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 By 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 By Contract work include:

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

Honors By Contracts should be imagined as collaborations between a student and a 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 By Contracts? 

Honors By 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 By 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 By Contract?  

Submit an Honors By Contract Interest Form. Students should speak with the faculty member they intend to work with on a Honors By Contract before submitting the Honors By Contract Interest Form.


What is the Honors By Contract Process?



How can I ensure that my Honors By Contract is approved? 

Work closely with your faculty supervisor to construct a proposal, ideally prior to the start of the term. Submit your Honors By Contract Interest Form so that we may provide that information to your faculty member.

Honors By 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 By Contract is denied?

Occasionally, Honors By 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 By Contract?

As the Honors By Contract is intended to be an exceptional and rigorous addition to your course work, students may only apply for one (1) Honors Contract in a semester and may only complete two (2) Honors By Contracts during their academic career. If you are interested in the idea of an Honors By Contract but want to ensure you choose the right course, please contact the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Cassie Smith (clsmith17@ua.edu). Honors Advising is here to help!


What if I can’t complete my Honors By Contract?

You are responsible for notifying the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Cassie Smith (clsmith17@ua.edu) before the semester’s end if it becomes apparent to you that you cannot complete the Honors By 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 By Contracts, and incomplete contracts will be voided at the semester’s end as a matter of course.