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 (this is known as the Honors grading basis), as opposed to Honors conversions, in which a separate contract is required.

In most cases, registration in Honors courses is limited to Honors students (the Honors reserve cap), 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.

All students enrolled in an Honors course earn Honors credit when they earn a B- or better, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the Honors Program. This Honors credit is denoted on the academic transcript.

Courses created as Honors

Some courses are created to only be offered as Honors. The Honors grading basis is set at the catalog level, so they cannot be offered as non-Honors.

These courses might be alternatives to non-Honors courses that cover similar content. This allows the courses to have different catalog descriptions and pre-requisites. For example, MATH 1151Q can substitute for MATH 1131Q, and ENGL 2011 fulfills the university's first-year writing requirement.

Grade forgiveness: When non-Honors and Honors courses have different catalog numbers, they are considered different courses for the purpose of repeat registration and grade forgiveness. Therefore, if a student wishes to replace the grade earned in the Honors course, they must retake it as Honors.

Other courses do not have non-Honors equivalents. They 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. Several of these, such as AMST 1700 (Honors Core: American Landscapes); HIST/LLAS 1570 (Migrant Workers in Connecticut), were created for the Honors Core.

Honors versions of existing courses

Any letter-graded course may be offered as Honors by setting the Honors grading basis for the section. Usually the section will also have the Honors reserve cap, but this is not required. This is done through the standard course scheduling process; Honors Program approval is not needed.

Grade forgiveness: When the non-Honors and Honors courses have the same catalog number, the courses are considered identical for the purposes of grade forgiveness and repeat registration.

Graduate courses

Honors students who enroll in graduate courses (5000 or 6000 level) are treated as if they are enrolled in Honors courses. They should be held to the same expectation as the graduate students in the course. If they earn a B- or higher, they are considered to have earned Honors credit for that course, although it will not be shown on the transcript.

Honors and general education

In a Spring 2016 agreement among the Honors Board, the General Education Oversight Committee (GEOC), and the University Senate’s Curricula and Courses Committee (Senate C&C), all three groups affirmed that:

  • Membership in the Honors Program may serve as a pre-requisite for enrollment in Honors classes, including those that hold general education designations. This pre-requisite is implemented through the Honors reserve cap.
  • Instructors of Honors courses may issue permission numbers to otherwise qualified students who are not currently in the Honors Program.
  • Departments may offer Honors versions of any course, including those with general education designations, at any time.
  • Departments should not replace a general education course with an Honors version of the same course. The non-Honors version should be taught at least as often as the Honors version.

Honors discussion and lab sections

Some UConn courses consist of a large lecture with associated smaller discussion or laboratory sections. These are designated the enrollment sections, and a student's grade is tied to their enrollment section. The Honors grading basis is also attached to a student's enrollment section.

If all of a lecture course's enrollment sections carry the Honors grading basis, then the entire course is conducted as Honors. For example, this is the model used by Honors MCB 2410.

It is also possible to designate only a portion of the enrollment sections for a lecture as carrying Honors grading. For example, PSYC 1100 has both Honors and non-Honors labs that auto-enroll into the same lecture. In this case, approximately 30% of official contact hours is taught as Honors.

All students enrolled in the Honors discussion or lab section will earn Honors credit automatically if they earn a B- or better in the course.  Faculty should consider this when determining how grades will be computed.

Cross-listed courses

Cross-listing an Honors section with a non-Honors section can be a cost-effective way to offer an Honors option for a small number of students. As with the Honors discussion or lab sections above, the Honors grading basis is tied to a student's enrollment section, and all students enrolled in an Honors section will earn Honors credit if they earn a B- or better in the course.

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. When dealing with a requirement for a student's major, this type of cross-listing may be a useful alternative to having Honors students enroll directly in the graduate course.

If the non-Honors section is an undergraduate course, some modification of the syllabus, learning activities, and assessment is necessary for the Honors section. Even if the Honors section includes additional meeting times, these changes 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.

Note: Cross-listing courses is not necessary if the only goal is to allow non-Honors students to take the course. All students completing Honors-level work should earn Honors credit. Enrollment restrictions are managed through reserve caps.