Centennial Honors College

In-Course Honors Guidelines


In-course honors is the process of earning honors credit through the completion of honors projects within the context of approved courses. It is the opportunity for the student and faculty member to engage in a mentoring relationship in which the instructor guides the student on an enhanced learning experience. Honors projects are typically completed as part of the requirements of Honors in the Major. They are performed above and beyond regular course requirements and promote the student in one or more of the following:

  • Deeper exploration of a course topic, or investigation of new/alternative ideas related to the course.
  • Connection of course content and practice.
  • Cultivation of multidisciplinary perspectives.
  • Critical thinking, performance and/or professional skill development


In-course honors projects/activities should fall into one of the following categories:

  • Research-Scholarship: Original research conducted by the student, or a scholarly paper or presentation on a topic related to the course.
  • Performance: Giving a musical or theatrical performance or participating in a public debate competition showcasing a developed skill.
  • Professional Development: Activities that prepare the student for their future profession, such as an education student developing teaching materials or an accounting major analyzing tax situations.


In-course honors should be viewed as a study contract. It is the honor student's responsibility to:

  • Decide on an appropriate project or activity.
  • Schedule a meeting with the faculty member to review the project and secure their approval.
  • Complete the In-Course Honors Project Proposal within the first four weeks of the semester. The form is located on the Forms page. Note: The form is designed so that the project is thoughtfully and carefully planned to earn honors credit. 
  • Meet with the faculty member at predetermined intervals to discuss the project and review progress.
  • Retain a copy of your submission form for your records.


In-course honors projects allow the honor student to work closely with faculty in a mentoring relationship. Faculty will want to:

  • Meet at predetermined intervals for the purposes of discussing, guiding and reviewing the student's progress.
  • Challenge the student to approach the material from alternative perspectives.
  • Provide opportunities for the student to develop research skills.
  • Facilitate connections between the course and other relevant professional or disciplinary interests the student may have.
  • Where appropriate, involve the student in collaborative research or professional activities (co-authoring, etc.).

Completing an Honors Project


  1. Decide on an appropriate project in an eligible course. Some majors have an approved course list; check your honors requirements or ask your honors advisor if you're unsure.
  2. Meet with the course instructor to get their approval and plan the project - objective(s), timeline, major steps.
  3. Submit the online In-Course Honors Project submission form by the deadline (Located on the Honors Forms page.) Be prepared to answer the questions in the next section.
  4. The faculty member will receive an email asking them to confirm the information. Submissions will also be reviewed by the Honors College, and students may be contacted to fill in gaps or missing information.
  5. At the end of the semester, the Honors College will verify the completion of the honors project with the faculty member.


  • Clearly state what your project is about. Treat this as a title for a paper or project.
  • What is the purpose or focus of your honors project? What questions do you hope to answer? Or, what idea do you plan to explore? ("Choose a topic and write about it" is NOT a purpose or idea.)
  • What is the anticipated product of the project? (e.g. summative report, presentation, lesson plan, recital, thesis, etc.)
  • What are  the major steps necessary to complete the project? Include a timeline for the completion of each step and reviewing your progress with the instructor.
  • 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 you need approval, contact the Office of Sponsored Projects at irb@wiu.edu.


Coursework involving successful in-course honors projects is designated with an H suffix on the student's official transcript. (Exceptions: Study abroad or bridge courses already contain an S or B suffix and therefore cannot have an H.) Prior departmental approval is required for honors projects in bridge courses.

Students should contact their academic honors advisor with any questions. Faculty members can contact the Honors College at 309-298-2228 or honors@wiu.edu.