Honors College Office of the Provost

Course Contracts for Students


Honors College contract courses ideally require something qualitatively different rather than something quantitatively more. These courses are always academic classes (no P.E. or participation) and should be a class that peaks your interest. It should be something you would like to learn more about, as you will be doing extra work based around the subject of the class.

Please remember that this is a signed agreement between you and the participating faculty member. Course contracts should be treated with respect, and followed through to completion.

Below you will find more information on how to contract a course.  As always if you have any questions about the process, contact your advisor.

Steps to Contracting a Course:

Discuss your idea ...

Discuss your idea with the professor, who must hold the PhD or appropriate terminal degree in his/her field or obtain permission from their department head. This step should ideally be undertaken during the semester prior to enrollment, as you are developing your course schedule for the next semester. If not, begin discussions with your professor during the first week of the class.

Formalize your idea with your professor ...

Following your initial discussion, formalize your ideas with your professor by developing answers to the two questions found in the contract documents in WorkFlow. These questions are discussed in detail below.

Start the WorkFlow process ...

To start the Honors Contract WorkFlow process, contact your Honors Advisor to explain which class you want to contract and confirm that you have already spoken with your professor. Email your professor the answers to two of you developed in "step 2" so he/she will be prepared to submit the contract

Confirm the contract online ...

After your advisor starts the WorkFlow process, your professor will receive an email requesting the submission of the contract details. Once the professor submits it, you will then receive an email asking you to confirm the contract online. The contract will then be submitted to the department head for approval. Contracts must be completed by the 15th day of classes. It is to your advantage to complete this step as soon as possible (perhaps even during the prior semester), since you may be required to make revisions in the contract. Contracts that appear to be last minute efforts to gain Honors credit, rather than well-conceived Honors plans, will not be well received. Late contracts will be considered only under truly exceptional circumstances.

Revise if needed ...

The Honors College Director makes the final recommendations no later than the end of the third week of classes. Copies of approved contracts are sent through Workflow to student, instructor, and department head. Contracts that must be revised are returned to the student with suggestions from the director.

Submit and verify ...

Final completion of your contract will be verified by the instructor through WorkFlow. Failure to submit final certification for the course contract will result in no Honors credit being awarded for completion of the course.


Contracts are due by the 15th day of classes

Once students decide which class they would like to contract they should contact their professor within the first full week of classes to ensure that they have plenty of time to discuss the contract and submit the contract online.

Making First Contact:

There are a number of ways to contact faculty about starting a contract. Contracts are an excellent way to engage in conversation with your professor and will build relationships that may prove helpful in future endeavors. The preferred way to make first contact is to take the initiative and call or visit them during their office hours. We have also created an email template for you to use for your first discussion.  It is highly suggested to personalize this document.

Answer These Two Questions:

Work with your professor to answer the below questions. These questions will compose the contract that your professor submits online.

Describe the Honors component of the course, discussing the nature of the project, how this project constitutes "Honors," and the nature of a "consolidating experience.

Be as specific as possible in describing what you will do, and how this will create a stronger, more effective, and coherent experience. Include references to specific readings and/or methodologies where appropriate, lengths of required papers or reports, number and nature of presentations, etc. Research papers are typically 8-10 double spaced pages but certain other projects may include a shorter report.

 How does the Honors component differ from normal course expectation?

 A copy of the course syllabus may be submitted, if needed to illustrate. Address if the Honors component will be factored into the final grade in the course and, if so, what the grading expectations will be.

Sample Contracts:

Below are real contracts you can use as examples. Personal information has been redacted. 

Example One

Example Two

Example Three

Example Four

Example Five

Example Six

Example Seven

Example Eight

Suggested Components: 

  1. Where the course calls for a research paper, an Honors paper might use primary sources, incorporate a substantial literature review that connects the topic to the broader issues in the field, include primary data derived from student research (oral histories or other interviews, statistical analysis, laboratory experimentation), etc. Honors research papers are typically 8-10 double-spaced pages. If yours is shorter, explain why.
  2. Where additional readings or reports are indicated, it is best that these readings or reports be synthesized as part of a larger Honors component. For example, an essay involving a comparison/contrast of regularly assigned readings with the specially selected seminal readings would be appropriate.
  3. The Honors component might include a substantial programming project or extended fieldwork or laboratory experience, concluding with a final report of at least 8-10 double- spaced pages, including a narrative part of at least 5-7 pages, outlining the experience and the conclusions reached or experience gained.
  4. Where teaching one or more classes is indicated, it is best for the professor to provide guidance in organization and content to insure that the material enhances and supports the intention of the class. In this case, the written component would typically consist of a report of 5-7 pages on the topics covered in the lectures.
  5. Where the course is a cross-listed undergraduate/graduate-level course (where the undergraduate and graduate courses are taught by a single instructor at a common time), the student may complete the graduate-level syllabus in order to meet the qualitative, culminating Honors experience that is expected when contracting a course.

Details to Workflow:

WorkFlow is on online system in AU Access that allows paperwork to be sent to different parties via email. All correspondence through WorkFlow will come from Auburn University WorkFlow < workflow@auburn.edu >.


  1. Contact your Honors Advisor to inform them which class you wish to contract, remember to include the class listing and title (COMM 1000: Public Speaking).
  2. Your professor is the first person to receive the contract via WorkFlow. Once they approve the contract then it will then be emailed to you for your approval.
  3. Follow the directions stated in the email fromm Auburn University WorkFlow on how to access the document via your AU Access. Login to AU Access-> “My Academic” tab-> under “Student Records” -> the last link listed “Honors College Contract Agreement."
  4. Read through the details of your Honors College contract to ensure they are correct then select the “complete” button.


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Last modified: January 23, 2020