On a practical level, contracts are assertions. They let you check (quantifier-free) properties of individual executions of a program. The key idea at the heart of contract checking is the idea of blame -- basically, you want to know who is at fault for a contract violation. This can either be an implementation (which does not compute the value it promised) or the caller (who passed a function the wrong sort of value).
The key insight is that you can track blame using the same machinery as embedding-projection pairs in the inverse limit construction of domain theory. Basically, you switch from working with assertions to working with pairs of assertions, one of which blames the program context and the other of which blames the program. Then this lets you wrap higher-order functions with contracts, because you can model the contravariance of the function space by swapping the pair of assertions. (See Nick Benton's paper "Undoing Dynamic Typing", for example.)
Dependent types are types. Types specify rules for asserting whether or not certain programs are acceptable or not. As a result, they do not include things like the notion of blame, since their function is to prevent ill-behaved programs from existing in the first place. There is nothing to blamed since only well-formed programs are even grammatical utterances. Pragmatically, this means that it is very easy to use dependent types to speak of properties of terms with quantifiers (eg., that a function works for all inputs).
These two views are not the same, but they are related. Basically, the point is that with contracts, we start with a universal domain of values, and use contracts to cut things down. But when we use types, we try to specify smaller domains of values (with a desired property) up front. So we can connect the two via type-directed families of relations (ie logical relations). For example, see Ahmed, Findler, Siek and Wadler's recent "Blame for All", or Reynolds' "The Meaning of Types: from Intrinsic to Extrinsic Semantics".