Course Information

Types of Honors Courses

Most Honors classes are Honors sections of regular University courses. They meet the same general education, departmental, and University requirements that their specific non-Honors counterparts do. They occur in two forms:

  • “Free-Standing” Honors sections: where all students are in the Honors College and enrollment is kept small (usually 20-25 students)
  • “Add-On” Honors sections: where students attend class with traditional students in a correlative section but also have the enrichment experiences associated with the instructor and a somewhat different pattern of assignments and expectations

Courses unique to the Honors College include the following:

First-Year Honors Colloquia

These three-credit writing-intensive interdisciplinary first-year seminars are broadly conceived, generally going beyond conventional disciplinary boundaries and focusing on topics of enduring significance. Colloquia are intellectually rigorous without requiring more than a high-school background in a field. They are elementary not in the sense of preparing students for further study in a discipline, but rather in the sense of preparing them for further skilled reflection on issues and ideas of interest to all educated people.

Intensive reading, thoughtful analysis, and good writing are expected of colloquia participants. Informed discussions, rather than lectures, and attention to primary sources typify Honors colloquia. All first-year Honors students, regardless of their intended college or major, are required to take one Honors colloquium to be eligible for a General Honors Award. Approximately ten colloquia are offered each semester; these courses satisfy college general education requirements.

Individual Honors Contracts

A student enrolled in a 300- or 400-level non-Honors section of an appropriate course may apply to receive Honors credit for the course through an Individual Honors Contract. Students requesting a possible Individual Honors Contract must have a minimum University of Delaware GPA of 3.30. Individual Honors Contracts are ideally intended for use by a student interested in pursuing more in depth study of advanced material in the major or another field of significant interest to the student through a course for which an Honors section is not regularly offered.

Guidelines and Application for creating an Individual Honors Contract

Honors Forum Classes

Special one-credit courses are offered each semester for undeclared UST Honors freshman and the Distinguished Scholars. The Distinguished Scholars Forum feature cultural activities both on and off campus and proactive readings and discussions.

Honors Tutorials

Patterned after the method of instruction in the British university system, tutorials consist of no more than five to six students and a faculty member who meet to discuss “Great Books” — those lasting works that are part of the common cultural heritage of educated people. An Honors tutorial meets the Arts and Sciences Group A and Second Writing requirements. It also satisfies the senior capstone course requirement for the Honors Degree and the Honors Degree with Distinction if taken in one of the final two semesters of a student’s undergraduate degree. Tutorials are open to any qualified junior or senior in the Honors College, but priority is given to senior Honors Degree candidates.

Honors Degree Seminars

These advanced interdisciplinary courses, open to qualified Honors juniors and seniors, address topics of common interest to students from different majors. An Honors Degree seminar satisfies the senior capstone course requirement for the Honors Degree and the Honors Degree with Distinction if taken in one of the final two semesters of a student’s undergraduate career. Not all “seminar” courses count for this purpose–only those marked as such in the “Honors Degree Seminar” section of the Honors course book each term will be accepted for the Honors Degree or Honors Degree with Distinction.

Independent Study

With the consent of a faculty sponsor and the Honors College, a student may enroll for Honors credit in an independent study course. Like Individual Honors Contracts, there must be an additional Honors component designed to receive Honors credit. An online application must be submitted to the Honors College Dean at least one week from the first day of classes. For more information, please contact Jama Allegretto Lynch (

Senior Thesis

A requirement for the Honors Degree with Distinction and the Degree with Distinction, the senior thesis is the culmination of a yearlong major independent research or creative project. It addresses important unanswered questions and makes an original and valuable contribution to the scholarly, scientific, or artistic community. Its format and length depend on the discipline involved.

Students should explore topics of interest as early as the sophomore year so they can select courses for the junior and senior years that are related to their research needs. An appointment with an advisor in the Undergraduate Research Office (not the Honors College) is required early in the junior year to discuss program requirements and receive application materials. During the junior year the student will find a faculty member to direct the thesis and develop a topic.

In the second semester of the junior year, the student will find a second faculty reader and write a preliminary proposal, due May 15 of that year. In the senior year the student will take 6 credits of UNIV 401 and 402, the Senior Thesis course, in successive semesters. A special feature of the thesis program at UD, this course reserves a weekly time slot for a series of required meetings that are designed to assist senior thesis candidates by enabling them to share research work in-progress with their peers. The course concludes with the Undergraduate Research Symposium, an important part of Honors Weekend in early May. At this half-day conference, many senior thesis candidates present their research to an audience of peers, faculty, and family members. Each thesis candidate also prepares an individual thesis defense for his or her committee in May.

Study Abroad

Qualified students may be able to receive Honors credit for courses offered abroad in some of the programs sponsored by the University. Brochures and applications for study-abroad programs can be obtained from UD’s Institute for Global Studies Office. The Honors College recommends inquiring about Honors Credit before registering for a particular course and program.