Honors Learning-by-Contract (HLBC)

When no honors section of a desired class is offered, the Honors College allows students and faculty to work together to transform a non-honors class into an honors credit-earning experience. Students may gain approval for this process by creating a plan of study to deepen their understanding of course material and/or further explore a related area of interest.

HLBC option provides a way to earn honors credit for non-honors courses through additional reading assignments, written work, and a presentation of findings.


  • Students may earn up to nine (9) credits through HLBC.
  • HLBCs are not permitted for the following:
    • First-year students
    • Courses with an honors section offered in the same semester
    • Summer sessions less than eight (8) weeks
    • Self-paced or online asynchronous courses
  • If the instructor is not a faculty member (i.e., a graduate student), student must also receive permission from the Chair of the instructor’s department. More info for faculty.
  • Student should discuss a plan of study with the faculty member prior to submitting the proposal. Group projects are encouraged but each student’s contributions must be clearly defined.
  • The ‘H’ designation will be manually added to a student’s academic profile when the proposal is approved. If the student fails to complete the work or does not receive a grade of ‘B’ or better for the class, the honors designation will be removed and no honors credit will be awarded.
    • Technically, the HLBC is not graded. The grading structure of the class will not change; students earn honors credit through the additional work of the HLBC.
  • Student will complete an end-of-term reflection on the added learning and the faculty member will sign off to confirm that all work has been completed.
    Failure to submit the HLBC Reflection Form will result in NOT receiving the honors (‘H’) designation for the course.

Submitting an HLBC Proposal

The HLBC proposal should provide a detailed description of the additional coursework the student plans to complete under the guidance of a faculty member. The student should consider potential projects/areas of interest they would like to explore further as related to the course and then meet with the faculty member to develop the proposal.

All HLBC proposals should include the following four components:
  1. Rationale: A brief description of the project and what you hope to learn through this process.
  2. Research & workload: A weekly plan that lists additional coursework (readings, assignments, proposals, etc.) and/or research queries that amounts to 30-45 hours of honors-level work beyond the regular class syllabus AND a description of the final project or essay. If the culminating project is an essay, it should be at least 10-12 typed, double-spaced pages.
  3. Continued engagement with the instructor: A description or list of when and how often the student will meet with the faculty member. It is recommended that students maintain bi-weekly meetings throughout the semester to discuss progress on the project, with a minimum of 4-5 meetings.
  4. Public presentation: A description of how, when, and where the student will present their findings to a broad audience, i.e., not just the instructor.
  5. HLBC Reflection: Completed form to be signed by instructor and student and submitted by student by Reading Day.


HLBC Proposal Form

HLBC Reflection Form

Once completed and signed by student and faculty member, submit this form via email to MizzouHonors@missouri.edu or 210 Lowry Hall by the official deadline.

Note: If any significant changes are made to an HLBC plan after the proposal has been approved, the student must notify the Honors College (MizzouHonors@missouri.edu) for approval of the changes.

HLBC Timeline

  • Proposals are due to the Honors College by Friday at 5 pm of Week 2. Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.
  • HLBC work should be started no later than Week 2.
  • HLBC work should be completed no later than Week 14.
  • Reflections are due by Reading Day.

The following restrictions and policies apply to summer terms:

  • Students are limited to one (1) HLBC per summer term.
  • HLBCs can only be used for eight (8) week sessions.
  • Proposals are due by Friday at 5 pm of Week 1.
  • Reflections are due by Friday at 5 pm on the last day of the class.