Guidelines for Honors Compacts for the University Honors Program

Purpose: To provide a mechanism for students to receive honors credit in a course for which enrollment in a designated honors section is not possible.

Definition: An honors compact is an agreement between a student and an instructor that, under the instructor’s guidance, the student will complete an enhancement of a course that significantly enriches his or her educational experience in a manner consistent with other courses that receive honors credit at Florida Atlantic University.

An honors compact is:

  • an agreement between an undergraduate student and a professor that they will work together collaboratively in order to ensure that the student has a significantly enriched honors experience in a non-honors section of a course.
  • intended primarily to serve as part of an approved upper division honors program.
  • a method by which a student’s educational experience in a course is enhanced through substantive work that reflects one of the following honors themes:an approach to receiving honors credit to which the student, instructor, and administrator in charge of the relevant honors program must all agree.
    • Interdisciplinarity and connections among academic fields
    • Research and access to direct sources of knowledge
    • Leadership
    • Service learning
    • Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship
    • Civic engagement
    • Collaboration
    • The unique setting of southeastern Florida
    • Other topics appropriate to the individual discipline
  • only available to students having a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher, as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher in the major itself.
  • an achievement that is noted on the student’s transcript.

An honors compact is not:

  • an agreement that can be fulfilled simply by completing an additional paper or a few extra assignments;
  • a device that merely makes the material of a course harder or more challenging without providing the type of enhancement typically found in other honors courses at Florida Atlantic University;
  • ordinarily an alternative method of receiving honors credit for a course where an honors section is already available to the student. (The department or academic program offering the honors course may waive this restriction if it chooses).

An honors compact must:

  • promote academic excellence;
  • challenge students to strive toward achieving a significantly higher level of learning than would be possible if this compact were not completed;
  • recognize and foster the exceptional abilities and talents of high ability students;
  • extend and enrich the cultural or academic perspectives of students;
  • clearly demonstrate how the honors component 1) complements and extends the existing content of the course; and 2) is significantly richer than the established requirements of the course both in content and methodology;
  • require the student to engage in a high level of critical or thinking, such as analysis, synthesis, innovation, or application;
  • culminate in a specific “product” that can be evaluated.


1. As soon as possible, and ideally no later than the third week of the semester, the student will submit, electronically, to the Assistant Director of the University Honors Program (UHP)  a copy of the course syllabus (with the potential meeting dates highlighted) and an electronically completed Honors Compact Proposal and Approval form , which both the student and the instructor of the course have signed. See Instructions for Signing Fillable PDF's Using Adobe Acrobat .

2. The Assistant Director of the UHP will review the application and the student’s GPA as soon as possible and will notify the student and the instructor whether the honors compact has been approved or must be revised.

3. Each honors compact must be initiated by the student and completed with all required signatures no later than the last official day of final examinations for any term.

4. The instructor will then notify the Assistant Director of the UHP whether or not an honors compact has been successfully completed no later than the last official day of final examinations for any term.

5. The Assistant Director of the UHP, or for the UHP students, the Undergraduate Studies Dean’s designee will provide the registrar with a list of all successfully completed honors compacts no later than the day that grades are due in the registrar’s office.

6. In the event that, due to circumstances beyond his or her control, the student is granted an official Incomplete in the course, the honors compact must be completed no later than the date when all other course requirements must be completed.

7. Any appeals involving an honors compact should follow the appeals procedure (as detailed in the Code of Academic Integrity) although the Chair of the University Honors Council may be consulted during the process. Normal university deadlines for all grade changes still apply.

If you have any questions, please contact Mary Downing Patterson, Assistant Director, University Honors Program at .


 Last Modified 8/18/20