The Honors Program in English

The English Honors Program is intended for students who have been highly successful in their English concentration coursework and who want the opportunity to pursue a research project in more depth than is possible in an undergraduate seminar. The program is intended for those students with a strong desire to conduct independent research under the supervision of a thesis advisor and culminates in the writing of a thesis during the senior year.


Students apply to the Honors Program early in the second semester of their junior year. December or mid-year graduates may apply in their 6th semester, but are encouraged to apply during their 5th semester and write their theses alongside May graduates. Interested concentrators should speak to the Honors Advisor early in their junior year to discuss their plans. Specific deadlines for admission are announced annually and are available on the department website. Students who are studying off campus are expected to meet the application submission deadline.

Admission to the English Honors Program depends on evidence of ability and promise in the study of literature. To be eligible for admission, students must have received more As than Bs (and no Cs or below) in concentration courses completed. Students must complete an application; supply a brief writing sample, and request two letters of recommendation from English faculty with whom they have taken courses. If necessary, letters may come from faculty in related departments. Letters from teaching assistants may only serve as supporting recommendations. Candidates must also submit a one-page project proposal signed by the faculty member who has agreed to serve as the thesis advisor. 

See procedures and application for more details.

December or mid-year graduates who wish to apply to honors have two options, but the first is highly encouraged:  

Option 1:

In their 5th semester (Spring), students apply to the honors program along with the other juniors. Accepted students will be incorporated into the regular honors cohort and must meet the same deadlines: i.e. they must complete their theses at the same time as the other honors students (though for mid-years this will be at the end of their 7th semester). They register for ENGL1991 English Honors Seminar in the Fall, and ENGL1992 Senior Honors Thesis in the Spring.

Option 2:

In the 7th semester (the Spring of their final year), students take an independent study with their thesis advisor, under whose direction they will begin to research and write their theses. This course must be taken S/NC.

In the 8th semester (the Fall of their final year), as they complete their theses, students take ENGL1992 for a grade. Mid-year graduates should consult with the Honors Director for information about deadlines.


The course requirements for the English Honors Program are the same as those for the regular concentration, with the following additions:

As part of regular coursework, and counting toward the concentration requirements, honors candidates must complete at least three upper-level seminars or comparable small courses in which students have the opportunity to do independent research, take significant responsibility for discussion, and do extensive scholarly and critical writing.  Students are encouraged to include at least one graduate seminar in their program. (Permission to take a graduate course must be obtained from the instructor.) Honors candidates should discuss their proposed course of study with the Honors Advisor.

During the Fall and Spring of the senior year, honors candidates must complete two additional courses beyond the ten courses required by the regular concentration: ENGL 1991 and ENGL 1992. ENGL 1991 is the Senior Honors Seminar, in which students begin to research and write their theses, as well as meet to discuss their work. This is a mandatory S/NC course. ENGL 1992, the Senior Honors Thesis is an independent research course that must be taken for a grade.

Honors candidates must continue to receive more As than Bs in courses taken as part of the concentration.  Courses completed with a grade of C will not count toward an Honors concentration. A student who receives such a grade and wishes to continue in the program must complete a comparable course with a grade higher than C.

The Honors Thesis 

 The Honors thesis is an extended essay, usually between 50 and 80 pages, written under the supervision of a department faculty advisor and second reader. (Where appropriate, the advisor or the reader, but not both, may be in another department.) The thesis may be an interdisciplinary or creative project, but it is usually an essay on a scholarly or critical problem dealing with works of literature in English. The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the thesis advisor, with assistance from the student's second reader. This process should begin in the latter part of the student's junior year. A good way to get an idea of what sorts of projects are possible is to visit the Hay Library, which stores theses from previous years, or to meet with the Honors Advisor.

A prospectus describing the project and endorsed by the faculty advisor must be submitted to the Honors Advisor at the beginning of the senior year. At the end of the senior year fall term, a student must submit approximately 25 pages of draft material toward the thesis. Full thesis drafts are due by mid-March; final drafts of the thesis are due in mid-April. Late theses will not be accepted for honors after the April deadline; students who hand in theses after the deadline but before the end of the term will receive a grade for the thesis course, but they will not be eligible for departmental honors. The completed thesis will be evaluated by the student's advisor and a second reader, each of whom provides written commentary and suggests a grade for ENGL1992.

For instructions on formatting and printing your thesis, title page and permissions page, please click here.


The English Department reviews the academic record as well as the thesis evaluations for each senior completing the Honors Program. Following a successful review, the student will be eligible to graduate with Honors in English.

Deadlines for 2021-22 Honors Thesis in English

Wednesday, 9/15/21
1) Secure second reader for thesis. Second reader should submit acknowledgement (via web portal) to Professor Jacques Khalip, Honors Advisor, English Honors Program.
Please provide web portal link to your second reader.

2) Draft prospectus and bibliography are due to thesis advisor and second reader.
Wednesday, 9/22/21 Revised and SIGNED prospectus is due.  Note: Have your thesis advisor and second reader approve and SIGN the prospectus before you submit it in-person/class to Professor Jacques Khalip.
Eight pages of writing due to thesis advisor and Professor Khalip.
Nov. 9-16, 2021
Register for ENGL 1992 (Senior Honors Thesis) for
Semester II. Professor Khalip will issue registration overrides via the CAB.
Ten more pages of writing due to thesis advisor and Professor Khalip.
Wednesday, 12/8/21
Minimum of 25 pages of draft material is due to thesis advisor, second reader, AND Professor Khalip. Each Honors student must turn in a minimum of 25 pages of draft material to the thesis advisor and second reader to receive a grade for ENGL 1991.
Thesis advisors submit reports to Professor Khalip.
ASK concentration plan must be updated to reflect courses you are counting toward the concentration and advisor approved.
Full DRAFT of the thesis is due to thesis advisor and second reader.  Thesis advisors and second readers must send written confirmation of receipt to Professor Jacques Khalip, Honors Program Advisor.

Final PDF copy of thesis is due to thesis advisor, second reader, AND Professor Khalip.

Final bound copy for archival purposes is due to Academic Program Manager Danielle Adams no later than 4:00pm.

Late theses cannot be accepted for honors after the deadline; students who hand in theses after the deadline but before the end of the term will receive a grade for the thesis course, but they will not be eligible for departmental honors.

Written reports and grades from thesis advisor and second reader are due to Professor Khalip.