Jesup Scott Honors College

 Honors Learning Contracts

Honors Learning Contract

Honors Learning Contracts are an important tool for earning your 33 Honors credits by graduation. These agreements between students and instructors establish an enhanced academic experience by converting a normal class into one for Honors credit. Through the Contract, you will often complete an additional project beyond what is normally expected or augment a pre-existing assignment (e.g., develop a class presentation attached to an already assigned research paper, sharing your findings publicly).

Contracts allow Honors students to:

  • Earn Honors credits toward graduation
  • Customize your course experience with self-directed research
  • Prepare yourself for graduate school or the career field
  • Earn an Honors designation on your transcript for the course
  • Add to a portfolio of work shaping your Honors thesis or capstone project
  • Stand out in your major and classes as a contributor to the discipline and community
  • Work more closely with instructors, which may translate into a recommendation letter or job offer down the road

Click here for a PDF copy of the Contract.


Honors Contracts FAQs

1) When should I file a Contract?

Please review the Honors Learning Contract document, especially pages 3 - 5, to understand the process of taking out and completing a Contract for a course.

2) Who is the College Honors Director I need to have approve my Contract?

For a list of the College Honors Directors, see here. You need the approval of the Director in the degree-granting college which offers the course featuring the Contract.

3) Do I need to file a Contract each semester?

No, only if you want to earn Honors credit in that non-Honors class. You have flexibility in deciding when, how, and for which classes you will pursue Honors credit.

4) I signed up for an Honors section of a class (e.g., General Chemistry or Introduction to Logic). Should I file a Contract for it?

No, you are already earning Honors credit for that section. If you see some variation of "Honors" in the title of a course (e.g., "Hon" or "HONORS"), then it is automatically set-up to count as Honors credit. Classes offered by the Honors College (e.g., HON 1010) are configured in the same way.

5) How many Contracts is it advisable to take out each semester?

We recommend students pursue at least one or two Honors classes a semester, whether it is through a Contract or not. This will allow you to consistently build up to the required 33 Honors credit hours needed to graduate with College Honors. It is acceptable to have semesters with no Honors classes and to have semesters loaded with Honors classes.

6) I am unsure what additional work I should pursue for my Contract - what should I do?

Your instructor should be of great assistance here (although she/he may expect you to take ownership of the endeavor). That person has perhaps assisted students with Contracts before and, in any case, is the content specialist most familiar with what constitutes interesting and appropriately difficult work for students. If your instructor has no experience with Contracts, you may suggest that person consult with other faculty members in the relevant department for guidance. Too, the Honors College Director of that degree-granting college is also a good resource. Finally, contact Josh Martin at the Honors College for further assistance.

7) Do Contracts make classes harder? Can a Contract threaten my grade?

Classes you take a Contract out for will entail more work, but this will make the course more robust and worthwhile. This may challenge you to manage your time more carefully throughout the semester, but Contracts are designed to NOT affect your course grade. The additional project stipulated in the Contract will simply confer Honors credit on the class or not.

8) Are Contracts a better way to earn credits than an established Honors section?

Neither is inherently better than the other - both have their advantages. Some majors have plenty of Honors courses built into their curriculum, which allows those students to rarely fill out a Contract. Students in other majors relay much more on Contracts. Established Honors sections will have pre-determined assignments for Honors students, which perhaps can be reviewed before the semester begins. Contracts allow students the possibility of a more individualized and self-guided experience, although some instructors may have set assignments for students that want to take a Contract out in their class. Established Honors sections won't require additional paperwork, whereas Contracts do. The former will feature a group of Honors students in the section while the latter will presumably not. Finally, established Honors sections will often feature a final grade for the course that is shaped by the Honors-level work while Contracts do not.

9) Are there any classes for which I cannot file a Contract?

Yes, but such restrictions are not common. Instructors reserve the right to reject an Honors Contract Proposal for whatever reason. Most instructors are happy to work with Honors students in this way, however. Too, some departments have regulations constraining when Contracts can be used - although this is rare.

10) Will I still receive credit for the course toward degree completion if I do not ultimately satisfy the terms of the Contract?

Yes. The Contract merely determines whether you earn Honors credit toward your graduation with College Honors through that course.

11) How long will it take for the Honors credit to display on my transcript after completing a Contract? What will it look like?

It may take up to one month after the end of the semester for the Honors designation to apply to your transcript. This will show up as some variation of "Honors" built into the title of the course which is then printed on the transcript.

12) Can I use an older version of the Contract?

No. The Honors College is requiring students to submit the updated version of the Contract linked on this page. It incorporates new features designed to standardize the Contract experience for all Honors students as well as ensure their quality and rigor.

For more information about Contracts, review the instructions on the document itself.

Last Updated: 3/20/18