Honors Academy Coursework Requirements

To participate in Honors Academy, students must attend New Student Honors Seminar, a no-cost, no-credit course, during their first year at Missouri S&T.  This seminar provides students an opportunity to meet the distinguished teaching professors, introduce them to research opportunities at Missouri S&T, attend an etiquette dinner and see presentations by invited speakers.  In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in social activities such as a formal gala banquet with faculty members and other Honors Academy scholars.

Once you have accepted our offer, the Office of Academic Support will enroll the student in the no cost, no credit Honors Seminar.  (Transfer students may join New Student Honors Seminar during either the Fall or Spring semester.)

Following their first year, Honors Academy students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 to continue their participation in the program and enroll in and complete 12 credit hours of Honors contract coursework. At least one course of the required 12 credit hours must be outside of the student's major field of study and no more than 3 credit hours may be individual study courses. (undergraduate research or special problems).

There are two ways you can take Honors courses:

1.By contract in which the Honors course designation is based on extra work conducted in regular Missouri S&T courses wherein the instructor agrees to approve and oversee the effort.  If you are interested in taking a semester course as Honors speak with the intructor of that course and fill out the contract below. Turn the contract into 105 Norwood Hall by the 2nd friday of the current semester.

Honors Academy Contract Course Form
Honors Contract Course Project Examples

2.By a course that is designated as an honors course. Meet with your advisor to determine which courses are offered as Honors and add that to your schedule.

In addition to the 12 credit hours of Honors coursework, Honors students in their senior year must complete an additional 3 hours of Senior Thesis/Project.

Senior Thesis Project Description Form
Senior Thesis Guidelines

What Makes a Course Honors?

“approaching the material from an interesting or unconventional thematic perspective • emphasizing written and oral communication skills • emphasizing discussion and other interactive teaching/learning techniques that are generally unsuitable for larger undergraduate classes • promoting learning outside the formal classroom setting (e.g., service projects) • fostering teamwork and collaboration • applying principles learned in class to “real-life” problems and situations • exploring connections among various fields of study • providing opportunities for independent research • providing opportunities for publication or public presentation of work • developing assignments and exercises that require students to reconcile conflicting findings or to synthesize different points of view • emphasizing the use of original or primary sources, as opposed to traditional textbooks and secondary readings…”

(© Clemson University, 2022)

What Makes a Course an "honors" course?

Honors courses are sections of courses that are taught by honors faculty, designated “H” by the registrar, that allow only honors students to enroll. These courses may be “by contract,” in designated “H” sub-section seats in almost any course, and as honors-only courses or sections that are exclusively taught as honors for honors students.

Honors courses are qualitatively different from regular courses. Honors course content is designed to provide an experience that appeals to top-performing students. Honors credit for a course should be associated with greater engagement between the student and the subject or course materials. Learning outcomes for courses remain the same between honors and regular sections, but additional outcomes may be achieved, at the instructor’s discretion. The difference between an honors section and a regular section should be communicated by the faculty to the student so the student can make an informed choice.

Honors courses do not necessarily require more work, and the workload might not significantly increase for students receiving honors credit. Honors courses often require some different work, such as a modified assignment, an experiential learning component, or an added or enhanced research opportunity.


  • Replacing an exam with an engaging project requiring original research is often appropriate. Adding an exam is not likely to improve the student experience in a course.
  • Teaching students to re-present a research report as a poster for an undergraduate research symposium is likely to be appropriate. Doubling the length or number of references required on a research paper for honors students is not necessarily a positive enhancement.
  • Modifying the syllabus for an honors section may change the weighting of other assessments. For example, students may attend a conference and reflect on the experience for Honors Course credit. This assignment can be added to the assessments of the non-honors section. Alternatively, honors students may attend a conference and reflect on the experience in place of one assessment. The grading of the reflection may replace an assessment, or be weighted lower, potentially increasing the impact of the remaining assessments on students’ grades.
  • Sample syllabi from other universities will be made available to honors faculty on request.

By-Contract: Students may request an “honors by contract” course in almost any section. Graduate students, adjuncts, and tenured/tenure-track faculty may be discouraged or prevented from offering honors courses by the department chair in the course of setting fair and equitable workloads; for example, graduate teaching assistants are unlikely to have the teaching experience and time necessary to manage honors coursework. Faculty asked to manage honors by contract must request that their chair designate one or more “H” seats for honors students to gain “credit by contract” and complete a written agreement signed by the student and faculty member. Honors students should receive the honors version of the course, which is different, in one or more meaningful ways, from the non-honors student experience. Faculty are not compensated additionally for honors-by-contract.