Centennial Honors College

In-Course Honors Guidelines


In-course honors is a study contract between the student and faculty member. The student conducts a project within the context of an approved course and under the guidance of the instructor. Work performed must be above and beyond the requirements of the course.


In-course honors should be viewed as an agreement. It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Initiate contact with the faculty member to discuss a project and obtain the instructor’s approval
  • Submit the Honors Project Application by the deadline and stay on task with project requirements
  • Communicate changes regarding the honors contract (canceled project, dropped course, etc.) to the instructor and/or honors advisor
  • Maintain your own copy of the in-course application


In-course honors should be a meaningful experience for the student, engaging in a one to one mentoring relationship with the instructor. Faculty members will want to:

  • Meet with the student periodically to guide and review the student’s progress.
  • Challenge the student to approach the material from alternative perspectives.
  • Provide opportunities for the student to develop research skills.
  • Facilitate connections between the course and other relevant professional or disciplinary interests the student may have.
  • Where appropriate, involve the student in collaborative research or professional activities (co-authoring, etc.).


Honors contracts should promote:

  • deeper exploration of a course topic
  • investigation of new or alternate ideas
  • connection of course content and field experiences
  • cultivation of multidisciplinary perspectives
  • skill development – critical thinking, performance, professional practice


Honors projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Writing a scholarly paper that expands upon a topic covered in the course
  • Conducting interpretive or creative writing within the context of the course
  • Developing teaching materials such as a test, handouts or presentation
  • Performing field experience – interview, site observation, field research
  • Researching a topic and presenting your findings to the class
  • Giving a musical or theatrical performance or participating in a public debate


Students involving human participants or animal subjects in their research are responsible for obtaining approval BEFORE beginning a project. If you are unsure if you need approval, contact the Office of Sponsored Projects. 


If a project is completed satisfactorily, the course will be designated as an honors course on the student’s official transcript by the addition of an H suffix to the course number. (An H cannot be added to study abroad or bridge courses since they already contain an S or B suffix. Some departments will not approve honors projects in bridge courses; prior approval by the department is required.)

Steps to Complete an Honors Project
Decide on an appropriate project in an eligible course. Some majors have an approved course list; check your major's honors requirements if you are unsure.

Contact the instructor to secure approval for the project and to discuss the requirements, including the objectives and timeline. Keep in mind that in-course honors should be a collaborative activity and the instructor may suggest changes or alternative projects.

Submit the online Honors Project Application within the first four weeks of the semester. You can find the application at wiu.edu/honorsforms. Retain a copy of the application for your own records.

Your instructor will be contacted to confirm the information submitted on your application. If there are questions or discrepancies, you will be required to address those with the instructor before the project will be approved.

At the end of the semester, we will verify with your instructor whether or not your project has been completed.
  Be Prepared to Answer the Following Questions on the Application  

Type of Project:  Example - Summative Report, Oral Presentation, Performance, Thesis Research, etc.

Describe the General Concept of your Project:  Treat this like the short title of a paper. The purpose is to provide a general idea of the subject of your work.

Major Steps: Indicate the primary steps you will complete to earn honors credit which are above and beyond the regular course requirements. For honors-only classes (honors recital, honors seminar, thesis, etc.), briefly describe your major steps in completing the course/project.

Indicate whether your project involves human or animal subjects.  If so, you are required to obtain the appropriate training and approval before you start your project. Contact irb@wiu.edu to determine if your project requires research compliance.