All honors students complete at least one honors contract at some point in their undergraduate career.* An honors contract is the mechanism by which an honors student earns honors credit for a 300 or 400 level course in their major. The honors contract is intended to enrich the quality of education rather than simply increasing the workload. Nevertheless, it will involve more hours of student work. Generally speaking an honors contract in a 3 credit class should involve 20-30 hours of additional work over the course of the semester.
The process for completing a contract is as follows:
1) The student chooses a 300 or 400 level course for which they would like to receive honors credit.
2) The student and the course instructor develop a plan for intensifying the academic experience in the course. Examples include completing an additional a service-learning project, marketing plan, business prospectus, curriculum plan, research paper, studio project or research project with a public presentation, etc. Please note that if the contract is for an additional paper, the paper needs to be at least 5 pages in length and include at least 3 external references/sources.
3) The student and instructor complete a proposal that specifies:
- How the project differs from the regular work of the class.
- The topic and mode of inquiry—make sure it is clear what the student is going to do, why they are doing it (rationale), how they are going to do it (methodology), and what the final outcome (or product) will be.
- An explicit timetable for meetings with the course instructor, submission of the components or drafts of the project, and submission of the final product. The final deadline can be no later than the scheduled final examination period for the course.
- The student and instructor must also agree on the criteria for evaluating the project. This includes agreement on whether the project will be graded and the extent to which the project grade will factor into the final course grade. Please note in order for honors credit to be earned the student must earn a B or better in the course and complete the contract work in a satisfactory manner.
4) The student completes the online application https://bsuform.wufoo.com/forms/honors-contract-application/
5) The honors contract proposal must be approved by the Honors Chair for the department.
6) Approved honors contract proposals are reviewed by the Honors Advisory Board for clarity and feasibility and to ensure they meet the minimum requirements.
7) Students are notified of approval of the contract or the need for revision.
8) At the end of the term the instructor will complete a brief Honors Contract Report so that the Honors Program can determine whether honors credit should be awarded.
9) Upon receipt of the Honors Credit Report instructors earn .25 credit for each contract completed under their tutelage.
*Exceptions to this rule include psychology majors who complete three colloquia in lieu of a contract and students who opt to use their ATP summer grant or other intensive research experience waiver to waive the three credits of the honors contract.