Honors Contract (For Faculty)

Note: This page is for faculty and staff. If you are a student looking for honors contract information, click here.

The Purpose of an Honors Contract

For students in the University Honors Program, the honors contract allows members to earn honors credit for a non-honors class. The credit can be applied towards the requirements to graduate with University Honors.

For students not in the University Honors Program, the honors contract can be used to earn credit towards Honors in the Major. A student must have a 3.30 UI cumulative g.p.a. to be able to access the form.

Work done for an honors contract should be qualitatively different in nature from that already assigned for the class. For example, honors contract work may rely on primary sources not formally introduced in the class or it may focus more intensively on particular topics. Honors contracts will ideally help both the student and instructor. For example, you may have the student do a project that covers material useful for the entire class to know and then present it to the class, or the student may research a topic you wish to cover in a future offering of the course and discuss it with you. See project examples below.

Some of the best contract projects build on the student's unique interests; however, instructors who supervise multiple honors contracts simultaneously may choose to standardize the project assignment. (See also "options to consider" below.) In any case, we are happy to answer any questions you have to facilitate the process; email honors-program@uiowa.edu or phone 319-335-1681.

Note that contract projects cannot be graded as part of the course, only denoted as S/U. Additionally, the student must earn a B- or better in the class for an honors contract to be valid. P/N, S/U, S/F grading options are not available to Honor contract credit.

The opportunity to contract has historically been reserved for in-person classes. While remote-learning is the norm, online classes may also be contracted.

The only technical deadline for a student to finish the contract project is before they graduate from the University. They should complete the project according to your agreed upon terms. However, if issues do arise, you have the ability to report the project was satisfactory any time between the last two weeks of the contracted semester and the student's graduation date.

How to Submit an Honors Contract Form

The student is responsible for submitting the Honors Contract Form in MyUI. Students are expected to discuss the project proposal and timeline for completion with the instructor prior to submission. The Honors Contract form is available on the first day of the fall and spring semesters. The form closes on the Friday of the sixth week of classes, which is also the deadline for the degree application and may be found on the Registrar's academic calendar. Contracts are not available for Winter courses.

Approval Path

Once the student submits their Honors Contract Form, the person listed as the primary instructor will receive an email to approve the form in Universal Workflow. This means if a TA is listed as the primary instructor in MAUI then they will receive the workflow form, and they will need to forward it to you.

The instructor has the option to approve or void the contract. If it is voided, the student may resubmit a new honors contract for the class. Voided contracts are not reflected on student records.

Two weeks prior to the end of the semester, the primary instructor for the class will be prompted by email to confirm that the contract was completed satisfactorily. The student will not receive an honors designation if this form is not completed by the instructor. For assistance with workflow paths please contact the Office of the Registrar at reg-maui-support@uiowa.edu.


Students who are members of the University Honors Program who successfully compete an honors contract will see the course designated as "H" on their grade report. The "H" will appear (1) after the instructor has approved the final form confirming that the contract was completed satisfactorily and (2) the course grade is in final status.

Students who are not members of the University Honors Program who successfully complete an honors contract will see the course designated as "HC" on their grade report.

Options to consider for instructors who have frequent or repeat requests for honors contracts--

  1. Continue to contract with individual students for each to do an independent project as per the honors contract instructions above (an individualized approach)
  2. Create a group assignment or a group experience for honors students, e.g. a psychology professor met outside of class with his group of honors students to discuss a book, a chapter at a time (a group approach that offers the benefit of extra contact with each other and the professor). Honors provided the space for them to meet in the Blank Honors Center.
  3. The department may create an all-honors lab or discussion section for what is otherwise a standard class and code the section or lab as Honors, thereby eliminating the need for a contract process. Preferably the professor meets with the honors section.