Contract Courses

Honors Contract courses provide the opportunity for Honors students to get academic credit for various academic-focused projects. All projects must be supervised by a full-time GW faculty member to be eligible for academic credit.

Students and their faculty advisor will agree upon the nature of the project, meeting times, assignments and deadlines, and grading schemes. Since contract courses are different for every student, this contract proposal serves as the syllabus for the “course”. Project types include "Internship", "Undergraduate Research", and "Research Assistantship".

Honors Contracts FAQ's

How do I set up a contract course?
  1. Determine a project of interest, or find a research/internship opportunity. Honors students can apply to any of the research assistantships on our website. Other resources for research opportunities and internships include Handshake, Academic Commons, and Career Services. Students can also explore options with their advisors or by speaking directly with faculty members.
  2. Find a faculty supervisor: any full-time faculty member at GW.
  3. Develop and submit the Honors Contract form and proposal by the set deadline for that semester. Once these documents are submitted, a Program Manager will enroll you for the contract course. Honors Contracts must include all components to be fully complete and acceptable for submission. Contracts will not be accepted after the set deadline. 
What should be included in an Honors contract proposal?

Honors Contract proposals must address the prompts outlined on the contract course form and be agreed upon by both the student and their faculty supervisor. Details required include the project topic, meeting schedule, assignments, and final grade calculation. You can find the information required on the Honors Contract form.

It is important that both the student and faculty member have a clear understanding of the contract expectations and grading schemes to avoid any confusion on final grades at the end of the semester. Please note that it is ultimately the faculty advisor-- not the Honors Program-- that determines the student’s final grade.

Where do I find the form and how do I submit it?

The Honors Contract form and upload link can be found on the 'Forms & Documents' page on our website. Students must submit their contract course materials by the determined deadline for each semester listed on our website.

How do I earn credit?

Students can earn a letter grade or Pass/Not Pass grade. Letter grades factor into your GPA and a P/NP grade does not. Final grades are listed on your transcript. 

Credit hours are determined by the number of hours students dedicate to their project per week on average. Typically 1 credit= 1-3 hours/week, 2 credits= 3-5 hours/week, 3 credits= 5-7 hours/work, and 4 credits= 7 + hours/week. Students and faculty members will agree on the number of credit hours that should be earned. 

At the end of the semester, faculty advisors will submit the student’s final grade to the UHP Program Manager. Students will see their final grades in Banweb but should also be in contact with their faculty advisor about final grades and feedback.

Why do students do contract courses?

Some reasons include:

  • To have dedicated time to do project (in place of taking another course)
  • To explore academic interests outside of the classroom and gain skills
  • To build relationships with faculty
  • To earn academic credit (toward the 120 minimum needed to graduate or the 12 per semester minimum) and earn a grade on their transcript
Can I complete a contract course during my first-year at GW?

Students are not permitted to take Honors Contract courses during their 1st semester at GW. First-year students in their 2nd semester must be in good academic standing with the program in order to take a contract course and are only allowed to enroll in a 1 or 2 credit-hour contract graded in the pass/no pass mode. Contracts will only be accepted from 2nd semester first-year students who have been granted pre-authorization by a UHP Program Manager at the end of the fall semester.  

Is there a limit on how many contract courses I can take?

You can earn a max of 12 credit hours in each course type (HONR 2184, HONR 2185, etc.)

Can I still do research without earning academic credit?

Yes. The experience of doing the research itself is much more important than having it listed on your transcript! You can also do an Honors Contract for the experience for 0 credits and it will be listed on your transcript. 

Can I do a contract course over the summer?

No, we do not offer contract courses over the summer. However, some departments offer similar options over the summer. You can learn more on your department or school website, or ask a Program Manager.

I previously completed an academic project without an Honors contract, can I earn credit after the fact?

No. We do not offer retroactive contract course credit.


If you have more questions, please contact a Program Manager.


Honors Internship

Professor Chosen by Student
HONR 2182:10 - 0 to 4 Credits

Course Description: Students who secure an internship placement can get academic credit by arranging a faculty-supervised project related to their internship. Students must submit an Honors Contract. Please see a Program Manager for further information.


Honors Undergraduate Research

Professor Chosen by Student
HONR 2184:10 - 0 to 4 Credits

Course Description: Students working on original research or on another research project can get academic credit by working closely with a faculty mentor. Students must submit an Honors Contract. Please see a Program Manager for further information.


Honors Research Assistantship

Professor Chosen by Student
HONR 2185:10 - 0 to 4 Credits

Course Description: Students who secure a research assistantship with a faculty member can receive academic credit by completing their assistantship duties. Students must submit an Honors Contract. Please see a Program Manager for further information.