Faculty Resources

What Makes a Course an "honors" course?

Honors courses and honors-by-contract are qualitatively different from regular courses. Honors course content is designed to provide an experience that appeals to top-performing students. Honors credit for a course should be associated with greater engagement between the student and the subject or course materials. Course learning outcomes remain the same between honors and regular sections, but other outcomes may be achieved at the instructor’s discretion. The faculty should communicate the difference between honors and a regular section to the student so the student can make an informed choice.

Honors courses do not necessarily require more work, and the workload might not significantly increase for students receiving honors credit. Honors courses often require some different work, such as a modified assignment, an experiential learning component, or an added or enhanced research opportunity.

  • Replacing an exam with an engaging project requiring original research is often appropriate. Adding an exam will not likely improve the student experience in a course.
  • Teaching students to re-present a research report as a poster for an undergraduate research symposium is likely appropriate. Doubling the length or number of references required on a research paper for honors students is not necessarily a positive enhancement.
  • Modifying the syllabus for an honors section may change the weighting of other assessments. For example, students may attend a conference and reflect on the experience for Honors Course credit. This assignment can be added to the assessments of the non-honors section. Alternatively, honors students may attend a conference and reflect on the experience in place of one assessment. The grading of the reflection may replace an assessment or be weighted lower, potentially increasing the impact of the remaining assessments on students’ grades.
  • Sample syllabi from other universities will be made available to honors faculty on request.


Resources & Forms

Faculty who would like to teach honors scholars can provide opportunities in two ways. 

  1. By honors-by-contract in which the Honors course designation is based on extra work conducted in regular Missouri S&T courses wherein the instructor agrees to approve and oversee the effort.  Students are expected to have a conversation with the faculty to discuss the possibility of turning the course into an honors course, determine the agreed-upon learning outcomes, and submit the Honors Contract to the Honors Academy by the 4th Friday of the current semester. Additionally, students are expected to submit an Honors Contract Completion Form by the last day of regular classes.  Faculty must sign the Honors Contract, and Sign the Course Contract Completion Form. The Honors Academy will work with the Registrar's Office to add the "H" designation for the student at the end of the term.  Please note instructors do not receive compensation for supporting honors by contract. 
  2. By honors course are sections of courses taught by honors faculty, that have an "H" designation by the registrar, which only allows honors students to register.


Honor Course Contract Form

Honors Academy Course Contract Completion Form

Honors Contract Course Project Examples

The culminating project is the capstone experience of the Honors Academy and, as such, incorporates and expresses the Academy’s commitment to individualized and enriched instruction, independent study, close faculty-student relationships, and the rigorous development of intellectual skills, including the ability to think critically and to communicate with clarity and style. The project brings together honors scholars' preparation and education in a particular discipline or combination of disciplines. Projects are usually in the student’s major field of study but are not limited to the major. However, some scholars may wish to develop interdisciplinary projects or a project that utilizes their co-op experience. Discussions with your project mentor will help to focus the project and gain required approvals.

Senior Thesis Project Description Form must be approved by the faculty member supervising the work, the Honors Academy director, and be received by the Office of Academic Support by the last day to add courses posted on the Academic Dates and Deadlines Calendar to be considered for approval. For more information on the project, please reference the Senior Thesis Guidelines

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is a unique educational organization designed to support and promote undergraduate honors education. NCHC has nearly 900 member institutions and several hundred individual members, impacting over 330,000 honors students. NCHC provides its members with resources, training opportunities and collaborative events to build and sustain honors programs and their curriculum (NCHC, 2022) 


Sample Honors Course Syllabi