Jesup Scott Honors College

Honors Learning Contracts

Honors Learning ContractHonors Learning Contracts are an important tool for earning your 27 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).

You can view a blank Contract form here, but proposals must be filed online at the link below.

File a New Contract | Review Current & Draft Contracts

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


Honors Contracts FAQs

1) What is the timeframe and steps for completing a Contract?

To take out a Contract for your class as well as read about the process and timeline to complete it, head here. This system will conveniently auto-populate your Contract form with information about the faculty member teaching the contracted course as well as the relevant College Honors Director. The Contract will be completed by you electronically, both for the proposal phase during the first two weeks of the Fall/Spring semester and during the later Narrative Summary/Evaluation Form phase during the final week of classes for the semester before final exams. The Contract will be reviewed electronically for approval by your faculty member and the Honors Director as well as by the Honors College. Please approach your faculty member and verify that person is willing to oversee a Contract at all before submitting your proposal. During Summer semesters and part-of-term sessions, Contract proposals will be due by the end of the first week of classes and Narrative Summaries will be due by the final day of classes.

2) How do I submit my Contract?

You must fill out the applicable fields of the form during the Proposal as well as Narrative Summary stages and, after having done so, advance to the end of the form to electronically sign it. Your Contract will not be moved ahead for approvals until you type in your name and click the "Sign Electronically" button. Your instructor will need to sign the form in the same way when approving it. This must happen both when submitting the Contract Proposal during the start of the semester as well as the Narrative Summary near its end.

3) I cannot enter content into certain sections of the form. How can I complete the form then to submit the Proposal?

The Contract form proceeds in two stages. The first stage is the Proposal stage where you are only entering content on the first two pages of the Contract form. This stage is completed by the student working with the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester. To submit the Proposal, you will need to fill in that content on just the first two pages and then advance to the end of the form before typing your name in and clicking the "Sign Electronically" button. The sections of the form on the following pages will unlock and be completed later in the semester after you have finished the additional work in the course that forms the basis for your Contract. You will complete those later sections (i.e., the Narrative Summary) using the same form. You can access your previously filed forms here at any time, but you will also be reminded later in the semester by e-mail to complete the Contract form. This e-mail will contain a link to the Contract form.

4) How will I access my Contracts throughout the semester and keep track of them?

You can access saved/draft, pending, and historical Contracts here throughout the semester when you log-in with your UTAD credentials. Be mindful of the 45-minute timer and save function when filling out new Contracts. Also, monitor your Rockets e-mail for updates regarding your Contracts throughout the semester. There are no unique links to keep track of for each Contract, and the e-mails you receive requiring your action will have the log-in link embedded in them.

5) Can anyone take out a Contract?

Only JSHC students may take out Honors Learning Contracts. Too, first-semester students are barred from Contracts. This will allow them an opportunity to get accustomed to college life, its many demands, and what traditional coursework feels like before being ready to pursue enhanced Honors scholarship in the following semester and later.

6) 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 contracted course.

7) 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. However, all Honors students are subject to a curricular "good-standing" policy and should be mindful of the timeline established for them in that policy for earning Honors credits. Sometimes Contracts can be crucial to satisfying that policy on the required timeline.

8) 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 for Honors credit. Classes offered by the Honors College (e.g., HON 1010) are configured in the same way.

9) How many Contracts should I take out each semester?

We recommend JSHC 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 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.

10) 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 department for guidance. Too, the Honors College Director of that degree-granting college is also a good resource. Finally, contact us at the Honors College for further assistance by e-mailing

11) 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.

12) 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 sections 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 learning 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 contracted courses do not.

13) 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. Some departments have regulations constraining when Contracts can be used - although this is rare.

14) Do I need to achieve a particular final grade in the contracted course to earn Honors credit?

Yes, you need to achieve at least a "B" as a final grade in the course to earn Honors credit for a completed Contract.

15) 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.

16) 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. Your degree audit will also show that the class counts for Honors credit.

17) What if I begin a Contract and no longer wish to finish it - what do I do?

You can abandon a Contract at any point without any form of penalty. If Honors College staff asks about it, just let us know about your decision.

18) Myself or my instructor is having difficulties navigating the Contract system - what should I do?

Contact Josh Martin, Assistant Director of the Honors Experience, at for further assistance. We are familiar with occasional hurdles in the system and can do a lot on the back-end to get the submission and approval process moving.

For more information about Contracts, review this document.

Last Updated: 4/1/24