Honors Courses

Approximately 75 classes from a wide variety of disciplines are offered each semester, and most are 1000-2000 level courses that satisfy the University's General Education requirements or serve as introductory courses in the major. Honors courses offer an alternative to large lecture courses, and the class size is usually about 20 students.

Honors courses at The University of Memphis (UofM) can be distinguished from regular courses in the expectations and abilities of the students, the role and involvement of the faculty, and the nature of the courses themselves. Honors courses are generally discussion-based classes that emphasize writing, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, and a certain amount of intellectual risk-taking. Whenever possible, an integrative approach that links various disciplines to a common problem is encouraged.

Although honors courses are more challenging than regular courses, most students find that their grades in honors courses are equal to or higher than grades earned in regular courses. To enroll in honors classes, students must be accepted to the program and be classified as honors students in the university's registration system.

Available Courses

Fall 2018 Honors Forum Descriptions

Spring 2019 Honors Forum Descriptions

Spring 2019 Honors Course List

Contracting Courses

Contracting for Honors credit enables students to earn Honors credit by incorporating an Honors component within a regularly offered class. Please read the following guidelines carefully before requesting to contract a course. 

Honors Contract Policy 

  • First-year students may not contract a course for honors credit without special permission from the Honors College, obtained in an advising meeting.

  • 1000-level general education classes may not be contracted for honors credit. Exceptions to this policy will be made for students enrolled at the UofM Lambuth campus.

  • Contracts are designed primarily for upper-division courses; however, lower-division course contracts will be considered in areas where enrollments are not sufficient to support Honors sections.

  • Honors contracts may not be added to the following types of courses:  classes that carry less than 3.0 credit hours, internships, study abroad, emerging leader courses, resident assistant courses, and pass/fail courses.

  • Only faculty members, including full-time instructors, may sponsor a contract.  Students submitting contracts signed, or largely supervised, by a teaching assistant or other non-faculty member will be denied Honors credit for the course.

  • Students will earn honors credit if they complete the Honor contract work satisfactorily and earn a grade of A or B in the course. If the course is graded plus/minus, a grade of “B-“is insufficient.

  • Once a student undertakes two contracts without completing either, he or she is not eligible for further contracts.

Honors Contract Approval Process

Step 1: Discuss your idea with the instructor for the course.  This step should ideally be undertaken the semester prior to enrollment, as you are developing your course schedule for the next semester.

Step 2: Following your initial discussion, formalize your ideas by completing the Honors Contract Form. Students should take responsibility for writing up the terms of the contract following an agreement with the instructor.  The instructor’s signature indicates his or her endorsement of the contract.

Step 3: Make certain the form is signed by you, the instructor, and either the instructor’s department head or the departmental honors coordinator. (See below list of departmental honors coordinators.)

Step 4: Deliver your signed contract to the Honors Office before the due date. 

Approval requires the signature by the following:

  • Course Instructor
  • Departmental chairperson or honors cooridinator (see below)
  • Director of the Honors College 

Criteria for Honors Contracts

Honors contracts ideally represent “something different” rather than “something more.”  Thus, substitutions for normal course requirements are encouraged more so than the additional assignments for quantitative enhancements such as “longer papers,” “additional reports,” etc.  Where additional work is called for, it should be justified in fulfillment of some larger learning objective.  Wherever possible, Honors students should share the results of their work with the class in the form of an oral presentation, a bibliography or other type of class hand-out, a poster session, etc.  Other suggestions are detailed below.

  • Where the course calls for a research paper, an Honors paper might be differentiated in terms of use of primary sources, the incorporation of a substantial literature review that connects the topics to broader issues in the field, and the inclusion of primary data derived from student research (oral histories or other interviews, statistical analysis, laboratory experimentation), etc.

  • Where additional readings or reports are indicated, it is best that these readings or reports be synthesized as part of a larger Honors component.  For example, a paper involving a comparison/contrast of regularly assigned readings with the specially selected readings would be Honors-justified based on the synthesis of readings, rather than the additional readings per se.  Such a project could be presented either in the form of a paper or as a set of questions that might be addressed through an oral report for the class or a tutorial with the instructor.

  • The inclusion of a field work component, extended laboratory experience, journal keeping, etc. might be incorporated in a specialized examination that would take the place of a regular examination.

  • For courses involving creative experience, students might discuss the rationale, significance, meaning, etc. of their work with the class as a whole when this contribution would not normally be expected of all students.

Completion Procedure

  • An email will be sent to students by mid-semester ONLY if the contract is NOT approved. If you don’t receive an email, then the contract is sufficient.

  • Please send the Honors College an email approximately 3 weeks before the end of the semester informing us if you have withdrawn from the contracted class, or decided not to complete the contract.

  • Approximately one week before the end of the semester an email will be sent to the course Instructor requesting confirmation that the contract has been completed with a B or above in the course. 

  • When the confirmation of contract completion has been received by the Honors College, the transcript office will be notified to insert the HONORS designation for the course on the student’s transcript. 

Departmental Honors Cooridnators

Fogelman College of Business & Economics: Dr. Irvin Tankersley
Anthropology: Prof. Kenneth Latta
Architecture/Interior Design: Prof. Michael Hagge
Criminal Justice: Mary Tucker
English: Dr. Cristina Cervone
Foreign Languages & Literatures: Dr. William Thompson
History: Dr. Chrystal Goudsouzian
Mathematical Sciences: Prof. Alistair Windsor
Political Science: Dr. Matthias Kaelberer
Sociology: Dr. Gretchen Peterson
Theatre: Prof. Anita Lenhart
Nursing: Joy Hoffman
Lambuth Campus: Dr. Paul Mego

Please note: The approval of the instructor’s departmental chairperson is required if the department does not have a designated honors coordinator.