The English Honors Program

The English Honors Program provides the student of unusual ability and interest in the study of literatures in English (American, British, and Anglophone Africa and Asia) to pursue intensive independent research while working closely with faculty and other students in the Honors Program. Students who successfully complete this program receive special designation at graduation and on their diplomas and transcripts. Students who wish to pursue the English Honors option should discuss their plans with the English Department Chair as early as possible.


1. Students designate two of their six upper-level historical period or major authors courses as Honors (these include, for major authors: ENG 215, ENG 340, ENG 341, ENG 343; for historical periods before 1800: ENG 335, ENG 336, ENG 344, ENG 345; for historical periods after 1800: ENG 337, ENG 338, ENG 339, ENG 347). The student who wishes to designate a course as Honors must arrange to do so with the Department Chair and the instructor for the course during or before the first week of the term. In the first Honors-designated course, the student writes two 5-8-page critical analyses during the first eight weeks and one 10-12-page critical analysis with research in the second. In the second Honors-designated course, the student writes two critical analyses involving some research: 10-12 pages in the first eight weeks and 20-25 pages during the second. With permission of the Department Chair, it may be possible to substitute course work completed during a junior year abroad for an Honors course.

2. During the senior year, typically in the second semester, students enroll in ENG 489 Honors Thesis. This tutorial allows seniors in the Honors Program to engage in intensive research and sustained critical writing. Under the supervision of one or more English faculty, each student prepares an honors thesis on a subject of his or her choice. A departmental committee evaluates the thesis. Students also share their work with other thesis writers and faculty at gatherings during the semester and eventually present their research in a panel discussion.

3. A student who expects to write a thesis on a topic that he or she has not studied extensively in a course should consider designing a two-credit independent study on that topic for the semester prior to the semester in which the thesis will be written. Such an independent study allows the student to develop the background necessary to carry out the intensive research and writing that the thesis requires.

4. Students should maintain a B average overall and must earn B grades or above in the honors offerings, including the thesis.

Titles of recent honors theses include: