Students accepted into the program must complete the minimum coursework, professional development, directed service, and thesis requirements in order to receive English Honors upon graduation. Please see below for information about the minimum course requirements, GPA requirements, and our probation policies.
Courses and Curriculum Requirements
English Honors students must complete, with a grade of B or better, at least 18 hours of honors courses in the English Department (or courses cross-listed with English). This coursework must include:
- ENGL 303H – A discussion-based honors seminar taken in the first semester as an English Honors student (3 hours).
- A minimum of three additional Honors-designated courses in English (9 hours).
- ENGL 491H – A directed study focusing on theory and research methods and producing a thesis prospectus under the guidance of a faculty member serving as thesis chair. This course typically will be taken the semester prior to your final semester (3 hours).
- ENGL 497H – Thesis hours under the guidance of the thesis chair producing an original creative or scholarly thesis and presentation. This course typically will be taken in your final semester (3 hours).
Professional Development and Directed Service
English Honors students must report on participation in at least three professional development and/or directed service opportunities per semester. These events foster community and further enrich the scholarly experience of English Honors students. Approved experiences include a wide variety of events in order to encourage engagement with scholars, performers, writers, artists, and community members throughout the humanities.
If the English Honors student fails to attend and report on the requisite professional development and service activities, the following policy is enacted:
- A student who reports attending at least one events in a semester will be placed on a one-time, one-semester probation. If the student meets the requirement in the following semester, probation is lifted, but if the student fails to meet the requirement in any of the following semesters, the student is dismissed from the program.
- A student who reports attending no events in a semester will be dismissed from the program.
Students will design and create a capstone project in literature, rhetoric, or creative writing. The Honors Thesis offers our students the opportunity to devote sustained attention to a focused research or creative project. Other options include capstone programs coordinated through Honors and Undergraduate Research, such as the Teacher Scholars program. Under the one-on-one guidance of a professor specializing in the field of the student’s choosing, students will participate in a year-long sequence culminating in the presentation and submission of their final work.
Students must first take 491H (a directed study providing a theoretical basis for the capstone project) and then 497H (research hours in which the execution and presentation of the capstone project will occur) under the direction of a faculty chair. At the end of the two-semester sequence, the capstone project must be completed in order to graduate with English Honors.
The student must establish a contract with a faculty member in the English Department who will serve as capstone chair. The faculty chair will supervise the production and presentation of the student’s original project. Paperwork for both 491H and 497H must be submitted during pre-registration for those courses.
Capstone Sequence Checklist
All English Honors students in their final two semesters of coursework will:
- Coordinate with the English Undergraduate Office (and the LAUNCH office as appropriate) in order to pursue a contract with a capstone chair during pre-registration before the student’s final year.
- Submit the application paperwork for 485H.
- Enroll in 485H under the direction of a capstone chair in order to conduct research and structure a theoretical background, prospectus, annotated bibliography, and timeline for the Honors Thesis or other approved capstone experience.
- Develop and submit a 3-8 page prospectus and timeline to the English Undergraduate Office at least five working days prior to the last class day of 485H.
- Submit the application paperwork for 491H.
- Enroll in a 491H the semester following 485H and complete the final capstone project/thesis under the direction of capstone chair.
Thesis Option Descriptions
Thesis must be of a substantial length, reflect the years of Honors coursework and study completed, and contribute original work to the creative, performance, and/or scholarly community. Options are as follows:
- Literary Studies thesis: Thesis must be 20-50 pages in length and involve a presentation component to be decided upon by the student and thesis chair. Topic and form are flexible. Topics and texts analyzed can range from works of literature (both canonical and popular culture) to film, digital media, or material culture. The research component may include archival research, multi-media analysis, or a combination of both; creativity is encouraged. The presentation can be performative, practical, or employ the use of multi-media. An electronic copy, including the cover page form, must be submitted to the English Undergraduate Office at least five working days prior to the last class day.
- Rhetoric thesis: Thesis or project must be 20-50 pages in length and involve a presentation component to be decided by the student and thesis chair. Form is flexible, and can incorporate practical application, intensive research, and/or compilation of data. The presentation can be performative or employ the use of multi-media. An electronic copy, including the cover page form, must be submitted to the English Undergraduate Office at least five working days prior to the last class day. Special arrangements can be made through the thesis chair for projects that are not print-based.
- Creative project: Creative projects must consist of a portfolio of original work or a final draft of a longer creative writing project. Genre is flexible and may include fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, or a combination of various genres. Form is also flexible and can incorporate print, multi-media, performance, or practical applications of original writing. An electronic copy, including the cover page form, must be submitted to the English Undergraduate Office at least five working days prior to the last class day. Special arrangements can be made through the thesis chair for projects that are not print-based.
*NOTE: Students interested in discourse studies or linguistics research should follow the Literary Studies thesis guidelines. Topic, form, and presentation are flexible. Please see the English Undergraduate Office or your advisor if you have further questions.
The English Honors student is required to maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 and major GPA of 3.5 in order to maintain eligibility. Compliance with the GPR requirements will be checked at the end of each academic year.
If the English Honors student fails to maintain a 3.5 GPA overall or in the major, the following probation policy is enacted:
- GPA of 3.25-3.49 – Student will be placed on a one-time, one-semester probation; if after one semester, the GPA does not rise to 3.5, the student will be dismissed from the program. During this probation period, the English Honors student may not continue to take English Honors courses, but must continue to participate in Professional Development Events and Directed Service.
- GPA of 3.24 or below – Student will be dismissed from the program.
Keeping in Touch and Advising
English Honors students are responsible for checking for email updates and important deadlines from the English Undergraduate Office. An online forum will be set up for each incoming honors class for students to report on professional development and service experiences and facilitate an online community. Students are also required to see their English advisors every semester to discuss program requirements and graduation checklists.