Honors Contracts provide students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor on an independent project in a course he or she is enrolled in. Students develop special skills and gain in-depth knowledge related to the course. Upon completion of the contract, the course will be designated as “Honors” on the student’s transcript. Students completing three Honors contracts in upper-division courses will complete the Honors Contract Experience.
Courses from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences are not eligible for Honors Contracts. Instead, a rotation of Honors Embedded Courses will be offered each semester to provide Honors students an enriched academic experience and a means to earn the necessary amount of departmental Honors credit.
Reasons to conduct an Honors Contract
To conduct original research that may lead to an Honors Thesis, a publication or a conference presentation
To explore an aspect of the course more in depth in order to increase knowledge in this area
To gain academic knowledge and skills by assisting a professor on his or her own research related to the course subject
To develop a professional relationship with a faculty member in the major
To gain skills and experiences related to professional development, such as graduate school or future employment
Limitations on an Honors Contract
Due to the intensive nature of an Honors Contract, a student can only complete one contract per semester. Should extenuating circumstances arise in which a student needs to complete two contracts in a semester, the student should provide a written justification to the Honors College at firstname.lastname@example.org at the time their proposal is submitted.
Honors Contracts are most successful and fulfilling when conducted by experienced students in an upper-division course. In rare instances, the Honors College will consider approving a contract for a lower-division course if there are compelling and extenuating circumstances. In this case, the student should provide written justification to the Honors College at the time their proposal is submitted.
Considerations before submitting an Honors Contract
An Honors Contract should reflect an experience that is qualitatively different from that which non-Honors students enrolled in the same course will have and should also show evidence of engaging with one or more of the Elements of Honors. The Honors Contract should identify an individualized set of assignments, experiences, and/or activities that provide some or all of the elements of the Honors course experience to an individual student enrolled in a non-Honors course. It must be submitted by the date specified on the Honors College website.
Ideally, an Honors Contract project is the combination of the student’s academic interests and goals with the professor’s disciplinary expertise and guidance. It should not be written individually by either party. Because developing the project is collaborative, the student must contact the professor no later than the first week of classes of the semester about his or her interest in conducting an Honors Contract. Students are strongly encouraged to contact their professors before the start of the semester in which the contract project will be conducted to give both parties maximum time to develop a meaningful, creative project.
Institutional Review Board:
If a proposed project requires you to survey or to test human subjects or animals, you must know whether IRB approval is required prior to submitting your Honors Contract. If this is a possibility, consult the IRB Review categories, guidelines and forms at the Research & Graduate Studies website
Sources for Funding:
Occasionally, Honors Contract projects require funding for material or travel. The following are potential sources of funding. Please see individual webpages for policies and deadlines.
Honors Contract Steps
1. Students, with guidance from their sponsoring professor, will fill out the Honors Contract Proposal Form completely, providing relevant details about the nature and scope of the project.
2. Students will then submit the completed Contract Proposal to their professor for final approval.
3. Once complete, the Honors Contract Proposal Form should be emailed as an attachment by the sponsoring professor to the Honors College at email@example.com The college will not accept proposals submitted in any other way.
4. Contract Proposals are reviewed by Honors Faculty Fellows and Honors Executive Board Members. Faculty review Contract Proposals based on their academic discipline.
5. Honors Contract Proposals are reviewed based on the following primary criteria:
- The nature of the project is described clearly and in full detail;
- All major activities and student performance expectations are clearly described;
- The project is clearly related to the course, but also significantly goes beyond the standard activities and expectations for the course;
- Activities allow for a more direct, “hands-on” academic experience than would otherwise be possible in the course;
- There are clear and reasonable timelines, goals, and objectives;
- The project has reasonable rigor and scope to merit Honors credit for course.
6. The Honors College will notify students via their FGCU email if their Contract Proposal is approved. If a proposal requires revision prior to approval, the faculty member reviewing the proposal will email the student and sponsoring faculty member with details and a new deadline for revision.
7. At the conclusion of the semester, the Honors College will contact the sponsoring faculty member requesting that he or she directly email the Honors College to confirm if the student has successfully completed the Honors Contract.
8. Students who successfully complete an Honors Contract and earn at least a “B” grade in the related course will receive Honors credit for the class.