A student may qualify for departmental honors in English by fulfilling the following special requirements in addition to the regular requirements for the English major:

  1. Earn a 3.5 grade-point average.
  2. Complete two consecutive semesters (6 credits), normally in the senior year, of 50:350:495,496 Honors Program in English (or any other appropriate English Department subject code, e.g. 352, 354, 570, 615, 989), under the supervision of a faculty sponsor.
  3. At the end of the second semester, make a presentation of his or her work to English Department faculty and students.


Normally, the program consists of one semester devoted primarily to preparatory reading and an examination, and a second semester devoted primarily to producing a substantial research paper, both in consultation with a faculty sponsor. A student who desires honors in English should make arrangements with a faculty sponsor during the semester preceding the beginning of the honors course and submit a one- or two-page proposal with a preliminary bibliography to the sponsor.  Once the proposal is approved, the student may preregister for the appropriate honors course and make arrangements for consultations with the sponsor.  An Honors project will normally involve a senior-year research thesis, but the Undergraduate Committee will consider conscientious alternative Honors projects when proposed with the endorsement of a faculty sponsor.  Such alternative projects must receive prior approval from the Undergraduate Committee.

In recognition of satisfactory completion of the honors program, the registrar will note on the student’s permanent academic record “Honors in English.”

Semester 1

The student must (A) prepare an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources and background readings proposed by the student in consultation with the sponsor, and (B) pass an examination towards the end of the first semester on these readings.  By the middle of the first semester the student should arrange a time for the examination with the sponsor.  Before the examination the student should submit the annotated version of this bibliography.  This exam may be written, oral, or both.  It will be evaluated as high pass, pass, or fail by the sponsor and where appropriate (as in the case of interdisciplinary projects) outside evaluators.  If the student passes, the grade for the first semester will be deferred until completion of the honors project by an “Incomplete” on the grade roster.

A student who does not pass the examination may convert the semester’s work to a non-honors Independent Study, with the permission of the faculty sponsor, by completing a 10-15 page paper under the sponsor’s supervision.  Instead of six credits for 495 and 495, the student would receive three credits for 407 or 408.  The sponsor should ask the Registrar to change the student’s registration to an Independent Study number, being sure to delete 495/496 from the record.

Semester 2

The student must write a paper of twenty-five to thirty pages, with a minimum of fifteen works in its bibliography, in consultation with the faculty sponsor.  The student should deliver the honors paper to the sponsor by a date agreed upon with the sponsor, allowing time for revisions. The sponsor will determine a grade for the entire six credits, based primarily on this paper and taking the first semester’s work into account.

If these requirements are satisfactorily completed, Honors in English will be made a part of the student’s permanent record.