Students should proactively plan to take one to two honors courses each semester in order to meet the 10 honors course requirement for College Honors. In rare instances, and based on a special exception, students may appeal to his/her advisor for permission to “contract Honors” in a regular class to receive Honors credit for the course, when an honors alternative is not available. Because of the cohort experience, Honors courses are preferable.
Students must have made a good faith effort to take available honors courses. In particular, business students have many pre-business and business core courses that are offered in Honors, so business majors are unlikely to receive permission.
Honors courses to consider include:
- Capstones: IDC 4050H (Feit seminars) and/or a major Thesis (6001H & 6002H)
- Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence courses
- 3000-level courses, such as Law, Psychology, Journalism, Communication & English
- Zicklin Honors courses (Requires 3.6 GPA & permission of Zicklin Honors)
- An Honors independent study, with a rigorous proposal
If such options are not available, the student may appeal to his/her Honors advisor to request an honors contract. Intersession courses (e.g. winter/summer) and online courses are not eligible (exceptions may be made for unique circumstances e.g. remote learning as a result of COVID-19). For required capstones: students must take BPL 5100H (Zicklin majors) or IDC 4050H (Weissman majors) and cannot contract a general section; Marxe students must contract PAF 4401 if they don’t take an honors thesis as their capstone.
Faculty and students collaborate to design an academically rigorous experience, with greater depth and challenge. The Guiding Principles of Honors Learning serves as a guide. For example, a contracted Honors course could:
- emphasize communication, including substantial opportunities for writing, revision, and oral presentations with detailed, individual feedback
- consider primary sources & real world example which include more sophisticated material (readings, problem sets, etc.)
- require students to consider a variety of interpretations or approaches to address questions raised
To contract honors, the student conducts additional work outlined in a learning contract, a brief description of how the student will pursue an enriched experience. An example could be an additional paper, or a longer paper with a deeper challenge (such as more primary source material, additional research, etc.), combined with an additional presentation and field activity.
How to request to contract Honors
1. First, Scholars meet with their Honors Advisors to consider available alternative Honors courses and determine if they meet the above criteria.
2. If the Honors advisor verifies and approves the contract request, then the Scholar requests permission to contract honors with a full-time faculty member, discussing ways to enhance the course to convert it into an honors experience.
3. The faculty member emails a short written explanation of the agreed-upon enrichment activities to the Assistant Director. This needs to be completed prior to the start of class, no later than the second week of class.
4. If approved, Honors staff contacts the faculty member at the end of the semester to confirm that the student has completed the agreement and the course should be counted as an Honors class. Note that the Honors contract is noted internally in Honors Program records and the course will not show up as Honors on the student’s record in Degreeworks. Graduating seniors should submit the additional “contract” assignment by the last day of classes, prior to finals, to ensure that the course is officially documented as honors and they will be eligible to graduate with College Honors.