Contract for Honors Credit - Instructor Guide 

A honors contract is a mechanism that allows students to earn Honors credit by incorporating an Honors component within a regularly offered class. Students interested in completing an Honors Contract must submit an Honors Contract proposal to the Honors College.

What is an Honors Contract?

The Honor Contract should involve a project or activity that allows the student to go into greater depth than normally required in some aspect of the course. The contract is an agreement between the student and instructor concerning the unique course requirements or projects that justify earning honors credit for the course.

The Honors Contract can include a supplemental project designed to complement course work or a substitution for a course requirement.  Honors contracts ideally represent “something different” rather than “something more.” Where additional work is called for, it should be justified in fulfillment of some larger learning objective. Contract projects must also produce a tangible final product—written, performed, or exhibited—that can be evaluated at the end the semester.

The decision to entertain an honors contract proposal rests entirely with the instructor. Instructors are under no obligation to add honors contracts to their courses. 

Honors Contract Policy

Who is Eligible to Complete an Honors Contract?

The Honors Contract option is reserved for sophomore, junior, and seniors who are active members of the Honors College. Freshman may not contract a course for honors credit.

Which Courses can Students Contract?

  • Students may design an Honors Contract for 2000-level or higher courses.

  • Students may contract an online course as long as it meets the listed criteria.

  • Honors Contracts may not be added to the following types of courses:
    • 1000 level and general education classes (Exception UofM Lambuth campus and UM Global Students)
    • Courses that are already offered in honors sections
    • Classes that carry less than 3.0 credit hours
    • Internships (count as honors - one time only)
    • Study Abroad (count as honors - one time only)
    • Independent study/research (students can enroll into UNHP - 4900, Honors Directed Research)
    • Pass/Fail courses
    • Graduate level courses (automatically count as honors)
    • Courses offered by third-party providers (TN eCampus, etc.)
  • Full-time faculty members, including full-time instructors, may sponsor a contract. Adjunct faculty or graduate teaching assistants may supervise honors contracts with approval from the department head and the Director of the Honors College.

Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to ensure full compliance with and understand the terms of an honors contract. Students should meet regularly with their instructor to report on progress toward completing their projects. Students who undertake two honors contracts without successfully completing either will no longer be eligible to contract for honors credit in the future.

Instructor Responsibilities

Instructors are responsible for helping students complete their honors contract projects. Instructors should meet with their students on a regular basis during the semester to assess progress and to offer advice and suggestions.

Instructors are not obligated to approve a contract and reasons for rejecting a contract include but are not limited to the following:

  • The instructor does not want to add an Honors component to the course
  • The online form did not reflect the terms agreed upon between the instructor and the student
  • The student did not discuss the contract before submitting the online request form provided in the email

How is the Honors Contract Graded?

The Honors Contract does not affect the student's grade in the course. To receive honors credit, students must complete the 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 for honors credit.

Ideas for Honors Contracts

There is no standardized model for an honors contract, but here are a few examples:

  • Performing service hours related to the course topic along with meaningful reflection (service-learning)
  • Undertaking an additional, or more demanding research project
  • Conducting field work
  • Expanding a paper for presentation or submission to a student research forum (e.g., Works in Progress Symposium or Student Research Forum)
  • Preparing a paper for submission to Quaesitum, the UofM’s undergraduate research journal
  • Preparing a significant annotated bibliography/literature review

The contract should explicitly state the work the student will undertake to earn the Honors designation. 

Sample Contracts

Contract Approval Process 


Step 1: Students are to discuss and finalize an idea for a project with the instructor of the course before submitting the online form.

Step 2: Students will submit the online Honors Contract form for approval from the course instructor and departmental chairperson or the departmental honors coordinator.

Step 3: At the end of the semester, the Honors College will follow up with instructors to confirm whether the student completed the terms of the Honors Contract.

Contract Request Timeline

One Week Prior to First Day of Classes: Online Request Form Opens

Two Weeks After First Day of Classes: Online Request Form Closes

Please Note: Instructors can still review (accept or reject) a request for an Honors Contract as long as the request was submitted prior to online form closure.

Instructions for Approving or Rejecting a Contract Request

Step 1

Students should approach or contact the instructor to discuss and agree on the terms for the Honors Contract before the student submits the online form. This should include the nature of the project and the way in which this project constitutes "Honors:' Students should be as specific as possible in describing what it is, they will do, including references to specific readings and/or methodologies where appropriate. Specify timelines/deadlines for completion of the project.

Step 2

  1. Following your discussion, students will formalize the agreed upon terms for the Honors Contract by completing and submitting the online Honors Contract Form.

    After student submits online form:

  2. The instructor will be alerted via email that the online contract form has been submitted by the student and routed through workflow, where the instructor will have the option to approve or reject the Honors Contract.

  3. The instructor will access the workflow to approve or reject the Honors Contract by clicking the link provided in the email. Please respond to request as soon as possible. The contract will remain in workflow until a decision is entered. 

    Faculty Email

    Please note: Instructors, Chairs and Honors Coordinators can also access Honors Contract requests by logging in to MyMemphis > Workflow.

    MyMemphis Workflow Screenshot

  4. This will take you to the Workflow homepage. Click the Honors Contract request at the top of the page under “Worklist”. Please ignore the side menu and the bottom of the page, which are unrelated to the Honors Contract process.

    Workflow Screenshot

  5. Review the terms of the contract in the “Contract Description” box. You have the option to enter comments before selecting “Accept the Contract” or “Reject the Contract.” If you reject the contract, please enter comments explaining changes the student must make before resubmitting the request or why you have outright denied the contract request. Click “Complete” at the bottom of the page to accept or reject the Honors Contract.

    Instructor Menu

    After the Contract has been approved:

    5. After the instructor approves the contract, it will be routed to the department chair for final approval. The chair will receive similar email notifications as the instructor (see 2 - 4) and will have the option to accept or reject the contract. The chair has the option to forward the approval/decline email to the department honors coordinator for approval instead.

    Please note: The student and the instructor will receive email notifications at each stage of the process and will be notified if the chair or coordinator has approved or rejected the Honors Contract request.

Step 3

  • At the end of the semester, the instructor will be contacted by the Honors College via email to confirm whether the student successfully completed the terms of the Honors Contract.

  • After it is confirmed the student successfully completed the contract, it will be indicated on the student’s transcript next to the course title with the word “Honors”, “Hnrs” or “H”. 

Student Contract webpage & Form >

Departmental Honors Coordinators 

Several academic departments/colleges have appointed Departmental Honors Coordinators to review and approve ALL honors contracts for courses within the academic unit. The departments with specified honors coordinators are listed below. The department chair has the option to forward the approval/decline email to honors coordinators to complete the approval process. 

College or Academic Department Honors Coordinator Coordinator Email
Department of Anthropology Prof. Kenneth Latta kslatta@memphis.edu 
Department of English Dr. Cristina Cervone cmcrvone@memphis.edu 
Department of History Dr. Chrystal Goudsouzian cdykes@memphis.edu 
Department of Mathematical Sciences Dr. James Campbell jcampbll@memphis.edu 
School of Nursing Prof. Joy Hoffman jehoffmn@memphis.edu 
Department of Psychology Dr. Deranda Lester dbrewer@memphis.edu 
College of Professional & Liberal Studies (University College) Dr. Joanne Gikas jgikas@memphis.edu
UofM Lambuth Campus Dr. Paul Mego paulmego@memphis.edu 
Department of Biological Sciences Dr. Jennifer Benford or Charles Plesofsky   jennifer.benford@memphis.edu | czplsfsk@memphis.edu