The English Department Honors Program provides an opportunity for students to pursue a year-long independent project under the guidance of Department faculty. Students will typically choose one of two options: a critical/research thesis (resulting in something like a scholarly article in a particular field of literary studies) or a creative writing thesis (resulting in a collection of poetry, short stories, or draft of a novel). The Honors Program begins mid-March after Spring Break of junior year, and Honors students submit their completed thesis in late-March of senior year.
Application: Students interested in English Honors should register for the Junior Honors Proseminar (359:496), a 1.5-credit mini course running for 7 weeks in the second half of spring semester. Admittance to the program follows upon successful completion of the course, at which time students will have submitted a proposal and secured the signature of an advisor who has agreed to supervise the project. In exceptional circumstances, later applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Complete the application form.
In order to qualify for English Honors, students must be declared English majors (minors are not eligible) and meet the following requirements by the end of junior year:
- Minimum 3.0 GPA overall
- Minimum of 3.6 in English Courses
- Coursework completed or in progress: 359:201; and at least one 400-level 358 or 359 course for a critical/research thesis, or a 400-level 351 course for a creative writing thesis. (Students—especially transfer students—with strong records of achievement who have not fulfilled these course requirements by the end of the junior year can still submit an application. Such applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.)
- Written agreement of a professor who will advise their thesis. Advisers must be faculty members in the English Department’s Literature or Creative Writing programs at the rank of Assistant Professor/Assistant Teaching Professor or higher.
Students wishing to complete an English honors project in conjunction with the Honors College, SAS Honors, or other College Honors Programs will be required to secure the approval of both the Undergraduate Director and the appropriate College Dean at the end of the spring semester of the junior year. The project will have to be framed to satisfy both sets of requirements and expectations.
Credits: A successful Honors project will earn a total of 9 credits. In the spring of junior year, all potential honors students will enroll the Senior Honors Tutorial (359:496, 1.5 credits). In senior year, students will register for the Senior Honors Seminar (359:497, 1.5 credits) and two semesters of Independent Study Honors (359:498 and 359:499, 3 credits each). The completed thesis will be evaluated by the advisor and a second reader. A grade of B+ or better will be required in order to earn the Honors designation.
Coursework: Before being formally admitted to the program, juniors interested in exploring the honors option should enroll in the Junior Honors Tutorial (295:496), a mini-course that starts after Spring Break. The course is non-binding: students can opt out if they decide honors is not for them. It will introduce the research or creative writing process, and prepare students to submit their proposal and find an advisor. Students who are studying abroad or have other obligations that take them off campus in the spring of junior year will be able to join the course remotely.
Over the fall of senior year, honors students produce the first drafts of their manuscripts, obtain feedback on drafts from their advisor. The Honors Director and Advisor will find a second reader who will provide comments on the Fall semester draft and will serve as thesis examiner.
In the spring of senior year, students will continue revising drafts of their thesis, which will be completed and submitted in mid-March. Each student will make a brief public presentation at the annual Honors Symposium, held at the end of April. Winners of Honors awards will be presented with their prizes at the same event, including the Jordan Flyer Prize for the best Honors thesis.
Grades: The grade for these courses will be determined in light of the student's thesis and their participation in the honors seminars. An Honors Committee, chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, will make the final determination of the level of honors (honors or high honors) to be awarded based upon the recommendations of the advisor and second reader, and upon the thesis itself.