Honors Program Contract Information
What a Contract Is
An alternative to Honors courses as a way to earn honors units, an Honors Contract is a signed agreement between an Honors Program student and an instructor in a non-honors course, outlining an independent program of study designed by the student and instructor. The contract is completed concurrently with a non-Honors course. As in the Honors courses, students explore a specific topic in greater depth and/or breadth. Honors Contracts function like an independent study, allowing students to work with a mentoring instructor to complete a substantial project as the centerpiece of the contract. Upon completion and approval of the project, the student earns honors credit toward completion of the Honors Program.
- Proposal: completed and approved contract request outlining specific honors-level objectives, tasks, and culminating project in addition to the objectives and assignments of the regular class.
- Meetings and project: Honors contracts may vary in format, but all require regular meetings with the course instructor and culminate in some tangible evidence of the student's additional effort, demonstrating greater breadth and/or depth of the course subject. This evidence must be in addition to, not an extension of, a paper or an assignment already given in the course. The contract project must be a ten-page research paper or an equivalent project.
- Grading: To earn honors credit, the student must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA, maintain contact with the instructor, satisfactorily complete the contract requirements, and earn a passing grade in the regular course.
To complete the Honors Program, students must complete at least 16 honors units, either through courses, contracts, or a combination. Honors courses earn an additional unit beyond the non-honors course, and for the purposes of the Honors Program, the units of honors credit through contracts will be counted the same way, e.g., a three-unit non-honors course will count as four units of honors credit toward the required 16 honors units, even though only three units appear on the student's transcript.
Who Can Enroll
Contracts are limited to students who have been accepted to the Honors Program, have at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and are currently enrolled in the course associated with the contract. With approval of the Honors Program Coordinator, exceptions can be made for students close to Honors Program acceptance. At the IWV campus in Ridgecrest, Honors Program students must take honors classes and will be limited to a maximum of one contract per student.
Classes Eligible for Contracts
Any UC-transferable Cerro Coso course of 3 or more units is eligible for honors contracts. However, for IWV students, contract requests will no longer be approved for classes regularly offered as honors classes, except in extenuating circumstances. Please refer to the long-term honors schedule and plan accordingly.
How to Enroll
First find an instructor willing to work on an honors contract. Then submit a completed Honors Contract Request application to the Honors Program Coordinator. Successful applications will describe a project of sufficient rigor, give detailed plans to complete the project, and list scheduled meeting dates for the semester.
When to Enroll
Contract requests, including any necessary revisions, are due before the end of second week of the fall or spring semester and the end of the first week during the summer session. No exceptions. Additionally, no contract work or meetings can occur before the contract request is approved.
Limit on Contracts
Because of the amount of work required, students are limited to two contracts per fall or spring semester and one contract during summer session. Honors Program students at IWV are limited to a maximum of one contract. The remaining honors units must be completed through honors courses.
By the end of the semester, students must complete all tasks outlined on the approved contract request, receive the mentoring instructor's approval for contract completion, and forward the final project and signed completion form to the Honors Program coordinator.
The forms linked below, can be returned to the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Christine Swiridoff.
- Sample Honors Contracts
- Contract Meeting Log