Centennial Honors College

Honors Contract Guidelines


Honors contracts give students the opportunity to earn Honors credit through the completion of specially designed Honors projects in non-Honors courses. Credit may count towards academic departments’ Major Honors requirements, the Pre-Law Honors Minor, or, in limited circumstances, towards a student’s General Honors program. Honors contracts are fulfilled through activities above and beyond regular course requirements.


Honors students and their instructors work together to develop the Honors contract, which outlines the expectations for a satisfactory Honors project. The Honors project should involve an enhanced learning experience with increased student-instructor interaction. It should not simply be additional homework. Emphasis should be placed on educational enrichment and feeding students’ curiosity.


Depending on a student’s major, the Honors contract can include a project in the areas of research/scholarship, performance, or professional development:

  • Conduct research and write a scholarly paper or give a presentation
  • Experience events related to the course’s subject matter and write response papers
  • Facilitate a couple of class periods or lead discussions on investigated topics
  • Create an original piece of music or work of art
  • Conduct challenging lab experiments and report your findings
  • Calculate metrics not explored in class
  • Explore alternative ideas/opinions/readings and discuss their implications


With the exception of some major courses that lead to the Honors thesis, the Honors contract should not affect a student’s grade in the course. Honors projects should be evaluated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, based on the expectations outlined in the contract. 

The deadline for completing Honors work is the Friday before finals week in the semester in which the course is taken. The Honors College will confirm with instructors the satisfactory completion of an Honors contract. An incomplete contract will only be permitted if an Incomplete is given for the course. Students are expected to maintain steady progress throughout the semester. A course grade of C- or higher must be earned for the course to be considered for Honors credit. Some departments require a higher course grade to receive Honors credit. An Honors notation (“H” course suffix) will be entered on a student’s official transcript for successfully completed projects. 


Developing an Honors Contract and submitting the application happens in the first few weeks of the semester. The Honors Contract Application is due the fourth Friday of the semester (first Friday in the summer).

  1. Students should consider which class would provide the best opportunity for completing and Honors Contract, and begin discussing ideas with instructors. 
  2. Make sure you cover the questions listed under Honors Contract Questions below, as these must be answered on the Honors Contract Application.
  3. After meeting with your instructor, or together with your instructor, complete and submit the Honors Contract Application (located on the Forms page) by the deadline. 
  4. The instructor of record listed on the application will be contacted to confirm the information contained on the form. Submissions will also be reviewed by the Honors College, and students may be contacted if the information submitted does not merit Honors credit.

To avoid confusion at the end of the semester, students should contact their Honors advisor and instructor immediately if they will not complete the Honors Contract.


The following questions about the Honors project are to be addressed on the Honors Contract Application, which can be found on the Honors Forms page:

    • Describe clearly and briefly what your Honors project is about. Write this as if you were writing the title of a paper.
    • What kind of project are you completing? (e.g. research paper, presentation, lesson plans, recital, thesis, etc.)
    • How will the project make this course an Honors course? How is the work different from the regular coursework? Be specific. (If this is your Honors research/thesis course, state that.)
    • What are the major steps necessary to complete the project? Include a timeline/deadlines for the completion of each step.
    • How will you work with your instructor to review your progress towards completion of the project?
    • What is the outcome required for the project to be evaluated as satisfactory? 
    •  Indicate whether or not your project involves human or animal subjects. The WIU Office of Sponsored Projects administers policies on research that collects data from humans or animals. Students involving human or animal subjects in their research are responsible for obtaining approval before beginning a project, and should work with their instructor on this process. If you are unsure if approval, contact the Office of Sponsored Projects at irb@wiu.edu.


Contact an Honors advisor at 298-2228, or via email. Go to wiu.edu/honors/staff for contact information.