What is a Contract?

Michigan Tech’s Honors Institute requires two forms of honors work in addition to maintaining your GPA:

  1. Performing three contracts
  2. Writing the essay portion of a nationally competitive scholarship

This work serves the dual purpose of giving merit to graduating in the Honors Institute and providing an opportunity to do more than just take classes while earning a degree. These contracts are research projects a student completes in his or her areas of interest.

The contracts do not need to be connected with your major or even a class you are taking – they should be something of interest to you.   The contract must be approved by a professor in the discipline of interest and/or the Honors Institute Director, but the specifics of the project are up to you and your imagination to define.

These contracts may seem vague and unusual, but they are a free ticket to investigate something you are interested in, and may even receive funding from the Honors Institute to complete. The open-endedness of these contracts is their biggest asset, allowing you to choose unique projects.

The result of a contract can be a research paper, a class presentation, or even a performance. Students are encouraged to come up with new and creative contracts.  Some examples are found in the “Completing a Contract” section.  If you can convince the professor and the Director, you can do it.

In order to complete a contract, a student must talk to a professor and the Honors Institute Director about their proposed idea (this will also typically involve explaining to the professor what an Honors Contract is) by explaining what the objective of the project is and how it will benefit the university and the student. If the professor approves of the idea, then the student must fill out a contract sheet. After signing the contract with the professor, the student does the project; upon completion the professor signs off on the contract, and the student brings the completed form to the Honors Institute Director.

Three contracts are needed to graduate from the Honors Institute.  It is recommended that you complete one per year. Contracts should take about 20 to 25 hours to complete, and can range from a week to a semester to complete depending on the project.  Some exceptions apply, as attending an event or preparing other projects may take much more time. Money is available on a competitive basis and the nature of contracts can be used to access campus lab equipment at the discretion of the sponsoring professor. Upon completion, a student may be asked to fill out a survey and/or present their work to the Honors Institute at a meeting. Your completed Honors Institute requirements will be noted on your transcript, including the titles of completed contracts.