An Honors option allows you to earn Honors credit for a non-Honors course. It consists of an agreement with a professor so that you can complete an additional or enhanced assignment and make the course eligible for Honors credit. In other words, you have the freedom to individualize part of your curriculum – to focus on your personal, academic, and professional interests. Honors options are a great way to get to know professors and to begin exploring topics that can lead into an Honors capstone project. 

Honors options count as Honors elective credits towards the Honors minor; they cannot be used to satisfy Honors General Education or Honors seminar requirements.

There is no limit to the number of Honors options a student may complete; however, students are limited to only one Honors option non-completion. No more than two Honors options should be attempted in any given semester as these courses are intended to be demanding and will require a student’s best effort.

The Honors College acknowledges that individual faculty members have the right to decline a request to contract their class for Honors option credit for any reason. 

  • Get to know a professor better
  • Individualize a portion of your Honors curriculum that can focus on your personal, academic and professional interests
  • Begin exploring topics that can lead to Honors capstone projects
  • Count courses in your major towards the Honors curriculum
  • You must have completed a minimum of 30 credits of college coursework to enroll in an Honors option. Except in rare circumstances, Honors options will not be approved if you are a first-year student in your first semester at JMU. This rule does not apply to transfer students.
  • Honors option course must be 200-level or above.
  • Honors option course must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Cannot be a course currently offered as an Honors course. You cannot contract a class that already offers an Honors section unless you have a scheduling conflict.
  • Supervision by a tenured, tenure-eligible, or RTA faculty member is preferred.
  • Limited to two courses per semester. 
Preferred Characteristics

At least two of the following characteristics should apply to your Honors option:

  • Allows you to pursue a particular topic of interest to you in significant depth.
  • Furthers knowledge/skills in your major or minor.
  • Extends knowledge/skills from an Honors area of Emphasis. 
  • Enables investigation of potential capstone project topics.
  • Furthers your progress towards developing a capstone project.
  • Enhances knowledge/skills related to your academic and career goals.

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