Types of Honors Courses

Honors courses at UConn can take a variety of administrative forms. “Honors courses” are those in which enrolled students earn Honors credit automatically upon earning a B- or better, as opposed to Honors conversions, in which a separate contract is required.

In most cases, registration in Honors courses is limited to Honors students plus non-Honors students who have the permission of the instructor. We encourage instructors to allow Honors students sufficient registration time and then to issue permission numbers to non-Honors students who understand the heightened expectations and who, based on interest in the course material, demonstrated academic ability, and academic preparation, appear likely to succeed in the course.

Stand-alone Honors Courses

These are courses where 100% of official contact hours are taught as Honors. All students enrolled in the course, whether they are Honors students or high-achieving non-Honors students, are held to the same high grading standards, and all students are eligible to earn Honors credit.

There are three basic variations of this model:

1. Freestanding Honors sections with the same course number and title as non-Honors sections.
Examples: Both Honors and non-Honors sections of ECON 1201 are often offered in the same semester, while the Honors and non-Honors offerings of SOCI 1701 tend to alternate semesters.

2. Honors classes with different course numbers as their non-Honors equivalents. These courses are alternatives to non-Honors classes that cover similar content.
Examples: MATH 1151Q may substitute for MATH 1131Q. ENGL 2011 fulfills the first-year writing requirement (ENGL 1010/1011).

3. Honors classes that do not have non-Honors equivalents. These courses incorporate content and pedagogy appropriate for the motivation and high academic abilities of Honors students, and they may include material that goes beyond any one non-Honors course.
Examples: AMST 1700 (Honors Core: American Landscapes); HIST/LLAS 1570 (Migrant Workers in Connecticut)

Honors General Education Courses

One of the fundamental principles of UConn’s general education curriculum is that it should be accessible to all students. For stand-alone Honors courses that fulfill one or more general education content areas:

  • If there is a non-Honors equivalent (numbers 1 & 2 above), the Honors and non-Honors versions should be offered in the same semester or alternate semesters or years. All seats in the Honors courses may be reserved for Honors students (or non-Honors by permission).
  • If there is no non-Honors equivalent (number 3 above), only 50% of the seats should be reserved for Honors students.

Honors Discussion or Laboratory Sections Attached To Non-Honors Lectures

When a course has a large lecture with associated smaller discussion or laboratory sections, one or more of those sections may be designated as Honors. Enrollment in those sections is restricted to Honors students or non-Honors students with instructor permission. Approximately 30% of official contact hours (the discussion or laboratory) is taught as Honors. Example: PSYC 1100 has both Honors and non-Honors labs that auto-enroll into the same lecture.

All students enrolled in the Honors sections, whether they are Honors students or high-achieving non-Honors students, are held to the same high grading standards. All students who earn a B- or better in the course receive Honors credit on their transcripts, and we encourage instructors to consider how grades are computed for the course with this in mind.

Honors Sections Cross-Listed with Non-Honors Sections

In this type of course, students enroll in an Honors section that meets concurrently with another non-Honors section. Enrollment in the Honors section is restricted to Honors students or non-Honors students with instructor permission. All students enrolled in the Honors sections are held to the same high grading standards. All students who earn a B- or better in the course receive Honors credit on their transcripts, and we encourage instructors to consider how grades are computed for the course with this in mind.

If the non-Honors section is a graduate level (5000+) course, it may be appropriate for the Honors section and the graduate course to use the same syllabus, learning activities, and assessment. In this model, 100% of official contact hours would be considered Honors.

If the non-Honors section is an undergraduate course, some modification of the syllabus, learning activities, and assessment is necessary for the Honors section. In this model, 0% of official contact hours are considered Honors, so these modifications ensure that the Honors learning experience is enriched and that students must meet Honors-level expectations in order to earn a B- or better in the course.

Variation: The Honors section meets concurrently with another non-Honors section and also has an additional Honors-only meeting time. This adds official Honors contact hours (sometimes up to 25%); other considerations remain the same.

Honors Research and Thesis Courses

Depending on how a department has structured its thesis process, students may enroll in Honors seminars, independent research, thesis writing courses, or independent study courses. These are generally limited to Honors students in a particular major or other students by permission of the instructor. 100% of the official contact hours are taught as Honors.

Graduate Courses

Honors students may, with advisor approval, count graduate courses (5000 or 6000 level) toward their Honors degree. 100% of official contact hours are considered Honors, and no modification of course syllabus, learning activities, or assessment is expected. As with undergraduate Honors courses, students must earn a B- or higher to earn Honors credit.