To be eligible to earn honors in English, students must:

  • have a departmental GPA of 3.7 or higher and an all-college GPA of 3.5 or higher;
  • produce exceptional work in the Senior Project Workshop; and
  • pass the Oral Defense.

Process for an Honors Project (See Timeline)

  • Students declare their intent to pursue Honors in English by emailing the department chair.

  • Students secure a faculty sponsor and email the sponsor's name to the department chair. In deciding whom to ask, students should consider: the faculty sponsor's expertise in relation to the proposed project; their working relationship with the faculty member; the faculty member's schedule and other commitments. Potential sponsors will need to read the prospectus (completed in Senior Seminar) and speak with the student about the project's development; students should contact potential sponsors with plenty of time for such conversations before the deadline for securing a sponsor.
  • Students work on the project prior to and during the Senior Workshop. The faculty sponsor will provide feedback on the Senior Project and communicate to the student the benchmarks for a finished project worthy of Honors in English and Creative Writing.
  • Students discuss with their sponsors potential outside faculty members to serve on the defense committee and contact those faculty members. Students should also notify the department chair when they have secured their outside committee members.
  • Students submit completed Honors Projects to the committee via email.
  • Students defend the Honors Project to the committee.
  • Students complete any required revisions and submit the completed Honors Project to the sponsor electronically and to the library archives in hard copy, bound.

Oral Defense

Honors defenses will be public.

The Honors Oral Defense committee will be made up of three English and Creative Writing faculty members and one faculty member from another department. The committee will meet with the student for 1-2 hours, reviewing the project and asking questions about it. Following the defense, the committee will discuss the project and the student's ability to answer the committee's questions. The committee will decide on one of the following:

  • Pass: The student should receive honors.
  • Pass on condition: The project and defense approaches this level of excellence but needs further work. The student should receive honors on condition of satisfactorily completing the revisions required by the committee.
  • No Pass: The committee determines that the project and defense do not meet the department's expectations for the designation of honors.

Timeline

Item Completed By
Students declare intent to pursue honors by emailing the department chair The end of Block 1
Students secure faculty sponsors and email department chair The end of Block 2
Students secure outside members and email department chair 2nd Monday, Block 6
Students email Honors Projects to all committee members 4th Monday, Block 6
Students complete oral defenses of Projects 3rd Friday, Block 7
Students email final versions with revisions to sponsors and submit bound copies to library archives 2nd Monday, Block 8 

Guidelines for the Prospectus

For students in the creative writing track:  Guidelines for the Creative Prospectus

In 2 double-spaced pages, describe the project you wish to complete, addressing the questions below:

  • What central idea/question do you want to engage with through your creative work?
  • Where did your interest in this project emerge?
  • If you are beginning with work you produced for another class, explain how this project differs.
  • What reading, or other preparation, do you intend to do?
  • What medium will you use (e.g., a sonnet sequence, a novel, a short story)?
  • What do you expect to gain by completing this project?
  • What do you hope to contribute with this project?  

Note:  you should submit a substantial bibliography of preparatory material you plan to read. 

For students in the Literature or Film tracks:  Guidelines for the Critical Prospectus

In 2 double-spaced pages, describe the project you wish to complete, address the questions below:

  • What central idea/question do you plan to explore?
  • Where did your interest in this project emerge?
  • If you are beginning with a paper you wrote for another class, explain how this project differs.
  • What reading, or other preparation, do you intend to do?
  • What critical methodology will you use?
  • What do you expect to gain by completing this project?
  • What do you hope to contribute with this project? 

Note:  you should submit a substantial bibliography of preparatory material you plan to read.