Honors Program Director
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 has an honors program director and an honors
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program?
How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend
The honors committee screens and interviews the self-nominated
candidates in order to admit into the program those most likely to
succeed in a course of study which includes tutorial instruction and
independent research. To be considered, a student must have
an overall 3.3 average, with a 3.5 average in English courses; faculty recommendations and the student's
motivation also weigh heavily.
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 a honors thesis while enrolled in L499.
The completed thesis is read by the advisor and another reader from the English department who then give the candidate a one-hour oral examination.
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
For honors candidates the following minimum course and credit
requirements replace those of the regular English major described in the
Bulletin of the College of Arts and Sciences:
Minimum Required Total 30 credit hours
- L202 Literary Interpretation 3 credit hours
- L371 Introduction to Criticism 3 credit hours
- One 300 hundred level course (appropriate to each of four periods
in the history of literature; English) 12 credit hours
- L399 Junior Honors Seminar 3 credit hours
- L499 Senior Independent Study 4 credit hours
- Electives 5 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, Literary Interpretation, and two 300-level courses in
historical periods 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
All the senior honors candidates normally enroll in two credit hours of
L499 in the first eight-week session of the spring semester.
During the second eight-weeks of the fall semester and the first
eight-weeks of the spring semester, all students enrolled in L499 will be
required to meet each week for a colloquium at which one or more students
will make some presentation on the work they are doing and the problems
they are encountering. These sessions will be chaired by the director of
the honors program; the directors of the students making presentations
will be in attendance, however, and will participate in the discussion
following the presentation(s).
The candidate chooses his or her own thesis director, often with the help
of the honors program director, who will suggest members of the English
Department whose special interests lie in the area of the student's
topic. 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 should complete a
brief 5 page thesis prospectus. The report should consist of a
detailed statement of the aims of the thesis as those have been developed
by reading and discussion-procedure rather than content may be
emphasized-and a bibliography of completed and projected reading. Two
copies of this prospectus are given to members of the English Department
who will serve as readers of the finished thesis. The candidate meets
with these two readers to discuss the prospectus and the aims of the
thesis. The director of the thesis normally assigns a grade of R for the
first semester of L499 on the basis of the work in progress.
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.