Honors Course Setup in SIS

Considerations and Guidelines

Timeline for student enrollment

A major factor dictating when a course or course section’s Honors designation can be changed is student enrollment.

  • Honors course designations should be checked and updated as part of the regular curricular build timeline.
  • If needed, Honors designations and requisites can be changed after the course schedule for the upcoming term is published, but before students enroll.
    • Students typically begin enrolling in Fall term courses in April.
    • Students typically begin enrolling in Spring term courses in November.
  • After students have begun to enroll, it is generally NOT possible to change Honors course designations or enrollment restrictions.
  • If a student enrolls in a section with an Honors designation, the instructor must make a path to earn Honors available in that section.

Office of the Registrar Curricular Build Information

Type of Honors course

Three Honors designations are available. Each corresponds to different characteristics and enrollment options for students. For Honors in the Liberal Arts students, these designations also impact which Honors requirements can and cannot be fulfilled by a particular course.

  • Honors Only (“HON”)
    • Seminars or faculty-taught discussion sections/labs reserved for Honors Program students
    • Foster intellectual engagement, active learning, and community
    • Typically designated at the section level and would only apply to one section (occasionally two) of a course with multiple discussion sections/labs
  • Accelerated Honors (“HOP”)
    • Not limited to Honors Program students, but may have other eligibility criteria or requisites
    • Typically cover notably more content or go into greater depth than a non-Honors versions of a course
    • May be designated at the course level (if approved through Academic Governance) or section level
  • Honors Optional (“HIA”)
    • Not limited to Honors Program students
    • Allow individual students to select the Honors Option as part of their enrollment and then complete an Honors-specific project or experience
    • Designated at the section level and should apply to either all sections or no sections of a course
      • In cases where multiple topics are taught under the same course number, different instructors may make individual decisions about whether to offer the Honors Option.

Instructions to add these designations can be found in the UW KnowledgeBase.

 SIS/Building Your Schedule of Classes – Adding Honors Designation

Distribution of Honors across sections

Along with knowing which type of Honors will be taught, you must determine which course section(s) will have that designation.

The guidelines below support policies from the Registrar’s Office regarding the teaching of designated Honors courses. Furthermore, following these policies can help the Honors Program consistently advertise and advise about Honors offerings, reduce student and faculty confusion about Honors course types, and minimize the burden on instructors and staff associated with students seeking Honors credit that does not align with their enrollment.

  • Honors Only
    • For lecture courses with an Honors Only discussion section or lab, the Honors Only designation is assigned only to the relevant faculty-taught discussion section(s)/lab(s).
    • If an Honors Only section is being offered, other sections of the same course should not be set up with a different Honors designation. A single course should not have a mixture of Honors Only and Honors Optional sections.
  • Accelerated Honors
    • Same general guidelines as Honors Only.
    • For courses that are approved as Accelerated Honors at the course level, that designation should apply to all sections.
  • Honors Optional
    • The Honors Optional designation should either apply to all sections or no sections of a course.
    • Limiting the Honors Option to particular sections is not an effective or encouraged strategy to control the number of students seeking Honors credit in a course. If an instructor would prefer to not have Honors-seeking students spread across all sections, we encourage considering an Honors Only course setup. Honors staff are also eager to discuss Honors project ideas that may help the instructor manage Honors offerings while maintaining a meaningful experience for students.

Enrollment restrictions (for Honors Only courses)

Honors Only sections should include a section-level requisite that students be declared in the Honors Program.

The requisite 000003 (Declared in Honors program) will restrict enrollment to declared Honors students.

If you need a more specific enrollment restriction, please contact honors@honors.ls.wisc.edu or work directly with the Registrar’s Office.