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Contracting Courses

What does it mean to contract a course?

In a course contract, a student chooses one of their non-Honors courses and works with their professor to create an additional project the student will work on to make the course count for Honors credit

Course contracts can be created for courses that are at the 200 level or above that are taught by faculty. Courses at the 100 level and courses taught by graduate students are not typically eligible for Honors contracts. Course contracts must receive approval from the Honors College. 

If a student feels that their 100 level course may be appropriate for a course contract, they should contact the Assistant Dean to discuss prior to submitting a contract application. Only exceptional contracts for 100 level courses will be considered.

Why contract a course?

Some students choose to contract a course because they cannot find an Honors course they are interested in that fits the rest of their schedule. Students may also choose to contract a course because the topic is of particular interest to them.

How do you contract a course?

  1. Choose a course. The course should be a 200, 300 or 400 level class taught by faculty. If the course is taught by a graduate student, then the student wishing to contract the course must work with the supervising faculty member for that course on their contract. When choosing a course, please note that the grade and number of credits you receive for the course itself will be factored in to your Honors GPA.
  2. Determine the parameters for your project. See the information below for additional guidance.
  3. Consult with your professor. You can use this letter [PDF] to introduce the idea of an Honors course contract to your professor, or you may direct them to this website. Ask if they are willing to work with you to contract the course.
  4. Review your established idea with the course professor and listen to the professor's suggestions for how to improve or revise your project. Make sure to work together with your professor to outline due dates, project timelines and grading criteria. See below for examples of grading criteria.
  5. Complete the Contract Application. Be sure to include in your application why the project is important, the timeline for completion, and how the work will be evaluated (for example, a rubric). Contracts are reviewed on a rolling basis, and due by Friday of week seven of each semester.
  6. Your Contract Application will be reviewed by the Honors College. 
  7. Look for an email in your MIX account. Within a couple of weeks of submission, you will receive an email notifying you of the status of your application. Contract applications are rarely rejected outright, but sometimes revisions are suggested or clarification is needed. If revisions are required, you must reply and decide to revise your contract or cancel your contract.
  8. Complete your coursework. 
  9. Your professor should keep an eye on their email for an email from the Honors College asking for your project grade. Students earning a B or higher in their contract project will receive Honors credit for their course, provided they earn a C or higher in the course itself. Please note that because you are earning Honors credit for the contracted course itself, your Honors GPA will be impacted by the course grade and number of credits received for that course. 
  10. Look at the notes section of your DegreeWorks to see when your contract project has been processed by the Honors College and assessed for Honors credit. Please note: while satisfactorily completed Honors contracts will be granted Honors credit, it may take some time to appear in your Honors block. 

Contract Application Requirements

All contract applications must be received by Friday of week seven of the semester. For Fall 2019, this date is Friday, Oct. 11. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The application should detail the assigned project and be reviewed with the course’s instructor before submission. The Honors College does not mandate specific upper or lower limits on the work required for the contract; faculty members and students should work together to devise work appropriate to the course subject and level.  

What makes a good contract project?

Projects should be substantive in both content and process, allowing for substantial learning and growth from students. The Honors College recommends the project complete one of the following goals:

In addition, the Honors College welcomes projects outside of a research paper. Some examples include: PR campaign, service project, laboratory research, and presenting in class or in the community.

Examples of work for an Honors contract

To consult with the Honors College on appropriate work, students or faculty may contact the Assistant Dean.  

Example Guidelines for Grading Criteria

These example guidelines are meant to be a starting point for developing evaluation criteria for Honors contracts. Students should work with faculty to develop grading criteria specific to their projects. These criteria should then be included in the Honors Contract Application with a breakdown of exactly how the student’s work will be evaluated.

Contract Course Grading

Students must earn a B or higher in order to receive Honors credit for a contracted course. However, because the student is earning Honors credit for the contracted course itself, students should note that they will receive Honors credit based on the grade and number of credits in the contracted course itself, not solely the contract project. 

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