How do I get the “H” Designation?
CONVERTING A COURSE TO HONORS
Core courses and major courses may be made into an Honors course if a student and faulty member agree on work to be completed to change a “regular” course into an “Honors” course, and if the course is approved during the pre-registration period by both the Honors Committee and the professor of the course. Generally, additional work required for honors credit will allow a student to demonstrate a reasonably high degree of achievement in independent research, creative and/or analytical/critical thinking, or successful integration of theory into practice. One or any combination of these elements, successfully demonstrated in work not required of the regular class members, will qualify as a means to “honorize” course content. Print and use the “Honors Credit Conversion Form” provided for this purpose. A course may not be converted to an “H” designation after the add/drop period ends.
- Meet with the Honors Director, Dr. Sarah Terry (firstname.lastname@example.org).
During the advising and enrollment period, schedule an appointment to talk to the Honors Director about honors conversions. Dr. Terry can provide you with information about:
- the goals and ideals for Honors conversions;
- examples of previous Honors conversions, as well as help with brainstorming new ideas;
- information about the application process for you to use and take to your instructor.
- Devise an appropriate project with your professor.
During enrollment, up to the first week or two of the term, arrange a meeting with your instructor (office hours are a good time for this) to discuss a conversion project. A good conversion project should allow you to engage with the material being taught in the course at a greater depth and involve at least some independent work that results in an intellectual dialogue between you and your instructor. Honor conversions have three central components:
- expansion or enrichment of the current course curriculum;
- regular contact with the instructor for feedback, guidance, and discussion of your project;
- a culminating project or experience that pulls your semester’s work together. The format of this culminating experience should be designed to fit your individual project, and may vary from one conversion to another. Leading a class discussion, designing a study guide for your class, presenting your project in class, writing up your results in a final paper, reflection piece, or lab report, creating a multi-media presentation of your material, directing a dramatic performance, writing a musical, curating a display: all of these (and more) are possible.The Honors Director is also available to help brainstorm possible projects, and some specific examples of successful Honors conversions can be found below.
- Fill out the Honors Credit Conversion Application.
Be sure to complete the form for each course each semester and submit it no later than the term drop/add deadline.
- Ensure your application is approved.
Once you submit the form it will be forwarded to your instructor for their approval, then to Dr. Terry for her approval. If you do not hear from Dr. Terry within two week of your application, please contact her at email@example.com.
- Complete the project.
Work with your instructor to complete your project over the course of the term. The exact due date for the project is up to you and your instructor to determine. After the end of the term, your instructor will receive an email from the Honors Director asking if you have completed the project successfully; she will then pass that information on to the Office of the Registrar. It usually takes between four and six weeks for the Honors notation to post to your transcript.
An Honors conversion does not count toward your grade for the course, but you must earn at least a “B” to have the Honors designation put on your transcript.
This information is provided as a guide to help you complete the Honors Credit Conversion Application. You can also download this information as a PDF.
For each of the following areas, identify briefly what, if anything, students in the “regular” class will be doing and what the Honors student will be doing. Please provide as much detail as possible.
Independent Research Skills
Assuming responsibility for intellectual growth
- Create a “research track” for the course, involving mandatory research session(s) with librarian
- Develop a research question and/or annotated bibliography
- Show that you are doing something that is clearly self-directed. Reading the textbook is NOT what we mean here…the instructor assigned it, so you didn’t direct it.
Activities outside the classroom
- Interview a professional working in a field related to the course or course material (PhD students, researchers, journalists, etc.)
- Take a trip to a cultural site or event (partner with CCE)
- Design and lead a tour
- We want you to have experiences that are outside the ‘normal’ settings that a class would put you in. A trip to the library is not what we’re looking for. A trip to a conference or a museum is more in the spirit of this requirement.
Collaborative work and/or oral expression
- Individual or group presentation within or outside of the class
- Student plans an event, invites a speaker to campus, acts as moderator, etc.
- Student presents a paper in a mini-LASS format
- This can be one or the other – a project that requires teamwork, or a project that requires you to present in front of a group.
Understanding the interrelatedness of knowledge
- Student produces a literature review
- Student designs and pursues an interdisciplinary project (separate from or an extension of an existing assignment)
- Student writes a report on dissertations produced in the field in the last five years
- This is probably the most confusing option. What we want to see is some sort of project or assignment that requires you to demonstrate an understanding of how concepts/facts/ideas in the course relate to concepts/facts/ideas in a separate academic discipline. This means, for example, that you are not connecting an idea in social psychology to an idea in clinical psychology.
Developing analytical skills
- Student writes a longer paper, or writes a more research-intensive paper
- Student produces an analysis of 3-5 academic journals in a related field
- Student produces a survey of a theoretical or methodological approach that complements the course material
- The main thing here is we want to know as specifically as possible what kind of analysis you are doing. Having a computer do an analysis for you is not acceptable – neither is just saying on the form that you ‘will analyze’ something. There needs to be some kind of end product that demonstrates the analytical effort.
*These examples taken from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts)
English/Theatre 227 – Introductory Playwriting
“The professor and I decided on an additional project that would also be of some benefit to the rest of the class. Because this was a class on introductory playwriting, we decided it would be useful for me to attend six non-required plays in Ann Arbor and prepare short presentations to the class highlighting the compositional elements of each play. The professor and I had roughly equal roles in determining this format: the professor assigned four of the plays for me to see, leaving me to choose the last two…. In total, my presentations probably consisted of 20 pages of writing, with about an hour of speaking time delivered in chunks throughout the term.”
Astronomy 201 – Introduction to Astrophysics
“I conducted research on the Rosetta Space Probe and its mission to perform a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. My primary source was the website of the European Space Agency (ESA), but I also used a variety of secondary sources. I gave weekly updates on the progress of the probe to my professor and wrote a brief research paper summarizing the probe’s mission and discoveries at the end of the semester.”
History 213 – The Reformation
“Over the course of the term, I read books and articles about the Hungarian Reformation. At the end of the term I presented a summary of my research to the class in a 15 minute Powerpoint presentation. It was as if I were a professor presenting a mini-lecture!”
Environ 256 – Culture, Adaptation, and the Environment
“Half of the grade in this course was based on an extensive research paper on a topic of our choosing from three fields related to the environment and extraction of resources. In my conversion project, I chose a topic that mirrored my professor’s interests and used primary sources from her work (e.g. meeting minutes, policy drafts) to develop a topic. The paper explored how, in a post-9/11 world, the issue of African bushmeat is being transformed from one of food security to one of homeland security. After the course I continued to work with my professor as a paid research assistant. My conversion project was accepted at a conference on conservation science in Cambridge, England; and is now the basis for a chapter in an edited volume on disease emergence.”
Chemistry 230 – Physical Chemical Principles and Applications
“My conversion project consisted of two 3-5 page papers and a presentation. The papers explored methods and issues in physical chemistry related to my Honors thesis research interests. I met weekly with my professor to select
journal articles, discuss my progress on the papers, and related issues in class. At the end of the semester, all the students working on conversion projects for CHEM 230 met with the professor to present our projects to one another.”
Psychology 345 – Introduction to Human Neuropsychology
“Since I was taking the course to try to more finely figure out my interests in Psychology, my professor and I decided it would be best if I did free-ranging literature review. Each week I would choose a one or two papers from professional journals to read, writing a short summary of each. Sometimes my papers would relate to class; other times I just searched for what interested me. In total I read 10 journal articles of my choosing (averaging about 10 pages each) and I wrote 10 summaries (one for each), averaging about 1 full page, single spaced. I regularly met with my professor during her office hours to discuss what I was reading, how I felt it related to the coursework, and how it might relate to future research and a possible Honors thesis. At the end of the semester I combined several summaries into a 5-page prospectus for future research.”
Latin 232 – Vergil’s Aeneid
“In addition to the Latin readings assigned on the syllabus, I translated additional passages of interest in Augustus’ Res Gestae and Virgil’s Aeneid. I met with my professor every two weeks to discuss these translations and my research project. I developed a multi-media presentation of tactics and formations used by the Roman Army during the reign of Caesar Augustus using battle narratives in the Aeneid and Res Gestae and important secondary sources. This presentation was given to the class at the end of the semester.”
Architecture 313 – History of Architecture
“After working with my professor to choose a topic, my research paper went through an extensive editing process. I’m not sure exactly how much the reading was, but I had almost 20 books checked out from three different libraries. Since my topic was so specific, I only read short sections from books. The paper turned out great and I loved how closely I was able to work with my professor. It was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling projects I’ve completed at the University.”
Environment 211 – Social Sciences and Environmental Problems
“This class requires students to engage in semester-long projects applying environmental theories or real world problems. To determine the effectiveness of previous student projects, I conducted a series of interviews with campus staff advisors in various programs. I asked: How have these projects benefitted the campus or community? How could projects be done differently to broaden their impact? I met with my professor every other week to discuss the progress of my interviews. At the end of the project I summarize the positive and negative feedback received in a set of Powerpoint slides for other students in the class and wrote a summary paper of my methods and results.”