How to Contract a Course for Honors Credit

Honors Contract Course

What is an Honors Contract course?

  1. Non-Honors courses can be turned into Honors courses through contracts to help satisfy Honors Program requirements
  2. Agreement between a student and a faculty member
  3. It provides an opportunity for a student to complete an independent project in a non-Honors class by further exploring related topics in an existing class

In general, honors contract courses satisfy more rigorous standards than are generally expected by the non-honors syllabus. An honors contract course should delve more deeply into the subject matter for the course addressing more sophisticated questions and methods. While the honors modifications to the course should fit within the content and intent of the course’s learning outcomes, the character and quality of the assignment should be augmented. Simply increasing the volume of work required does not constitute an honors activity; whenever possible, the honors assignments should be done as an alternative to some or all of the regular course assignments. An honors contract course should provide planned opportunities for the student to meet with the instructor to review, discuss, and revise, as needed, the honors components of the course. Before approaching an instructor with the request to make an upper-division course an honors contract course, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What do I want to get out of the honors contract experience?
  2. What do I like best about the subject matter of the course?
  3. What skills do I need for my desired profession or graduate school?

What is an honors course project content?

All honors projects should have three main components:

  • Research
  • Writing and
  • Presentation

These components are not meant to restrict the project idea. Students should be encouraged to be creative. Some of the suggestions provided through a survey by SUNY Canton faculty as to what an Honors contract course should entail are:

  1. Level of rigor that contains a significant research and writing. Outreach to –the local business community.
  2. More academically challenging
  3. Critical thinking, creative application, higher level of accountability
  4. Student given room for exploration and expression
  5. Special project, research, advanced level of thinking in the subject area
  6. More advanced coverage of course content including independent research-ability to communicate the advanced analysis or research in a paper, presentation, performance or project

Both professor and student agree to certain conditions that will allow this course to be designated as honors for this individual student. To receive honors credit, the student must earn a minimum grade of “B” in this course. Should the student earn a grade of less than B, there will be no honors designation (please see enclosed the Honors contract course sequence for more information).

Student’s rights and responsibilities:

  • To contact faculty instructors and communicate interest in “honors contract” course in a regular, non-honors course as early as possible in the semester.
  • To submit “honors contract” form by the Friday of the 2nd week of classes to honors unit office.
  • To develop a precise description of research, readings, and assignments, etc. required of the “honors contract” course in consultation with faculty instructor.
  • To complete the assignments required of the “honors contract” course in addition to the assignments required of the regular, non-honors course which are outlined in the course syllabus.
  • To be aware of university rules and regulations regarding schedule revisions which applies to honors contract courses and the honors course mode.

Faculty instructor’s rights and responsibilities:

  • To accept or decline requests to work with “honors contract” courses. Faculty instructors reserve the right to decline “honors contract “ courses for a variety of reasons including but not limited to time limitations, lack of resources, etc.
  • To develop a somewhat precise description of research, readings, and assignments, etc. required of the “honors contract” course in consultation with a student.
  • To evaluate objectively the student’s work in the course, including regular course assignments, exams detailed in course syllabus, and satisfactory completion of the honors elements.
  • To hold student accountable to “honors contract” agreement

Honors Program Director
Kelly R. Peterson, Ph.D.
Dana Hall 208