Earning Honors Credit

How Do I Earn Honors Credit?

There are five distinct ways that Honors students may earn honors credits. When a student earns honors credits a notation is made on the student’s transcript. 

 Dedicated Honors Courses

Dedicated Honors Courses are courses that have been designed for and offered to Honors Students. These are enriched courses, often using a seminar-like discussion format that strengthens both critical thinking and communication skills. Their enrollment is most often between 10 – 19 Honors Students. The UMass Lowell Honors College puts a premium on dedicated Honors Courses as the full Honors Curriculum requires students to take a minimum of five such courses. For the latest course information please consult the UMass Lowell online Academic Catalog.

All dedicated Honors Courses have a 3xx section number (i.e. 301, 302, 303).

There are three kinds of dedicated Honors Courses:


Honors-By-Contracts are Honors add-ons to standard non-honors courses. Both the Honors Student and the course instructor agree upon an Honors plan of enriched-study and sign a contract of understanding. All Honors-By-Contract add-ons must be approved by the Honors Director. At most one Honors-By-Contract can be used to satisfy the minimum H1 – H8 Honors Course Requirements. This add-on must be at the 3000/4000 level and can only be applied to the H5 requirement.

  Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses are courses with a course number of 5000 or higher and are mostly enrolled with students who are earning either a masters or doctoral degree. A graduate course can satisfy the H5 Honors Course Requirement. In some academic departments a graduate course may also be used to satisfy the H7 requirement, but this must be done with the approval of the Honors College.

 Independent Study Courses

Independent Study Courses are one-on-one focused learning experiences. A single student works with and is guided by a single faculty mentor. This is normally the method used when a student pursues an Honors Thesis, but it can also be used when creating an Honors Project. Independent study courses satisfy either the H7 and/or the H8 Honors Course Requirement.

 Capstone Project Courses with an Honors Add-On

Capstone Project Courses are applied, culminating learning experiences required by some academic departments. Capstone projects vary across departments. They can be either a single course or a sequence of two courses.  They can either be done individually or in a team setting. Honors students are permitted to link their Honors Project to a department’s required capstone courses. In so doing, an Honors Student will need to identify an Honors add-on to the standard capstone project. The Honors Project must be, in some way, differentiated from a non-honors capstone project. The Honors Student, the Honors Project Mentor, and the Honors Director must agree upon this Add-On.