingly unrelated course (an art major creating an anatomical painting for a biology class or an English major exploring the way plants are used in poetry for a botany class). Other examples are:

Class presentation

Biography of a scholar in the academic field or review of additional readings (books or articles) related to the course

Original musical composition or other work of art

Research paper in an area not explored in class 

Job shadowing and reflective paper on the experience

Computer simulation or development of a hypothetical app

Interviews or research on companies or business leaders in the community

Exploring the impact of technology on design (especially in architecture or interior design)

Leading class discussions

What are the procedures and deadlines? Students need to have their contract projects determined and approved by the second week of classes.

How are honors contract results reported? When you file the student's course grade electronically, you should have the option to submit "contract complete." If this is not available, please contact the Honors College office.