The Nonfiction Writing Honors Program is intended for students who have been highly successful in their English concentration work. Specifically, it allows those who have an expressed and proven interest in nonfiction writing to pursue more completely a single project under the supervision of a first reader. The intention is to help students to complete work worthy of publication. The program culminates in the writing of a thesis during the senior year.
Students apply to the Nonfiction Writing Honors Program 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 students should already have made contact with at least one member of the Nonfiction Writing faculty and should meet with the Honors Advisor to discuss their proposed 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 Honors Program in Nonfiction Writing depends upon a student's demonstrated superior ability in nonfiction writing. Students must have taken either one intermediate and one advanced writing course, or two advanced writing courses by the end of their sixth semester and completed each with an S. To be eligible for admission, students must have earned more As than Bs (and no Cs or below) in other courses in the concentration plan. Students must submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a writing sample from an advanced writing course, and a project proposal.
See procedures and application for more details.
December or mid-year graduates who wish to apply for nonfiction honors have two options, but the first is highly encouraged:
In their 5th semester (Spring), students can apply to the nonfiction honors program along with the other juniors. Accepted students will be incorporated into the regular nonfiction 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 ENGL1993 Nonfiction Honors Seminar in the Fall and ENGL1994 Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction in the Spring.
In their 7th semester (the Spring of their final year) students take ENGL1200 and in their 8th semester (the Fall of their final year) they take ENGL1994. (Students choosing this option must consult with the Honors Advisor for information on deadlines.)
Students in the Nonfiction Writing Honors Program take two additional courses beyond the ten courses required by the Nonfiction Writing Track -- ENGL1993 Honors Seminar in Nonfiction Writing (with the Honors Advisor) and ENGL1994 Senior Honors Thesis in Nonfiction Writing; the Honors track will bring to twelve the total number of required courses. The ENGL1993 grade option must be S/NC; ENGL1994 must be taken for a grade. Honors candidates should discuss their proposed course of study with the faculty member they choose to direct their thesis.
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 a "C" after admission to Nonfiction Honors and wishes to continue in the program must complete an additional course in a comparable subject area, with a grade higher than C.
The Honors Thesis
The Nonfiction Writing Honors thesis is an extended project, usually of between 50 and 80 pages, written under the supervision of one of the Nonfiction Writing faculty and a second reader (who can be from literature or another department). The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the first reader, with assistance from the student's second reader. 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. The work typically is in a genre chosen from Nonfiction Writing's spectrum: critical analysis, literary journalism, memoir, lyric essay, or narrative based on travel, science, history, or cultural critique.
Full thesis drafts are due by mid-March; final bound copies 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 and 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 its first reader and second reader, each of whom provides written commentary and suggests a grade for ENGL1994.
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 Nonfiction Writing Honors Program. Following a successful review, the student will be eligible to graduate with Honors in Nonfiction Writing.
Here you can find a list of Previous Honors Projects.
Deadlines for 2021-22 Honors Theses in Nonfiction Writing
1) Secure second reader for thesis. Second reader should submit acknowledgment (via web portal) to Professor
2) Prospectus is due to the Honors Advisor, first reader, and second reader.
|Revised and SIGNED prospectus is due.
Note: Have your first reader and second reader approve and SIGN the prospectus before you submit it
in-person/class to Professor Kate Schapira.
|Nov. 9-16, 2021
||Register for ENGL 1994 (Nonfiction Honors Thesis) for Semester II. Professor Schapira will issue registration overrides via the CAB.|
|Minimum of 40 pages of draft material due to ENGL 1993 first reader, second reader, AND Professor Schapira no later than December 17.
Each Honors student must turn in a minimum of 40 pages of draft material to the first reader, second reader, and Honors Advisor to receive a grade for ENGL1993.
|First and second readers submit reports to Professor Schapira.|
|ASK concentration plan must be updated again to reflect courses you are counting toward the concentration and advisor approved.|
|Full DRAFT of the thesis due to Professor Schapira, Honors Advisor for Nonfiction Writing, first reader, and second reader.
|FINAL PDF copy of thesis is due to first reader, second reader, AND Professor Schapira.
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 first reader and second reader are due to Professor Schapira.