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Earning Honors Credit

There are multiple ways to earn Honors credit.  You can register for an Honors course or section, do a "course contract" to turn a regular course into an Honors experience, do Honors independent study or research or even take graduate courses for Honors credit!

Honors Course Contracts
Honors Independent Study
Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Honors Credit

Honors courses are intended to be “enriched,” not accelerated. Although the content of an Honors course will be largely the same as a non-honors course, the class activities will require a student to interact differently and at a deeper level than in a non-honors course. For instance, one could expect increased discussion, critical essays, creative projects, and group presentations instead of rote memorization or multiple-choice tests. Overall, students prefer their Honors courses over their non-honors courses, although they do admit that the Honors courses can be more time-consuming.

Over 300 Honors courses from each of the nine academic colleges at Texas A&M are offered annually. Subject to prerequisite or other department registration requirements, any TAMU undergraduate with a cumulative 3.5 GPR is eligible to register for Honors sections. For a current course listing, refer to http://howdy.tamu.edu. You can also find more information about finding Honors sections in our FAQ.

Honors students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with Honors Advisors to help select courses that will allow them to complete Honors Fellows.

Options for Honors Credit

In addition to registering for a listed Honors course, eligible students may pursue one or more of the following options to obtain Honors credit:

Honors Course Contracts

Honors Course Contracts allow students in the University Honors Program (or one of the several college or departmental Honors programs) to receive Honors credit for non-Honors courses. In essence, a student proposes to "contract" the course for Honors credit by proposing alternate or additional activities to those listed by the instructor in the course syllabus; these activities should allow the student to emulate the experience of an Honors course and should augment the course activities, not simply add to them. The proposed activities must be approved by the instructor and the University Honors Program, and are copied to the instructor's department head. Honors credit is given at the end of the semester once the student has satisfactorily completed the activities described in the Honors Course Contract application. Honors credit will be applied to the student’s transcript after final grades for the class have posted. See our section on Teaching Honors Courses for examples of projects that you might consider for your Honors Course Contract.

There are two main questions that need to be answered for an Honors Course Contract: how will your plan of study differ from what is on the regular syllabus? And, what will be your basis for a grade?

We do track students who repeatedly fail to complete contract requirements and may not approve future contracts since wasting faculty time and energy jeopardizes the opportunity for all students.

Plan of Study
Honors-caliber study is not simply doing more work or more difficult work; instead, Honors study should expect higher-order or more complex work. In order to approve your contract, we need to see that your plan of study provides a more complex experience than what is described in the non-Honors syllabus. (see http://hur.tamu.edu/Faculty-Staff/Getting-Involved-in-Honors/Teaching-Honors-Classes for examples).

Basis for Grade
This section should clearly explain if and how your Honors Course Contract work will affect the grading policy described in the non-Honors syllabus. This requirement gives us a way to help address any disputes that might arise later. There is a range of possibility, as shown in the examples below:

  • My Honors contract will not affect my course grade. If I do not complete the Honors contract work, I will not receive Honors credit.
  • My Honors contract work will count for 20% of my course grade, with the other grade categories reduced proportionally.
  • The Honors versions of my class assignments will be weighted the same as described in the syllabus, but will be evaluated with a higher standard as described in my plan of study.

Applications for Honors Course Contracts are due by the 20th class day of the semester. For complete instructions, refer to the Honors Course Contract application, which is available on the Forms & Downloads page.

Honors Independent Study

Students who intend to conduct an independent research or directed study project should apply for Honors Independent Study. An Honors Candidate who wishes to pursue Honors Independent Study must 1) identify a professor to serve as advisor and develop a semester-long plan of study or research, 2) complete and submit an application for Honors Independent Study, 3) execute the project. Honors credit will be applied to the student’s transcript after final grades have posted. Honors Independent Study may be used in conjunction with the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. Applications for Honors Independent Study are due by the 20th class day of the semester. For further information, consult the Honors Independent Study application, available on the Forms & Downloads page.

Graduate Course Work for Honors Credit

Any graduate course work taken at Texas A&M for undergraduate credit will be considered as Honors credit for Honors Students. Note that graduate credit hours earned toward an undergraduate degree may not be used again toward a graduate degree. Students who intend to enroll in graduate-level course work should confer with an Honors Advisor.