499Y Honors Research: Contract and Registration Form

499Y Honors Research: Contract and Registration Form

Part I of Honors Thesis

Create a 499Y Honors research contract to enroll in the first semester of a two-semester Individually Contracted Honors Thesis. Consult this document when completing the online form. See the next page for elements of the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal you must include as part of your research contract.

For accessible assistance with the form please contact the office by phone at 413-545-2483


Registration Process

  • Students initiate an independent two-semester Honors research academic contract by signing into CHC PATHS and submitting a 499Y Honors Research: Contract and Registration Form, which includes the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal.
  • Students must identify a Thesis Committee Chair before submitting a 499Y Semester Plan Proposal.
  • Students complete each section of the 499Y Honors Research: Contract and Registration Form and submit it for review and approval.
  • After a student submits the form, it will be reviewed by:
    • Thesis Committee Chair and the Honors Program Director in the department in which the Honors Thesis will be registered (typically the student’s major)
    • Honors Program Director in the student’s department
  • The CHC Council Academic Standards Committee
  • Upon approval by all of the above, enrollment in 499Y Honors Research will be completed by Commonwealth Honors College.
  • If necessary, students should contact their academic dean to request a credit overload and remove any holds on their SPIRE account that might hinder course registration.

The length of the process depends on multiple factors, but is typically completed by the end of the Add/Drop period. Commonwealth Honors College recognizes that many students need the Honors Thesis credits to reach full-time status and makes the effort to enroll students as quickly as possible.



Visit CHC Paths for the current deadline.



Students indicate the number of hours to be devoted to the research or creative endeavor each week. The number of weekly hours corresponds to the number of credits to be earned. The Thesis Committee Chair assigns the number of credits using the university’s standard ratio of three hours of student work each week per credit (i.e., 3 credits = nine hours of work each week for 13 weeks). Credits are approved by the Honors Program Director before enrollment.



As the first part of a two-semester effort, the 499Y may be graded with a “Y” instead of standard letter grade (A through F). The “Y” grade serves as a placeholder until the second semester work is complete and a final grade is submitted for 499T (or 499P). At that point, the Y grade is revised.


499Y Semester Plan Proposal

As part of the 499Y Honors Research Contract and Registration Form, the semester plan is a binding academic contract (similar to a course syllabus) that outlines expectations. It protects students and Thesis Committee members from misunderstandings that might cause grading problems. Students should complete each section of the semester plan and consult the Thesis Committee Chair for guidance.

Honors Thesis Goals

  • Describe what you intend to discover or create during your Honors Thesis Research Manuscript or Portfolio experience.

Key Readings

  • List the items that you plan to read in preparation for your own work. A literature review formatted in a style appropriate for your discipline is required as part of the proposal for the 499T/P semester.


  • Indicate how often will you meet with your Committee Chair. • Describe your Committee Chair’s expectations of such meetings.

Specialized Training

  • Does your proposed activity involve live human beings? If so, your committee chair may need to contact the UMass Office of Human Research Protection to establish whether your proposed work falls under the federal definition of human subject research. Please indicate the status of your proposed work in this regard.
  • If your Honors Thesis work requires specialized training (e.g., human/animal subjects testing, lab-safety instruction, survey technique), please specify the type of training required and when and from whom that training will be obtained. Review the Students Conducting Human Subjects Research page for more information.

Methods or Agenda

  • Explain your broad goals for the Honors Thesis. In language appropriate for your disciplinary area, describe how you will decide on your methods or agenda.
  • If you have already decided on your methods or agenda and have begun or will start your original work in the 499Y semester, describe what you will do in language appropriate for your disciplinary area.
  • If you are not in a position to describe your methods or agenda at this stage, note that you are required to do so in your proposal for the 499T/P semester plan.


Give the deadline, dates, and descriptions, where relevant, for each of the following:

  • An assignment due before the end of the “Withdrawal Period” (see UMass Academic Calendar), such as:
    • summary of the initially assigned readings.
    • draft of one or more sections of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal.
    • first draft of a chapter of the Honors Thesis.
  • Other first-semester assignments, such as:
    • weekly lab reports.
    • annotated bibliography specified by your Committee Chair.
  • Completion of the literature review.
  • Initiation of thesis research or creative endeavor.
  • Recruitment of the second Committee Member, who must be named in the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal.
  • Creation of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal.
  • Online submission of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal prior to the end of the 499Y semester. (See exact deadlines on the CHC PATHS landing page.)


Student Instructions for CHC PATHS

1. Log In

Visit the website: honors.umass.edu/chc-paths. Log in using your UMass NetID and password.

2. Start a New Contract

Determine which type of course contract you would like to create. 499Y: Part I of Honors Thesis—to enroll in the first semester of an Individually Honors Thesis. 499T/P: Part II of Honors Thesis—to enroll in the second semester of an Individually (two-semester) Honors Thesis or in a one semester (6-credit) Honors Thesis. ISH: Independent Study Honors—to enroll in an independent study.

3. Information

Review relevant details about submitting a course contract.

4. Student Section

Review the information about your major and Honors plan. Contact an Honors Advisor to make changes. Indicate the faculty member(s) who will guide your independent work. Enter the number of weekly hours you will dedicate to your independent work.

5. Semester Plan/Proposal

As part of the course contract, the semester plan or proposal is a binding contract (similar to a course syllabus) that outlines expectations. Students should complete each section of the proposal and consult the faculty member for guidance.

6. Finish/Submit

Save the form to return later and make further revisions. Submit it if you have entered all of the requested information and are ready to submit it for review.