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Information for Contracting Courses

Honors Programs and universities often encourage Honors students to contract courses as an opportunity for intrinsically motivated students to attain knowledge in a manner that reaches towards academic excellence and instills Honors-based learning outcomes. This is done when a student cannot attend an Honors course that semester.

Contract Examples By Course

This link is provided to allow professors to see examples of previously completed contracts in a number of courses. This resource is meant for both students and faculty to gather ideas of Honors-level work.

Page Resources


Video 1: Creating, Submitting, and Completing contract work between professor and student


Workflow for Contracting:


Video 2: Designing Mutually Benefical Contracts

Basic ideas are from "One Hand Washes the Other: Designing Mutually Beneficial Honors Contracts" (Bambina, 2020)
Full text posted below in Chapter 5 from Building Honors Contracts: Insights and Oversights.

Examples of Mutually Beneficial Contracts

Teaching Tools
Contract Benefit to Faculty Benefit to Student Example
Conducting a literature review of recent publications Provides faculty with up-to-date knowledge in their disciplines. Enables faculty keep up with the regularly published journals and the changing needs and sentiments of students. Teaches students key skills such as how to complete a relevant literature review and define what constitutes good research and professional writing. A pre-med student can do a literature review that explores the debate
surrounding how doctors use technology to communicate with
their patients.
Honors students research and produce electronic content that faculty can use in online classes Provides faculty with informative and educational media content. Informative and a great learning experience for the student Nursing students can take a trip to England and create a video contrasting nursing in the  United Kingdom with nursing in the United States.


Collaborative Research
Contract Benefit to Faculty Benefit to Student Example
Honors students can work on examined research, data collection, and analysis Provides help and saves time for the lecturer The students
enjoy both a focused learning experience and an opportunity to share their findings at a conference
Students work with their professor to compare obesity rates in Japan
with the United States.
Honors students can
be involved in the publication process in many ways: collecting
articles for a literature review, assisting with experiments, collecting
and/or analyzing specimens or data, and drafting or editing
parts of the text.
Faculty gains precious
assistance and support in accomplishing essential academic
and professional goals
Enable students to build concrete, meaningful
research and professional experience
Students find and summarize
a group of case studies to be included in a textbook that the faculty member is


Promotional Material
Contract Benefit to Faculty Benefit to Student Example
Creating promotional material such as a newsletter, brochure,
presentation, or web video
Faculty benefit
from the experience and effort of honors students in creating
relatable, timely promotional materials, especially for a college-age
Teaches students how to present an overview
of a subject in a way that will catch peoples' attention
Marine biology students can go on an educational trip and create a video showcasing their activities and what they learned.


Grant Applications
Contract Benefit to Faculty Benefit to Student Example
Honors students can perform preliminary searches for promising grants, complete literature reviews, compile topic histories, locate
supporting documents, collect and analyze preliminary data, and
contribute to budget drafts.
Faculty gains precious
assistance and support in grant applications
Working through the entire process
gives students valuable experience in how to identify and apply for
a grant, experience that they can use in their future careers
Students can work with faculty on a grant application to increase funding for researching alternative electric vehicle fuel cells.


Community Engagement
Contract Benefit to Faculty Benefit to Student Example
Honors students can be involved in community development exercises Helps faculty member to pursue not only professional
obligations but also personal research interests in the community
Students also get the fulfillment that comes from helping the community. A professor who
works with the Spanish-speaking community, for example, devised
a project that sent a group of honors students in a Spanish language
course into that community to inquire about services they received,
their level of satisfaction with them, and services that were lacking


Intrinsic Motivation for Honors Students Explained*

Figure 2.1 - Teaching approaches in honors education and related teaching strategies. (table from Wolfensberger, 2012)

Creating community

  • Interaction, (peer) feedback, active learning
  • Encouragement, joy, inspiration
  • Availability, interest in students, committment

Enhancing academic competence

  • Multi- and interdisciplinary thinking, multiple perspectives
  • Scholarly teaching, academic depth, involvement in research
  • Challenging learning tasks, difficulty, acceleration

Offering freedom

  • Flexibility, allow for self-regulation, openness
  • Innovative teaching, experimentation, fun
  • Professionalism, novice relationship, challenges

*The "Intrinsic Motivation for Honors Students Explained" Venn diagram is a synoptic reworking of Wolfensberger's (2012) interpretation of "Motivational Theory" as researched and pioneered by Deci & Ryan (2000). Their interpretation is summarized by Wolfensberger:

Deci and Ryan have convincingly shown in their work that there are three essential psychological needs or conditions that motivate a person: psychological relatedness, competence (increasing mastery of any field, skill, or routine and the inherent satisfaction and confidence that come with increasing mastery) and autonomy.

Building Honors Contracts: Insights and Oversights

Kritine A. Miller

This E-book is brought to you for free and open access by the National Collegiate Honors Council at DigitalCommons @University of Nebraska - Lincoln. It has been accepted for inclusion in NCHC Monograph Series by an authorized administrator of DigitalCommons @University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


Miller, K.A., ed. (2020). Building Honors Contracts: Insights and Oversights. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series.

Bambina, A. (2020) "One Hand Washes the Other: Designing Mutually Beneficial Honors Contracts".

Wolfensberger, M. (2012). Teaching for excellence: Honors pedagogies revealed. New York: Waxmann.