Honors options

Go to the forms page for a copy of the Honors Option Agreement Form, which must be completed by the end of the second week of the semester.


Honors options (also referred to as “H-Options”) are an important enrichment opportunity for Honors College members and other academically talented undergraduate students at Michigan State University.  Honors Options enable students to undertake academically rigorous studies that broaden or deepen their learning in an existing CMSE undergraduate course, as supervised by the instructor of the course in which they are enrolled.  In order to do this, students must commit to more intensive and advanced work than is required by the course.  Note that a high grade in a course does not in itself merit the awarding of an Honors Option - an Honors Option project should be a creative activity or activities that broaden and/or deepen a student’s understanding of topical material related to the course in question.


Any undergraduate-level course in CMSE qualifies for an Honors Option as long as it carries a minimum of 3 credits, and as long as the student receives a grade of at least 3.0 in said course.  Note that this includes both CMSE 491 ("Selected topics in CMSE") and CMSE 499 ("Independent study in CMSE").

Honors option timeline

  1. First week of class:  students who are interested in pursuing an Honors Option should speak with their instructor to discuss the possibility of pursuing an Honors Option and come to an agreement as to the scope of the project.
  2. End of second week of class: document the agreement between student and instructor in the Honors Option Agreement Form.  A copy of this form should be kept by both the student and the instructor.
  3. By the end of finals week: the Honors Option project should be completed to the satisfaction of both the student and the instructor.
  4. After the semester ends and grades are turned in:  the instructor submits students for their Honors Option via the Administrative Action Form System (the "H-Option Report" or "H-Option Report - Multiple Student" forms).  This requires information about the student, such as their PID and a short summary of the project.

Admissible H-option activities

Some example activities that may result in an honors options include, but are not limited to: research papers or case studies, optionally culminating in a poster or talk in some venue; the creation of a video, podcast, piece of software, or webpage that is made available online; or a regularly-scheduled seminar or discussion outside of normal class hours to explore topics of interest; or a service-focused project.  Please note that Honors Options can be pursued by a group of students working together at the instructor’s discretion; the scope of the project, however, should be commensurately greater. 

Some activities are not appropriate for Honors Option credit and will not be approved by the department.  This includes activities that are typically considered to be the purview of Teaching Assistants, Learning Assistants, or the course instructor, such as running help room, recitation, or exam review sessions, or tutoring other students in the class.  Furthermore, simply doing more work for a class without that extra effort substantially broadening or deepening students’ understanding of the course material will not be considered sufficient for Honors credit.