Honors College Contract Courses

Honors contract courses are traditional university courses that are tailored to meet honors requirements by requiring work that is above and beyond the normal expectations of the course. Contract courses are typically upper-level courses in a student’s major or minor department and require a proposal narrative to be developed, describing the honors component which will be added to the course.

As an important element of the Honors College curriculum, contract courses may lend themselves to a variety of learning goals:

  • Interdisciplinary Knowledge
  • Experiential Learning
  • Lifelong Independent Learning
  • Mentorship Experience
  • Community-Oriented Learning
  • Innovative Approaches to Course Material
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Preparation for Senior Project
  • Career Preparation
  • Leadership Development

Contract courses may take many forms. Some examples are:

  • Assignments that extend student learning beyond regular course expectations.
  • Assignments/experiences that add complexity to existing coursework.
  • Substantial faculty-student interaction outside the classroom.
  • Additional research opportunities or projects under the professor's guidance.
  • Involvement in co-curricular events such as conferences, lectures, performances, service-learning, job shadowing, or other activities.

Process for proposing and completing a contract course:

  1. Once the syllabus is available, the student reviews the course content and brainstorms ways in which the course could be enhanced to pursue their academic, professional and/or personal goals and interests.
  2. Student discusses possibilities with faculty member.
  3. Student develops a written proposal narrative for the contract course in consultation with the faculty member.
    • The proposal narrative should be 200-300 words and should describe your plan for the contract course. Be as specific as possible. Explain what you will learn and how the work will enhance the learning goals of the course. Discuss how the work will benefit you academically, professionally, and/or personally. Describe what a successfully completed project will look like.
  4. Student submits the proposal via this online form.
  5. Dean of the Honors College reviews the proposal and requests the approval of the faculty member (revisions may be requested).
  6. At the end of the term, the student must have completed the contract work to the satisfaction of the faculty member and earned a B or above in the course to receive honors credit.

Evaluation of contract courses

How evaluation of the work within their course will be handled is up to the discretion of the individual instructor. Many faculty treat the contract course work as a non-graded, additional element of their course. The Honors College applies honors credit for the course if the instructor deems the work satisfactory and the student earns a B or better in the course.


Proposals must be submitted before the end of the fourth week of fall or spring semester-long courses, and before the end of the first week of summer term or 8-week courses.