Honors Contracts

What is an honors contract?

An honors contract is an instructional agreement whereby a student can earn honors credit through enrichment of a standard, non-honors course (3-credit minimum).  The student and faculty member work together to identify the specific requirements for the honors contract.  If the course and additional requirements are successfully completed, an Honors designation will appear after the course title on the student's academic record.

The following guidelines may be helpful in planning an honors contract:

The honors contract option is intended to provide intellectual challenge and growth for students with high ability and a strong desire to learn.  An honors contract should not necessarily involve a greater quantity of work than in a standard course but rather work that is qualitatively different.  Typically, honors work involves exploratory learning, collaborative projects, interdisciplinary themes, primary research, practical applications of concepts and skills.  Thus, writing a longer paper or an extra paper usually would not suffice by itself for an honors contract.  Writing a longer paper that requires more in-depth primary research might qualify.  Similarly, doing extra problems in a math course would not suffice, but doing more sophisticated problems or developing a computer program to solve problems might be appropriate.

Students and faculty are encouraged to think creatively in planning honors contracts.  For example, in some cases work on campus or in the community might satisfy the honors contract requirement.  Helping faculty do research or develop a new course, preparing science exhibits, organizing a community awareness campaign, solving a civic problem - activities such as these may be excellent for honors contracts.

All activities should relate clearly to the course in which the student is enrolled.

Usually, the student will still complete all regular course activities.  If the contract activities are to replace the standard ones, this should be explained on the proposal form.  Successful completion of the agreement is recognized by the honors course designation on the student's academic record.  Failure to complete the agreement should not, in itself, lower a student's grade as long as other course work is satisfactory.

Who is eligible for an honors contract option?

Any student who meets the eligibility requirements for taking honors courses may submit a contract proposal.

Applying and receiving credit for an honors contract:

A completed proposal should be submitted to Dr. Pamela A.R. Blakely, Honors Program Coordinator, early in the term and will not be accepted after the fourth week of the term.  The student has full responsibility for seeking the necessary approvals identified on the proposal form.

The student must request the instructor's agreement to an honors contract.  Faculty members are free to decline such proposals, so students are encouraged to seek faculty support prior to registration.  Either the student or the faculty member may request the honors committee's approval of the proposal.  However, the student is responsible for ensuring that the form is submitted to the Honors Program office (Y-105) by the deadline.

The original contract will be placed in the student's permanent file in the Records Office (B107).  At the end of the term, the faculty member will certify that the terms of the contract have been satisfactorily completed by signing the bottom portion of the proposal.  The registrar will then enter the "Honors" designation after the course title on the student's transcript.  Honors options are subject to the standard College policies on incompletes.

For more information: Contact Dr. Pamela A.R. Blakely, Honors Program Coordinator
610-372-4721 (ext. 5452)