The Honors Learning-by-Contract option provides students with a means of earning honors credit for a regular (non-honors) course. Students who pursue the contract should be strongly engaged in the course’s subject matter and approach and committed to doing considerably more work than is required of other students in the course, including written components, presentation of their work, and regular meetings with the faculty member about their progress.

The main goal for the HLBC is to develop a semester-long project or series of tasks that equate to at least 30 and up to 45 hours (at least two hours a week) of value-added Honors work. The proposal must present a set of assignments or approaches to learning that is the equivalent of making the entire course into an Honors experience for the student.

HLBC proposals are to be uniquely designed for every student. The student and faculty members are to work together to ensure that the proposed sequence of study is original, properly intersects with the course, and provides an interdisciplinary and unique set of outcomes. Thus, the proposal design should put forth assignments or tasks that effectively transform the course, are substantive, and require concrete submissions or performance elements to be completed at specified intervals.

*SUMMER 2020 / COVID-19*

Please note that the due dates for a summer 2020 HLBC proposal are June 12, 2020 (for the entire summer session or the first 4 weeks). For the second four weeks the due date is July 10.  All proposals should be sent directly to Dr. Bowers.

Four-week session proposals are very difficult to design and carry out. If you plan to submit one you should consult with Dr. Bowers as soon as possible, prior to the start of the summer term.

The limit is one (1) HLBC per student during SU2020.

Please direct any questions to Dr. Bowers.

Apply for an HLBC

1. Please read both the Polices, Timeline, and Guidelines information below before applying. Proposals for Fall and Spring semesters are due by the end of the second week of classes, and for Summer semesters by the end of the first week of classes. Late applications and late evaluation submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances.


2. Once you have read the above guidelines and have met with your faculty mentor to develop your proposal, please complete the form below. Please make sure to fill it out thoughtfully, completely, and in consultation with the faculty member. Every project must include some sort of public scholarship or presentation to a broad audience (not just the faculty member).


3. Once your project is complete, you will then reflect upon both the process and experience. Honors Learning-by-Contract Evaluation Forms are due by Reading Day of Fall and Spring semesters and by the last day of class for Summer semesters. Any student who fails to complete or withdraws from an HLBC without prior notice and approval from the Director of the College will be prohibited from pursuing another HLBC project unless and until they meet, in person, with the Director to explain the situation.


HLBC Examples

The following students completed projects that reached across disciplines, were creative in project designs and goals, and achieved the desired outcomes in such a way that their educational experience was not just enhanced, but was markedly improved.

  • Rebecca Ernst (Nutritional Sciences) undertook detailed research on obesity and health, resulting in a poster presentation during the Undergraduate Research Forum held each April. Her results were so impressive that she was offered a research position for the next academic year as one of a select group of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Research Interns.


  • Marilyn Haigh (Journalism and International Studies) used her time in a journalism class, 4508: Information Graphics, to hone her data analysis skills, while simultaneously interning for the US Olympic Committee. Working with massive datasets, Marilyn demonstrated facility with cleaning up the data as well as being able to tell a coherent and supported story from its information. The work that she did was instrumental in helping her get a summer fellowship with CNBC, as it was the topic that quickly became the focus of her interview for the position.


  • Amy Keller (Biology) undertook an art project in her Art 1020W class, writing a comprehensive research paper and art analysis of the painter Georges Seurat, and his works. She then went a step further, and used what she learned about Seurat’s processes and thinking, merged that with her own approach to painting and produced an original work of art that was both her own imaginings (futuristic in design) but pointillist in its style.


  • Christopher Phan (Biochemistry major) infused his English 2530 course with additional medical-based poetry, carefully researched and finely crafted, ultimately submitting his work for publication in the journal Ars Medica, as well as using it as the foundational writings for a fellowship submission. He called his experience “a process of contemplation” that was based on a research process of “discovery and innovation.”