Honors Option in a Regular Course

To be carried out successfully, an honors option for a course requires careful planning early in the semester, close collaboration between student and instructor, and a serious commitment by both parties to see the project through. 

Student information

Please consult with your instructor before filling out and submitting this form as much of the information must come from him or her. This form must be submitted by the end of the third week of the semester. A copy of your submission will be emailed to you for your records.

Note: You must formally enroll in the regular course. Completion of this form alone does not register you for the course. 

Instructor information

The following are guidelines to assist you in the development of a productive honors option. If you wish to discuss any aspect of the honors option, please email the campus Honors Coordinator, klo10@psu.edu.

  • In an honors option, the honors course project should not be an add-on to all the routine assignments. The project should also fit within the content and intent of the course syllabus.
  • The honors option course should go more deeply into methodology, structure, and theory; attack more sophisticated questions; and satisfy more rigorous standards than is generally expected.
  • Simply increasing the volume of work required does not constitute an honors option. The character and quality of the work should be augmented, but the time required for the honors project should remain commensurate with the number of credits for a comparable honors course.
  • A successful honors option experience will include planned regular meetings between the instructor and the student to review, discuss, and revise as the project develops.  Whenever possible, specific deadlines should be identified.
  • Faculty should feel free to stipulate clarifications, modifications, or alternatives to student proposals and to reject proposals which reflect no serious preliminary thought about projects worthy of honors treatment.
  • Students may not be given monetary compensation for work done for honors option credit.
  • Students may not earn honors credit for TA work.  For honors in Teaching Participation, students should refer to the Schreyer Scholars Student Handbook, Appendix II, and consult with the Honors Coordinator.

Grading

The student’s grade should reflect all of the student’s work in the course, including work done in common with other students as well as work done in the honors context. Completion of the honors portion of the course cannot be deferred without deferring the grade in the course.

Removing the option

The filing of an honors option represents a commitment by both student and instructor to see the project through.  The course may not revert to non-honors status with out the permission of the instructor. The Honors Program must also receive written notification immediately of such a change. This rule applies whether or not a student continues in the Honors Program throughout the semester.

Supervision

Honors work is to be supervised by a full-time faculty member.

An honors option should consist of a portion of the course syllabus or a related alternative to it. Describe the specific project in these terms.
Provide the rationale for this project as honors work.
The character of the work, not the quantity, should be supplemented. Describe how this honors work will replace or enhance a regular requirement of the course.
An important component of honors work is regular contact between the student and the faculty member for review and discussion of the project. Describe the agreement reached and deadlines envisioned for meeting this requirement. Written final projects should have a first-draft deadline to permit revisions incorporating instructor suggestions.