honors course

a course in a university or college consisting largely of independent research terminating in a dissertation or a comprehensive examination, and earning for the student who passes it a degree with distinction.
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Example sentences
It was an independent research honors course in the philosophy department.
Attendance is a crucial aspect of this honors course.
He went onto a private high school and took the heaviest allowable course load,
  including every possible honors course.
In terms of the depth of understanding, the honors course has higher
  expectations for students to be successful.
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