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Contract a Course for Honors Credit

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What is an "Honors Contract"?

An "Honors Contract" is a student initiated contract with a course instructor that provides UHP students the opportunity to earn Honors Credit for a departmental course that is not taught as a designated Honors section.

Honors Contracts are intended to provide UHP students with a more engaging experience that allows them to work more closely with the instructor and explore course material in a deeper and more meaningful way.  The UHP student and course instructor work together to determine appropriate Honors-level coursework specific to the course. 

The Honors Contract coursework may take a variety of forms.  It must, however, demonstrate a deeper connection to the course content. The Honors coursework is in addition to the usual, required coursework assigned in the course.  When the UHP student has satisfactorily completed the Honors coursework, the student will receive Honors credit for the course.

Online Honors Contract Submission Form

Familiarize yourself with the following Honors Contract policies and the steps provided before you initiate an Honors contract with a faculty member.  Contracting a course for Honors credit may seem like a daunting task, but it is not as complicated as it may seem.


Policies for Contracting a Course for Honors Credit  

The following policies apply to courses contracted for Honors credit. The policies may be suspended in certain situations or portioned on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Course Work:  Students must adhere to all course policies and complete all course assignments. The fact that the student is working for Honors credit does not guarantee a high grade. Final grades should reflect the quality and content of all of the student's work in the course. Engaging in an Honors Contract does not exempt the student from doing the other course assignments.
  2. Grading:  Instructors are required to determine whether the student has completed the terms of the contract by the same date grades are regularly due for the course. “Incompletes” are not permissible for Honors Contracts, unless the student has obtained prior permission from the Honors Program Director.
  3. Contracts must be submitted to the Honors Program Director within the first two weeks of the semester using the Online Honors Contract Submission Form.
  4. All Honors Contracts must be approved by the Honors Program Director.

Step 1 - Determine if the course is eligible for an Honors Contract

In-Eligible Courses (Courses that cannot be contracted for Honors credit.)

  • Courses taught by a graduate student or teaching assistant.
  • Summer courses.
  • Physical Education Activity (PEAC) courses.
  • Courses already designated as Honors sections are NOT eligible to contract in the same semester. For example, if an honors section of Statistical Reasoning (MATH 1153-H) is taught in the Fall semester, a different section of MATH 1153 taught at a different time/day during the same semester cannot be contracted.  (PDF file of regularly offered Honors Courses and Sections.)

Step 2 - Prepare to Meet with the Course Instructor

Read all of the steps for contracting before you meet with your instructor. 

Download and print the Honors Contract Process Checklist.  This PDF document is a preview of the online submission form and will help you be prepared to meet and form an Honors Contract with the course instructor. 

Download and review the Honors Contract Template.  This Word document is the actual "Honors Contract" between you and the instructor and includes useful instructions for developing the Honors coursework you will complete to earn Honors credit for the course.

Step 3 - Contact and Meet with the Course Instructor

Because contracts are due by the end of the 2nd week of the semester (the 2nd Friday of the semester), it is important that you contact and communicate with the course instructor early. 

If you know that you would like to contract a course before the semester begins, it is appropriate to send an email to the instructor to introduce yourself and express your interest in contracting the course for Honors credit. Refer the instructor to the Honors webpage for Honors Contracts. (Hint: Don’t contact the instructor during finals week, or week after finals, of the current semester!)

It is also appropriate for you to wait until the semester begins to approach the instructor about contracting the course, by email or in person.  Approach the instructor after class on the first day or attend the instructor's office hours.

If the instructor agrees to discuss contracting a course with you, set up a time to meet to determine the terms of the course contract and complete the Honors Contract Template. Be sure to bring the Honors Contract Process Checklist to the meeting with you. You should also review the online submission form in preparation.

Step 4 - Complete and Submit the Honors Contract For Approval by the Honors Director

Once you and the course instructor have reviewed the Honors Contract Process Checklist, agreed on the terms of the Honors Contract, and completed the Honors Contract Template, you are ready to submit your Honors Contract for review by the Honors Director using the online HONORS CONTRACT SUBMISSION FORM.

The Honors Director will contact both you and the instructor by email when the contract has been approved, or if the Director wants more information or clarification, revision of the contract, or has suggestions for improving the contract.

Step 5 - Check DegreeWorks to Confirm Honors Contract

After midterm of the semester, check DegreeWorks (in BengalWeb) to ensure that the course has been designated as Honors credit. Follow these steps:

  • Log into BengalWeb.
  • Click on the DegreeWorks button (icon with graduation cap and tassel).
  • Scroll down to Honors Program Core.
  • If the contracted course is not listed in the Honors Program Core, contact your Honors Advisor.

Examples Of Past Honors Contract Coursework

Contract Example - SPAN 2211 - Spanish for Health Care II (PDF)

Contract Example - EDUC 2204 - Families, Communities, Culture (PDF)

Contract Example - BIOL 2221 - Microbiology (PDF)

Ideas from past contracts include:

  • Creating a hands-on module for middle schoolers that teaches about a course topic.
  • Working in the faculty member's research lab for an agreed upon amount of time.
  • Volunteering translation services (for language classes).
  • Carrying out an independent research project.
  • Making an educational video or demonstration that can be used by the faculty/department for outreach.
  • Working to the same expectations as the 55xx students in 44xx/55xx courses.

Term Papers as Honors Contract coursework:  In most cases, we discourage term papers, however in those cases where a term paper is an appropriate Honors contract coursework the contract MUST include:

  • Intermediate deadlines for content such as outlines or annotated bibliographies.
  • A plan for communicating with the course instructor about the paper throughout the semester, whether via email, office hours, or another medium. 


List of Courses Contracted in Past Semesters

Searchable List of Past Course Contracts  Includes course name, semester, and instructor.