Honors Contracts

Honors Contracts

An alternative to a regularly scheduled Honors course as a way to earn honors units, an honors contract starts with an agreement between an Honors Program student and an instructor in a non-honors course, outlining an independent program of study designed by the student and instructor. The contract work is completed concurrently with a non-Honors course. As in all Honors courses, students explore a specific topic in greater depth and/or breadth, including a 2,500-word research paper. Upon completion and approval of the project, the student earns honors credit toward completion of the Honors Program.


  1. Concurrent enrollment in an eligible non-honors course
  2. Proposal: completed and approved contract outlining specific honors-level objectives, tasks, and culminating project in addition to the objectives and assignments of the regular class.
  3. Meetings and project: may vary in format, but all require regular meetings (up to nine 50-minute class sessions, or five 90-minute sessions, or some variation) with the course instructor and culminate in some tangible evidence of the student's additional effort, demonstrating greater breadth and/or depth of the course subject. This evidence must be in addition to, not an extension of, a paper or an assignment already given in the course. The project must be a 2,500-word research paper or an equivalent project.
  4. Grading: To earn honors credit, the student must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA, maintain contact with the instructor, satisfactorily complete the contract, and earn a passing grade in the regular course.

To complete the Honors Program, students must complete at least 16 honors units. Honors courses earn an additional unit beyond the non-honors course, and for the purposes of the Honors Program, the units of honors credit through contracts will be counted the same way, e.g., a three-unit non-honors course plus a contract will count as four units of honors credit toward the required 16 honors units.

Classes Eligible for Contracts

Any UC-transferable Cerro Coso course of three or more units is eligible. However, for Ridgecrest / IWV students, requests will not be approved for classes regularly offered as honors classes, except in extenuating circumstances. Please refer to the long-term honors schedule and plan accordingly.

How to Enroll

First find an instructor willing to work with you. The instructor will submit a completed contract. Successful applications will describe a project of sufficient rigor, give detailed plans to complete the project, and list scheduled class meeting dates for the semester.

Due Dates

Honors contract requests should be submitted during the first month of the fall or spring semester and the first two weeks during the summer session.

Limit on Contracts

Because of the amount of work required, students are limited to two contracts per fall or spring semester and one during summer session. Honors Program students at IWV are usually limited to a maximum of one contract. The remaining honors units must be completed through honors courses unless the honors section of the course is not available and/or will entail student take an unnecessary course(s). Contact Honors Counselor Rene Mora at rene.mora@cerrocoso.edu with any questions.


Students must complete all tasks outlined on the approved request, receive the mentoring instructor's approval for completion, and forward the final project and signed completion form to the Honors Program coordinator.


The forms linked below, can be returned to the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Guck Ooi.

Contract Request
Contract Request Form

Contract Completion
Contract Completion Form - Blank
Contract Completion Form - Sample