Engineering Honors FAQ for Advisors and Faculty

  • Earning Honors CreditDown-arrow

    Earning Honors Credit 

    • What are the mechanisms for a student to earn honors credits?Down-arrow

      Stand-alone honors course or honors section of a regular course.

      Note that first time honors courses and upper-level honors courses can be justified as short courses (i.e., are not required to meet minimum enrollments). Stacked regular and honors sections (2XX) of the same course. In such cases, the students in all sections attend the same lectures, do the same assignments and exams, and the instructor is responsible for defining the differing requirements for the honors section (e.g., modified assignments, separate discussions, etc.). The combined enrollment of the stacked and regular section is the enrollment number for the course. Honors contracts for non-honors courses (for courses conducted by external colleges, for example the College of Science). These contracts must be set up by the 12th day of class and require the student to work with the instructor to determine how to enhance the non-honors course into one that provides an honors level experience. For example, modified projects or assignments.

      An application must be filed with the University Honors Program (HUR) on-line system by the 12th day of classes. It is initiated by the student, and then is routed to the student’s professor and department head for approval. The professor must confirm completion of the work at the end of the semester for the student to receive honors credit. For non-departmental courses in engineering, or major specific courses, stacked honors sections are recommended, even just for one student. Honors sections (2XX) of undergraduate research (291/491), independent study (285/485), and internships (484). These sections are set up by the student’s department in the same manner as non-honors sections. In addition, an application must be filed with the University Honors Program (HUR) on-line system by the 12th day of classes. It is initiated by the student, and then is routed to the student’s professor and department head for approval. The professor must confirm completion of the work at the end of the semester for the student to receive honors credit.

      Graduate courses.

      Any graduate course taken for undergraduate credit and up to two courses taken for graduate credit (i.e., not used towards the student’s undergraduate degree but reserved for use on a graduate degree). Note that students participating in the FastTrack program can obtain honors credit for all FastTrack courses by receiving credit by exam for the honors version of the undergraduate course. Non-departmental honors courses in engineering. Courses such as ENGR 111/112, ENGR 181, or ENGR 482 (Engineering Ethics). For more information about earning honors credit and links to applications, see http://hur.tamu.edu/Honors/Earning-Honors-Credit.



    • What are the benefits of stacked regular and honors sections (2XX) of the same course (i.e., stacked course)?Down-arrow

      One of the benefits of doing a stacked course is that an honors contract is no longer needed. The student and professor still need to agree on what the student will do, just like in a course contract. However, additional paperwork is no longer required. Instead, the department just sets up an honors section that is stacked with the regular class and the student can then be enrolled in the honors section on or before the 12th day of class.



    • How will grades be affected if the student does not complete the honors work but completes the "regular" coursework?Down-arrow

      Grading is up to the professor and should be clearly noted in the syllabus. The same goes for honors course contracts, where the professor has to explain in the honors contract paperwork how the student’s performance in the contract will affect their grade.

      Possible outcomes are:

      -If the student doesn't do the honors work at all, or does it poorly, he/she shouldn't get honors credit and his/her grade in the regular version of the course will be negatively affected.

      -Honors work will not affect the student’s grade. If the student does not complete the Honors work, they will not receive honors credit.

      -Honors work will count for x% of the course grade, with the other grade categories reduced proportionally.

      -Honors work will be weighted the same as regular course work as described in the syllabus, but will be evaluated with a higher standard as described in the plan of study.



    • For students that are being placed on probation due to their cumulative GPA going below 3.5, do they have any other options aside from probation? Down-arrow

      There are two options:

      -Go on probation if there is a high probability that the student can raise their GPA to 3.5 or higher. If their overall GPA, at the end of semester, is at least 3.5, then they will be taken off probation and put back in good standing with Engineering Honors. During the probationary period, the student will still be a member of the program and welcome to participate in all Engineering Honors activities. However, university rules do not allow them to have priority registration during pre-registration for the next semester.

      -For students who will not be able to pull up their overall GPA to at least a 3.5 (even after assuming a term GPA of 4.0 in the current semester), leave the program before consuming the maximum allowable 1 semester of probation, then thereafter reapply after the GPA is back to 3.5 up. Although the student won't be able to participate in Engineering Honors activities, he/she will not have consumed their 1 semester of probation.



  • Creating honors courses, sections, & contractsDown-arrow

    Creating Honors Courses, Sections, & Contracts 

    • How are honors courses or sections created?Down-arrow

      The process for setting up free-standing honors courses, stacked honors sections, or honors sections of courses, including 491 and 485, is the same process as setting up a section of a regular course, except that the registrar needs to be informed that the section or course is an honors section / course so that they will set the appropriate registration restrictions and add the honors attribute.

      The section number uses the format 2XX (e.g., 200). If the professor wants to control admission, the capacity can be set to zero and students will be added by the advisors. These courses can be included in the initial course schedules submitted to the registrar. No approval is needed from the University Honors program.



    • Is there a minimum class size for honors sections or courses?Down-arrow

      Honors courses have no lower bound, as the department can request an exemption to the minimum number of student. For a stacked honors course, there is also no minimum class size as the enrollment of the course is the sum of all the stacked sections, including both the regular and honors sections of the course.



    • How does a department create an honors 491 (491H) or 485 (485H) course? Down-arrow

      The department’s advising office creates a 2XX section number of 491 / 485, following the normal department procedures for creating a 491 / 485, and notes that it is an honors section. The section number starts with a “2” (e.g., 200, 201, 233, etc.). Examples are: ENGR 491-200; ENTC 491-201, ENGR 485-200, etc.

      The department informs the registrar that this course is an honors course and title it as "HNR-RESEARCH" instead of just "RESEARCH." Likewise, for directed studies, title it as "HNR-DIRECTED STUDIES" instead of just "DIRECTED STUDIES." To set up a 491H or 485H, an honors contract is not needed.



    • Who is eligible to apply for an honors contract?Down-arrow

      Only students admitted to an honors program (e.g., University honors, Engineering Honors, etc.) can apply and be approved for an honors contract, which has to be submitted on or before the 12th class day.

      For non-departmental courses in engineering, or major specific courses, stacked honors sections are recommended, even just for one student. Honors contract can be used for courses conducted by colleges outside of the College of Engineering



    • How are honors contracts set-up? Down-arrow

      Honors hours can be earned through non-honors courses through the honors contract mechanism. These contracts must be set up early in the semester, by the 12th day of class. An honors contract involves the student working with the professor to enhance a non-honors course into one which provides an honors level experience. For example, projects or assignments may be modified to serve this purpose.For more information, see the link http://hur.tamu.edu/Honors/Earning-Honors-Credit

      For Engineering courses, either non-departmental honors or major-specific courses, stacked honors sections are preferable to honors contracts since it requires less paperwork from the student and professor.



    • Can we set up honors contracts for non-department engineering courses or major specific courses?Down-arrow

      Stacked honors sections are recommended instead of course contracts due to the following benefits:

      -Less paperwork on the part of the student, professor, department

      -There will be a visible honors section that other students can consider

      -We can show the students that there are different options for earning honors credit

      -The department can consider splitting off a separate section if the enrollment numbers warrant another section

      -The stacked section earns supplemental funding

      -The professor can have a more visible proof that they have taught honors, which they can use during their evaluation

      These benefits can be communicated to the faculty and staff in the department.