English Honors Concentration

In the English Honors Concentration, select majors create programs tailored to their own particular interests and needs. A faculty mentor guides each of these students through this intensive experience. The principal feature of the Honors Program is a year-long research process culminating in the completion of an Honors Thesis.

If you have questions about the Honors Program contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


How to apply

Invitation to Apply

By the end of Fall of their junior year, students are invited to apply after being identified in one of two ways.

• 3.78 or above GPA in three or more English classes
• Faculty Nomination with a minimum GPA of 3.6

At least two of the three classes must be at the 30xxx level or above.

Statement of Purpose

Invited students declare their interest in the Honors Concentration by completing a Statement of Purpose, a 250-300 word statement describing what the student hopes to focus on during his or her time in the Honors Concentration.


Students take a minimum of eleven English courses at the 30xxx-level or above, which include the following:

  1. All of the course requirements for the major.
  2. One optional advanced course, related to the thesis, from another department (requires the approval of the Director of the Honors Concentration).
  3. During the junior year, the student identifies an area of interest and selects an advisor.
  4. In the fall of the senior year the student takes ENGL 53001: Honors Colloquium, in which s/he conducts research, writes a proposal, and begins writing the thesis.
  5. In the spring of the senior year, the student enrolls in English 52999: Honors Thesis and completes the thesis. See the next item for details about the Honors Thesis.


See the link at the left for abstracts of theses from previous years. The English Department also has copies of complete theses from previous years. Contact the department if you would like to consult them.

Fall: Honors Colloquium

In the fall semester students enroll in the Honors Colloquium (ENGL 53001) and complete a series of assignments through which they begin the process of writing the thesis. Students work primarily with the instructor of the colloquium but consult with their individual thesis advisors about developing a specific research topic, research resources specific to the area of their thesis, and the writing of the thesis itself.  Students complete the following:

  • Research bibliography of primary and secondary sources
  • Sample notes from sources
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Review of the critical literature
  • Report on historical, philosophical, aesthetic or other related contexts
  • Thesis Outline
  • Draft section of thesis
  • Oral report on the thesis project

Spring: Honors Thesis

In the spring semester students register for Honors Thesis (ENGL 52999) and work intensively with their thesis director, who assigns the final grade for the completed thesis. All thesis should employ MLA style. The thesis should include the following:

  • Thesis Titlepage (follow link for example of proper format).
  • Table of Contents.
  • Abstract. 250-350 words.
  • An essay of 6000-9000 words including notes but not the works cited. Ordinarily, the thesis essay addresses a literary topic or question, situates its analysis in relation to the existing criticism, and formulates an independently conceived argument about this topic or question. The model is the scholarly article.
  • Works Cited.

Deadlines for the spring semester

  • Complete draft of essay to advisor. Friday, April 22, 2022.
  • Complete and final version (20-30 page) in polished form (MLA formatting) with bibliography due both to the advisor and the department (Kelly Huth). Abstract of 200-250 words due as well. Friday, May 6, 2022.*
  • English Honors Concentration Thesis Presentations: Wednesday, April 27, 10:00am-12:00pm.  *Note: Informal reception immediately following after which the Creative Honors Concentration Thesis Presentations will take place from 1:00pm-3:00pm.
  • Of course, these are the hardest of hard deadlines. Advisors are free to set earlier deadlines for the first drafts, or set deadlines for abstracts well in advance of May 

  • *For a student to graduate with Honors, the essay must earn the advisor's approval, be at least 20 pages in length, and earn a grade of B or higher.