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 also find the application at wiu.edu/honorsforms. Retain a copy of the application for your own records.

The CHC will contact the instructor 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 by the CHC.

At the end of the semester, the CHC will verify completion of the project with your instructor.
  Sample Application Questions and Responses about the Honors Project

Project Topic: Briefly state the topic of your project. (Treat this like the title of a paper.)

The Immigration Act of 1963

Work Product: Indicate the anticipated product(s) of your project (e.g. summative report, presentation, performance, thesis research/writing)

Literature review, oral presentation

Major Steps: Indicate the important steps necessary to complete the project

Discuss possible resources with instructor
Collect & organize relevant source materials
Complete lit review, prepare PowerPoint
Make 10-15 minute presentation to the class

Honors Credit: State how this project is above and beyond what you are already doing in the class.

This project will help make connections between the course content and religious developments occurring in my hometown. I also hope to use this project to explore a potential topic for my thesis research.