National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



Miller, K.A., ed. 2020. Building Honors Contracts: Insights and Oversights. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series. pp 127-147.


Copyright © 2020 by National Collegiate Honors Council.


Honors contracts can be valuable curricular assets if aligned with institutional goals and properly supported to overcome the challenges they sometimes present. At Columbus State University (CSU), honors contracts allow students to achieve one of our primary learning outcomes: honors graduates will demonstrate the ability to design independent inquiry projects that require critical and creative thinking. We believe graduate schools value this ability, and we know that employers in our community seek honors graduates who can work independently on extended projects, communicate effectively, and solve problems analytically and creatively. We achieve this important learning outcome by requiring a senior project or thesis and use honors contracts as a tool to develop students’ research skills, connect their academics with personal goals, and help them to grow as professionals in their fields. With adequate planning and structured assessments, honors contracts can be a valuable part of the honors curriculum and an efficient strategy for maximizing limited resources. At CSU, honors contracts have evolved from an economic necessity that replaced upper-division honors offerings to an essential component of our curriculum that provides fundamentally different educational experiences than traditional honors courses.