University Honors (UH) courses are the underpinnings of the Honors College experience. Traditionally small class sizes maximize meaningful academic discourse, relationship building, and faculty-student interactions, these courses allow students to explore a diverse array of topics while often granting general education credit.

Students may also pursue a University Honors (UH) Independent Study in a  subject area chosen in consultation with an Honors College faculty member who will supervise the project. Often, self-directed studies lead to conference presentations, publications, and other experiences unique to the student’s interests.

Unsure of how to make University Honors (UH) work for you?  Contact an Honors College advisor.

Departmental Honors courses are offered throughout colleges across the University, feature the most outstanding and committed faculty, and are limited to only Honors College students. These courses have a broader and enhanced scope of the course content, experience, and assessment. This is typically achieved through at least two of the following: oral and written work demonstrating greater depth of thought; papers or a project that requires more analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application of knowledge; higher-level readings; and/or in-depth discussions related to course content with the instructor. In addition to fulfilling Honors electives requirements, Departmental Honors courses may fulfill general education requirements or degree requirements.

Departmental Honors courses can be found by searching within the Academic Catalog.

All Spring 2021 Honors Contract Interest Forms must be submitted by Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020.  Honors-by-Contract applications, to be completed by your faculty supervisor, are due by Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

 What is Honors by Contract? 

Students wishing to gain Honors elective credit from a non-Honors course may do so by applying for an Honors Contract.  By definition, these contracts will detail how, in a particular course, a student’s work goes beyond the normal requirements of the syllabus.  Examples of Honors Contract work include:

  • Applied theory or methods
  • Interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Global perspectives
  • Professional and/or public presentation
  • Discrete and novel research

Honors Contracts should be imagined as collaborations between student and faculty supervisor, and must clearly define how the contract will provide the student with an engaging, rigorous, and qualitatively different approach to the subject matter.


Which courses qualify for Honors Contracts? 

Honors Contracts may be added to any course at the 300 or 400 level (so long as there is not an independent Honors section of the course), but may not be added to courses cross-listed at the 400/500 level.  Additionally, Honors Contracts must be added to academic courses within a student’s major or minor area of discipline, and cannot be added onto courses that, prior to the contract, already emphasize independent research, applied learning, practicums, or internships (399, 499, etc.).


How do I apply for an Honors Contract?  

Students wishing to propose an Honors Contract should consult the Student Guide for Honors Contracts.


All Spring 2021 Honors Contract applications must be completed and submitted by Jan. 22, 2021.


How can I ensure that my Honors Contract is approved? 

Work closely with your faculty supervisor to construct and submit your contract as soon as possible and ideally prior to the start of the term.  All contracts must be completed and confirmed by the Friday of the second week of term (Jan. 22, 2021 for Spring 2021), and no late contracts will be considered.

Contracts that are denied are usually last-minute efforts to receive Honors credit rather than well-conceived Honors plans.  If you give your faculty supervisor an adequate amount of time to complete the application, and you are clear with your supervisor about your intentions, then the likelihood that your project gets approved is high.  We want to see you taking deep dives, exploring avenues of inquiry yet unexplored, stretching your limits as a thinker and a subject in a complex world; but we want to see you plan to do so, and plan to give your faculty supervisor the resources to communicate this passion to us.


What if my Honors Contract is denied?

Occasionally, contracts are denied on the basis that they are not well-conceived, are not good fits for Honors, or, more often, do not make it explicitly clear how the Contract differs qualitatively from the regular course syllabus. We will make every effort in our reviews of contracts to recommend revision where appropriate; however, denied contracts cannot be revised.


Can I apply for more than one Honors Contract?

As the contract is intended to be an exceptional and rigorous addition to your course work, students may only complete one Honors Contract during their academic career.  If you are interested in the idea of an Honors Contract but want to ensure you choose the right course, please contact the Honors College Advisors, Erin Jett ( and Brandon Wingler (  Honors Advising is here to help!


What if I can’t complete my Honors Contract?

You are responsible for notifying the Honors College Director of Student Services, Erin Jett ( before the semester’s end if it becomes apparent to you that you cannot complete the Honors Contract.  Upon receipt of this email, your contract will be voided in the Honors College system, and you will not receive Honors elective credit.  “Incompletes” cannot be given for Honors Contracts, and incomplete contracts will be voided at the semester’s end as a matter of course.


Honors College students have the opportunity to earn Honors credit through Independent Study. Students interested must do the following:

– Review the University Honors Independent Study Guide in its entirety. (Honors Independent Study Guide PDF)

– Connect with an Honors College faculty member whose background or area of expertise matches the topic/area you would like to further explore.

– Work with your selected Honors College faculty member to create a project proposal and submit the Honors College Independent Study as soon as possible.

– The Honors College Independent Study application must be submitted via the Academics tab in myBama no later than the first Friday of each new semester.

– Honors College Independent Study proposals may not replicate or duplicate an existing course taught at The University of Alabama.

– Students may earn between one and six credit hours of UH Independent Study credit (e.g. 1 credit hour = 45 contact hours).

Please note the following when crafting a proposal:

  • Oral and written work should demonstrate greater depth of thought.
  • Proposals should show evidence of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application of knowledge.
  • Honors students will attend required weekly or bi-weekly meetings with their Honors College faculty supervisor to discuss and review components of the University Honors Independent Study.
  • Proposals should be research-based and distinct from any existing course at The University of Alabama.

University Honors Independent Study proposals should exhibit the level of rigor and robustness expected for an Honors-level course and experience.

The Independent Study applications are closed for Spring 2020.

For any questions about the registration process, please email the Honors College at

Honors College students are encouraged to explore graduate courses in their major field.  The Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) is an option in some departments for talented and highly motivated students who want to earn a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years. Through AMP, students begin their graduate studies during their senior year. To learn more about AMP, read about it on the Graduate School’s website.