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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Judith Brown
Honors Program Director
Ballantine 422

1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?

The English department's honors program is run by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and its Undergraduate Studies Committee.

2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program? How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend themselves?

Students interested in the honors program submit an application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. To be considered, a student must have an overall 3.3 College of Arts & Sciences GPA, with a 3.5 English major GPA: acceptance is based on the strength of the student's proposed project and previous training in the program.

3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?

An honors student must meet the minimum course and credit requirements (listed in #4 below), and write an honors thesis while enrolled in L499. The advisor and second reader must approve the final thesis and pass the student at an oral defense.

4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in certain courses?

For honors candidates the following minimum course and credit hour requirements replace those of the regular English major described in the Bulletin of the College of Arts and Sciences:

  • L260 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Literature, 3 credit hours
  • L203, L204, L205, or L206 Introductory genre course, 3 credit hours
  • L371 Introduction to Criticism 3 credit hours
  • L310 Literary History I, L312 Literary History II, and L316 Literary History III, 9 credit hours in the history of literature; English) 12 credit hours
  • Two L499 Senior Independent Study sections 4 credit hours
  • Electives minimum 11 credit hours
Minimum Required Total 33 credit hours

Note: So that honors candidates will have the requisite writing practice before taking the seminars, and so that they will have sufficient background in English literature to make a reasonable choice in the subject of their thesis topics, the honors committee recommends that they take L202, Introduction to the Advanced Study of Literature, and two of the three Literary History surveys in their sophomore year.

5. What is the nature of the senior project and what are the requirements for completing it?

In the senior year, the candidate for honors conceives and executes an honors thesis of 30 to 50 pages; the thesis is usually the product of two semesters' work. All the senior honors candidates normally enroll in two credit hours of L499 in each of the fall and spring semesters.

The candidate chooses his or her own thesis director. The relationship between candidate and director is informal; they usually meet once every week or two and develop a systematic program of research leading toward completion of the thesis.

By the middle of the first semester, the candidate needs to complete a 5-page thesis prospectus. The prospectus must be approved by the thesis advisor. The advisor normally assigns a grade of R for the first semester of L499 on the basis of the work in progress. At the end of the year, students will receive a letter grade for their work in each semester of L499.

6. How might the work required for an honors degree be particularly beneficial in future endeavors?

Students learn how and where to find resources as well as how to work independently. They develop the analytical and interpretation skills during their research and writing of the thesis that will be necessary in graduate school or in any professional context. The thesis gives them a strong piece of writing that will demonstrate their ability to organize and complete an ambitious project.

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