The English Literatures & Writing Honors program is designed for students of demonstrated ability and commitment. Students in the English Literatures & Writing Honors Program spend the senior year working closely with a faculty mentor to research and write an Honors Thesis, a scholarly research essay or creative project of about 50-70 pages. Graduates with Honors degrees in English Literatures & Writing are well prepared for a number of post-graduate careers, including graduate study in literature, publishing, journalism, advertising, the law, social justice/advocacy work, and anywhere else where analytic and creative ability and strong writing and communication skills are valued.
Honors Program Requirements:
Students wishing to enter the honors program must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and a major GPA of at least 3.75, and will take a minimum of eleven or fourteen (depending on your major) courses in the English department, including the two honors independent studies devoted to thesis work. Below is a rough timeline for honors work. Please see the Honors in Creative Writing web page for requirements for the creative writing honors project.
Spring Junior Year: Early in the spring of the junior year, the Honors Committee will contact eligible junior English Literatures and English & Creative Writing majors and encourage them to consult with individual professors.
Interested students should also attend the presentations of the current honors students, which ordinarily take place in April.
Students should then consult with faculty members to find one who will serve as a mentor for his/her/their project. As faculty are not required to mentor students, and are not remunerated for the work, students should leave plenty of time to find a mentor who is interested in working with them on their project.
By May 5 of the junior year, the student must submit a preliminary proposal to the Director of the Honors Program. This proposal should be roughly 3-5 double-spaced pages (750-1250 words), must include a working bibliography of primary and secondary resources, and must be accompanied by a letter of endorsement from a faculty mentor. Guidelines for what this proposal should include may be found below. Please contact Cathie Ingram, Administrative Assistant, for examples of successful proposals.
If any part of the proposal is missing, a member of the Honors Committee will contact the student before exam week, and the student will be asked to remedy the omission before commencement. During this time, the student should meet with his/her advisor to make a plan for ongoing work and to address any concerns expressed by the Honors Committee.
A student wishing to pursue honors must also arrange and register for an honors independent study with his/her/their mentor for the fall of senior year.
Summer following Junior Year: An honors student will generally work with his/her mentor in the spring of junior year, to decide on a course of summer study designed to facilitate his/her work in the fall.
Fall Senior Year: During this time the honors student should work with his/her mentor to develop a more detailed prospectus and bibliography. This prospectus must be submitted to the Honors Committee by November 15. Guidelines for what the prospectus should include may be found below.
After the November prospectus is submitted, the Honors Committee, in consultation with the Faculty Mentor, will determine whether the student may proceed with the Honors Program. Any student who is not cleared to pursue honors in the spring will finish in the fall, receiving credit for an application-based, graded Honors Independent Study. Similarly, any student whose work has taken other directions may opt to exit the program at this point. Students planning to complete the honors program should arrange a second honors Independent study with their mentor for the spring of senior year.
Spring Senior Year: Honors students present their work at a public forum and then submit their work to their advisors and two additional faculty readers (one of whom may be from outside the English department) by the end of spring classes and defend it in a year-end conversation with these three faculty members, who will determine the degree of honors to be awarded (none, honors, high, or highest).