BA Honors in English
English Honors Program is a three-course sequence, the first taken in
the Spring of your Junior year and each of the last two during your
Senior year. The program guides dedicated English majors like you
through the process of developing your own independent work, while
promoting intellectual exchange in a small community of scholarly and
creative writers. English Honors students learn advanced research
methodologies and develop individual research projects on issues, texts,
and ideas which capture their intellects and their imaginations.
this program, you will be encouraged to "think outside the box." The
independent projects that you develop will pose creative and
critical interventions in your own, your classmates', and your readers'
senses of the world.
If you wish to explore a project that raises ethical, social and political
questions exceeding conventional answers, the English Honors Program offers an exciting "capstone"
to your Undergraduate experience.
What all English Honors theses have in common is a study of texts. But the term texts can be broadly defined. How you define the term and what you select as a primary object of investigation can lead to a provocative and highly original thesis project that might not meet your presuppositions about the possibilities for the work we do in literary and cultural studies. In
students have pursued projects as
diverse as: a materialist study of the coca leaf; an investigation of how
illicit street art creates new public imaginaries and thus opens
possibilities for newly politicized communities; an analysis
of Reddit.com’s extension of the literary coterie’s public
sphere; an exploration of the early modern political function of the
poetic epyllion; and the comparison of non-human protagonists in a novel
and in anime to explore how the idea of the human is naturalized in
times of technological revolution.
completion of the program earns an Honors Certificate in English and nomination
for graduating with "Honors in English," distinctions that enhance any résumé whether you are considering pursuing any
of a number of post-graduate careers or an English MA, MFA, or PhD.
If you are considering
graduate school in a field other than English Studies, the Honors
Program can provide excellent preparation for that chosen path, too. The
sophisticated questions and independent scholarship Honors students
typically produce are attractive to admissions officers in many disciplines, including: law, journalism, art history, education,
and library and information sciences.
Graduating with honors
makes you more attractive to all kinds of employers in a highly competitive market. Your Honors
thesis is proof of your superior writing, thinking, and research
skills. Non-academic fields that require larger projects of
sustained research and critical writing to support evidence-based argument
include: legal briefs; annual reports to a board of
directors; business, marketing, and consumer reports, researched investigative assessments of other agencies (such as
those written by the EPA); and government research on past or proposed legislation.
Employers, like those quoted in recent
articles in Forbes and The New Republic, recognize that
today's society produces not only increasingly sophisticated
products and services but also complex cultural meanings, ideas,
and values. In addition to technical skills and knowledge, thoughtful living in the new global culture
requires subtle and nuanced ways of thinking and understanding
cultural and social meanings. An
Honors thesis gives you room to pursue, with peer and faculty support, an independent course of study based on your own intellectual
passions that will help you carve out a meaningful and critical place for yourself in life beyond the University.
program consists a sequence of three courses―English 399Z, 498, and 499―that all support your growth and sharpen your gifts as a writer and
creative thinker. These classes will introduce you to the tools and strategies
needed to successfully complete your independent and original Honors thesis
project, the culmination of your work in the program. An Honors thesis in
English Studies is a critical essay or creative writing project, typically
between 40 and 50 pages in length. Beginning in the fall of your Senior year, the
process of developing, researching, and writing that project is broken down
into small steps. Throughout your Senior year, you will work closely in a one-on-one
basis with a faculty advisor, who will help you hone your ideas, find key
sources, and sharpen your argument and your writing for your independent
project. (For more details about the Honors courses' content, click the link
“View the Honors Handbook” above and scroll down to the “Sequence and
to the program is based on a selection process that primarily considers the strength
and originality of applicants' writing samples. Typically, applications are
submitted in the spring of Sophomore year. However, interested students also
are encouraged to apply in the fall of their Junior year. You must be an
English major, and graduating with Honors necessitates a GPA in the major of
3.5 and an overall GPA of 3.25. If your GPA is close to but slightly below
those minimums, and if your writing and ideas and drive are strong, you still
should consider applying since one can always pull up a grade point
applicants should have completed at least 12 credits in English, including
English 205Z, 210, and a 300-level course (preferably 305V). If you are
planning on doing a creative project, you should also have had an upper level
creative writing workshop (such as English 302W/302Z and/or 402Z) or be
actively involved in another writing community, through such work as tutoring
in the Writing Center or being involved in the undergraduate magazine Arch. The Honors Committee that reviews
the applications may waive particular requirements when appropriate.
Transfer students may apply
to the program upon acceptance to the University.
Click here to submit the
online application for English Honors.
Applications for Fall 2015 are being accepted until November 20.
Honors Degree Breakdown
To remain in the Honors Program
students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of
3.50 in English courses and a minimum 3.25 overall. A student who leaves the
honors program is responsible for completing the regular English major
Degree requirements for English Honors
entail 37 credits that consist of the following:
- 9 credits
of major core courses: English 205Z, 210, and 310
credits of required courses: English 305V, 399Z, 498, and 499*
- 6 credits from
literature surveys: English 261, 291, 292, 295, or 297
- 6 credits specifically from 300- and/or
400-level English electives
- 3 credits from another 200, 300, or 400-level
In consultation with English Advisement and the Honors Director, English 399Z
can be replaced with a 500- or 600-level course relevant to the student’s
thesis topic during the senior year.
The three credits for this elective can be from an English course, or the
student may count 3 credits of coursework from other departments that have
already been approved substitutes for English Electives. To see the list of
“Approved Courses for English Electives” in the Undergraduate Bulletin, click here and scroll to the bottom of the