Honors Elections

Students are required to complete a total of five honors elections over their entire course of study in the four-year Honors program, three during the Freshman/Sophomore phase of the program and two during the Junior/Senior phase.

  • Two elections must be outside the student’s major area of concentration.
  • One election may be a service election (see below).

To complete an honors election, the student develops an independent study project in conjunction with any regular course. Honors elections may not be completed for HON 155, 156, 251, 252 or 498.

The student approaches the professor early in the semester, and plans a study project which requires at least 15 hours of extra work over the semester. The student and the professor agree upon a time line and sign an Honors Election Contract.

Honors election projects serve to supplement in depth or in breadth the regular content or experience of the course. They may include the following:

  • a short essay, lab report, book report, or research paper
  • an additional assignment for the course
  • a performance review
  • an oral presentation
  • a performance
  • field work or report on field work
  • a conference presentation
  • a study of another culture attached to a foreign language course
  • any project considered appropriate by the instructor as a means to extend the breadth or depth of the course


A service election requiring a minimum of 30 hours of service may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

  • A community service project completed through the Center for Civic Engagement.
  • A service project within the university. The project is completed under the auspices of a professor, generally in connection with a course. It may also be completed under the auspices of the supervisor of a department (for example, the Head of Circulation in the library).
  • A service project within or in connection with the Honors Program under the auspices of the Honors Director or the Honors Director’s designate.

Honors elections in the form of independent study projects, conference presentations, field research projects and the like may be completed in conjunction with independent study courses HON 292 and 393 subject to the approval of the supervising professor and the Honors Director.

Honors elections do not receive a grade. Instead, the work is evaluated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory by the instructor, and the results reported on the appropriate form to the Honors Program Secretary. The evaluation is not used in arriving at a grade for the course.