Honors Contracts and Capstone Projects

Honors Contracts

Students can earn honors credit for almost any course by working with faculty to complete an Honors Contract. The student and instructor agree on an out-of-class project and then work together to create a contract outlining what the student will do, in addition to the regular course work, to complete the project and receive honors credit. Students should contact the professor during the first 3 weeks of the semester to learn more about the course, discuss project options and to prepare the contract. Honors contracts can only be completed after the student has completed HONR 1040.

Ideally, an Honors Contract should create a partnership of mutual benefit to the student and faculty member. For the honors student, the contract should involve a project or activity that takes him/her deeper into the course subject and results in an experience highly relevant to his/her preparation as a professional. For the faculty member, the contract work should be an opportunity to try innovative or professionally interesting projects or activities that would be difficult to do for an entire class. In all cases, Honors Contract work should strive for achievement in at least one of these three areas: scholarship, leadership, or service. The contract may be achieved in many ways as long as the work is relevant to the subject of the course. Above all, the Honors Contract should strive to be creative, original and/or interesting and never feel like "busy work" for either the student or the faculty member involved.

Honors Capstone Project

To conclude their work in the honors program, honors students must complete an honors capstone in order to qualify for graduation with University Honors. Students may choose from these capstone endeavors:

  1. An honors thesis,
  2. An experiential project,
  3. A creative project or,
  4. A capstone within their major

Regardless of what the student chooses, all capstone projects must be approved and guided by the honors administration.

We suggest students begin working on their capstone in their junior year or four semesters prior to graduation. We offer a capstone class (HONR 4040) that will help students through the process. This course is not required, but strongly encouraged.

All capstone projects need to be presented at an academic conference (WRHC, FOE, etc). The final completed capstone documents must be submitted to the honors office three weeks before the last day of class of the student’s last semester prior to graduation. We strongly recommend that students complete their capstone before their final semester to allow time to disseminate the results at local, regional, and national venues.

    An honors thesis is a great opportunity to work with a faculty mentor on an independent research/creative capstone project. An honors thesis is the culmination of an honors education, offering the student a chance to pursue academic or creative work of their own choosing to sum up their undergraduate academic experience. Typically carried out over the course of a year, the completed project is reported in an extended, formal, academic paper. Employers and graduate schools value the creativity, dedication, and effort required to complete a thesis.
    Creative or experiential projects are diverse and should integrate academic research into a project that demonstrates mastery of a creative or experiential endeavor. These projects could include performing or visual arts, professional portfolios, study abroad, internships, leadership activities, and more.
    Several majors include a capstone project as part of their requirements for graduation. Honors students may use their capstone in their major to fulfill their honors capstone requirement. The capstone must meet all of the department criteria while also moving beyond the average project in terms of preparation, reach, time, imagination, and/or reflection.

View examples of capstone project by honors graduates.