Honors Curriculum

Honors students must complete a total of 18 credit hours in Honors courses, as described below. They must maintain a 3.25 cumulative grade point average and complete a Senior Study.

Honors General Studies Courses

Honors students must complete three courses (9 credit hour minimum) of Honors General Studies classes, unless they have permission to make a substitution.  Each semester the program offers a menu of courses from which the student may select. Capstone courses (numbered 388 in their respective department) are general studies courses.

Spring 2018 Honors General Studies Courses

Spring Honors GS Classes

Spring Honors GS Course Descriptions

Honors Option (H-Option) Courses

Mainly during the junior/senior years, all Honors students are required to take three (3) Honors Option courses at the 300-400 level (usually a total of 9 hours). Honors Options are courses in the student’s major or minor, where the student creates a custom Honors course by completing a specific project in addition to the regular work for the course. The Honors Option is designed to accomplish a number of things:

  • Allow the student to work closely with faculty in a chosen field;

  • Encourage the student to pursue independent research; and

  • Enhance the student’s confidence about the skills necessary to be successful in his or her chosen field.

The process for completion of any Honors Option/Independent Study is as follows:
  1. Students must first obtain permission from faculty mentors to pursue any Honors Option in any 300-400 level courses. This should happen the semester before the course.

  2. Students must confer with faculty mentors to negotiate the nature of the Honors project.

  3. Students then submit the online H-Option contract. By submitting the online contracts, students confirm the faculty members’ agreement to direct the Honors Option, and also confirm that students and faculty mutually agreed upon the Honors course work to be completed. The “Work Required” box should specify 1) the additional information or material the student will study, 2) the critical thinking element of the activity (critique, analysis, reflection), and 3) the form of dissemination (oral report, paper, etc).

  4. Please review the H-Option examples from the 2016 Honors coursework descriptions as you consider the H-Option Contract.

Contracts detail the department, course number, semester/year, faculty name(s), and Honors coursework to be completed in order to obtain Honors credit. Contracts are processed by the Associate Director, who then sends them along to Department Chairs to request creation of the “H” sections of the 300-400 level courses (if they have not already been created). The Office of the Registrar will document the new “H” course numbers and ensure the Honors credit is reflected on students’ transcripts. Instructors and the Honors students get a copy for their own records.

Contracts should be completed the semester prior to the course. The last day to enroll in the H section of a course is the Friday of the first week of class for the semester. The contract should therefore be done well in advance to allow for the creation of the course (if necessary).  Preferably, H-Option contracts are completed by early Honors Registration day, the first Wednesday of the first week of pre-registration. Negotiations with the instructor should begin about a month before Honors Registration day. Honors Option credit cannot be assigned to a completed class (or a “closed” semester), and general studies courses are not allowed to become H-Options. H-Options may be dropped until the end of the 10th week of the semester, in accordance with the Registrar's policy. Incompletes may be awarded for H-Option courses and must be completed within one academic year.

Click here to go to the H-Option Contract.

Senior Study

Each Honors student must submit a Senior Study to the Honors Program prior to graduation. A senior study is a scholarly paper appropriate to the student’s major. Examples include independent research projects, original creative writing, and artists’ portfolios. By their nature, senior studies can take many forms. Students should consult with program staff when they have questions.

Style Guideline for Senior Studies 

To maintain a consistent quality of Honors Senior Studies, the following style guideline should be followed by every student for any Honors Senior Study:

  • A Title page, which contains the title of the Senior Study, the student’s name, faculty mentor(s) name, department, course number and section number, term code (i.e., Spring, Fall), and year of graduation.

  • A Cover Letter, which explains the purpose and scope of the Senior Study (i.e., “This Honors Senior Study is in partial fulfillment of the total academic requirements of the UNK Honors Program…” etc.). A Sample Cover Letter is attached.

  • An Abstract, a one-page (up to 250 words maximum) succinct description of the context and content of the Senior Study.

  • A Table of Contents, if necessary/appropriate.

  • Appropriate manuscript form: typically, one-inch margins, letter-quality type-written pages, appropriate pagination, and adherence to particular research style guidelines unique to various disciplines.

  • A durable folder or notebook to ensure the Senior Study remains clean and unharmed when archived.

As well as the physical/cosmetic guidelines of the Senior Study, philosophical guidelines should also be followed.  The Senior Study should:

  • Provide a capstone or culmination to a student’s entire academic career at UNK.

  • Provide research or experience within the student’s discipline that will prove useful to the student post-UNK.

  • Provide opportunities for unique and innovative study within the student’s discipline.

  • Provide opportunities to study closely with faculty mentors in the student’s discipline.

The Honors Senior Study Archive (Conrad Hall room #115) is available for Honors students to peruse during regular office hours of the University. Some senior study sample titles, departments, and course numbers can be viewed here, and are ordered by college. They are examples of actual studies completed by Honors students in the 2015-2016 academic year. 

The Honors Senior Study rubric (.pdf) is an established set of educational objectives we hope each Honors Senior can achieve with his or her Honors Senior Study. The purpose of the rubric is not to "grade" anyone's Honors Senior Study; rather, the purpose is to assess the quality of a randomly selected number of Honors Senior Studies from each academic year (May and December graduates of any given year), usually around 5 from each of the four colleges. The faculty who mentor the Senior Studies assess the studies for adherence to the rubric's objectives.