Honors Option Contracts

  • Honors Option Contracts are agreements between students and faculty that allow Honors credit to be awarded to a student enrolled in a regular section of a course upon completion of a significant Honors experience or project.

  • H-option requests originate with the student who should bring you the Certification of H-Option Completion Form as you discuss the terms of the Honors contract.  Once the form is completed, the instructor signs, the department head signs, and the student signs and delivers the form to the Honors Program offices.  Forms are due by the 14th day of the course semester (7th class day for term and summer classes).

  • Honors will contact faculty via email in the last two weeks of class to certify (or deny) completion of the terms of the contract and awarding of Honors credit.  Certification must take place prior to the last day of class.

 

FAQs for H-Options

Is my course eligible for an H-option?

Generally, Honors does not allow a student to H-option a course for which we have a regular Honors equivalent. 

Some departments (e.g., Kinesiology and Nursing) have designated certain courses as their preferred H-option courses.  Check with your department head if you are uncertain, but most courses are eligible for H-option.

Do I have to agree to oversee a student’s H-option?

While we certainly hope you will support Honors students in their quest to earn the Honors Diploma, it is up to the professor whether or not to accept a student’s request to complete an H-option.

What kinds of assignments are appropriate for the Honors component in the course?

The nature of the work will vary from course to course, but Honors contracts should all have in common that they leave students with additional experience, insight, and/or academic rigor than they would have gotten without the contract.

Contracts frequently include these kinds of elements:

  • Additional readings
  • Readings beyond the level of other course material (e.g. journal articles)
  • Extra reflection assignments
  • Design of parts of the student’s senior thesis (e.g. prospectus, literature review)
  • Submission of a work from the course for competition, presentation, or publication
  • Completion of extra labs
  • Grading of assignments with a higher level of expectations (e.g. expecting senior-level performance in lower-level course assignments or graduate level performance in senior courses)
  • Presentation of H-option project

Can a student earn H-option credit in a course for work on the senior thesis?

Yes.

Can I see some sample H-option contracts?

Contact the Honors department at honors@southeastern.edu. We would be happy to provide you with some models from past semesters.

Can I have multiple students work together on an H-option?

While they’ll each need to fill out a separate form, if multiple students in a course wish to complete the H-option, a group assignment would be perfectly acceptable.

When should I make the project due?

H-option certifications are due by the last regular day of class. Setting the due date for completion of the Honors contract a few weeks before the end of the semester gives you time to evaluate, ask for revisions, and/or certify in a timely manner.

Is there a minimum grade a student must earn to receive Honors credit in my course?

The minimum level grade for awarding Honors credit should be spelled out in the H-option contract.

Some departments insist on ‘A’ level work from Honors students to entertain awarding Honors credits.  Other departments feel that the rigor of Honors work is such that a ‘C’ grade in an Honors course reflects average level work on above-average level rigor.  While Honors students typically do excellent work, deciding this issue in advance with the student can save a lot of anguish later.

What happens to the student’s grade if they do not complete the H-option work?

It depends on how the contract was written. 

Some contracts are written such that the baseline grade in the course is affected by the Honors component.  For example, if the Honors contract required a student to give longer speeches, write more in-depth papers, or take an essay exam rather than the multiple choice exam other students were taking, the student’s performance on the Honors component of the course would necessarily affect the student’s final grade in the course. 

Other contracts are written such that students complete extra work beyond the regular course requirements (e.g., an extra paper and presentation).  In these instances, should a student not complete the Honors component of the course, the professor could simply grade the student as regular and deny the issuance of the Honors credit at the end of the term.

How is the Honors credit indicated on the student’s transcript?

Once Honors receives your email confirming the student completed the terms of the H-option contract, Honors contacts the records office which adds an ‘H’ to the course number on the student’s transcripts (e.g., ECON 201 becomes ECON 201H).

Will I receive extra compensation for overseeing H-option contracts?

While the Honors Program wishes it had the budget to compensate faculty for mentoring students in H-option contracts, sadly, we do not. Many departments, however, consider mentoring of students in undergraduate research as an important area of the annual evaluation. The Honors Program appreciates the invaluable support your willingness to work with Honors students provides.