We encourage interested students to pursue Honors in English. Students must have achieved a 3.65 average in English as well as a 3.65 average overall in order to receive Honors in English. (Please note: if you do not confidently anticipate such an average, you should not apply for Honors.) Naturally, Honors Students must satisfy all the requirements for a regular English major with the following additional requirements: they must take nine English courses at the 300-level or higher (instead of the usual eight), one of which must be L14 3991, the Senior Research Seminar, a two-semester sequence. The seminar aims to cultivate the intellectual habits and skills required for a successful honors degree, and it should be taken in the fall and spring of the senior year. Prospective Honors candidates who will be studying abroad during one or both semesters of their junior year must consult the Director of Honors before departure.
To apply for Honors candidacy, students must submit a writing sample (an essay of no fewer than eight pages in length written in a previous English literature course) and an application form. Students must also ask two English literature instructors to write recommendations on their behalf, to be emailed directly to Sarah Hennessey, the Academic Coordinator in English. All application materials must be submitted to Sarah by May 10 in the student's junior year. The department's Undergraduate Committee and Director of Honors will review applications in May, and students will be notified of the outcome by the middle of June.
Please contact Professor Guinn Batten, the department's Director of Honors, if you have any questions.
The following requirements apply:
Honors by Thesis
In April of their junior year, students wishing to undertake a sustained research must first find a potential thesis advisor and then, in consultation with the advisor, develop a thesis proposal (two pages) in which they describe the nature of the project. Sample proposals may be requested from the Academic Coordinator. Proposals should be submitted with the other application materials by May 15th. The director's signature on the application form will be taken to indicate his or her support for the project and willingness to undertake its supervision. Students whose applications to the program have been successful should begin their reading and research over the summer, and will enroll during each semester of their senior year for one unit of L14 5001, Honors Thesis Tutorial (this is in addition to the course requirement noted above). They will work with their thesis advisor towards the successful completion of a 50-70 page thesis by the last day of the third week in March of the senior year. If, in the course of the fall semester, the thesis director is unable to predict with confidence that the thesis will satisfactorily be completed, the project may be terminated at the end of the fall semester with the possible award of three units in recognition of the work accomplished during the fall. A completed draft of the thesis must be submitted to the thesis advisor by the end of January, and three copies of the completed thesis must be submitted to the Academic Coordinator by 4 p.m. on the last day of the third week in March. An oral examination based primarily on the thesis will be taken after the thesis has been submitted (normally within a few weeks), with an examining committee of three faculty members, including the thesis director.
Please consult The Path Towards Honors: A General Roadmap for approximate deadlines.
Determination of Level of Honors
There are three types of academic recognition that a student majoring in English may receive upon graduation: College Honors, Latin Honors, and/or English honors.
College Honors: This designation is noted on a student's transcript and is automatically awarded to all Arts & Sciences students who graduate with an 8th-semester, overall GPA of 3.65 or higher and who have not participated in a department's Latin Honors program. In other words, it is not possible for a student to receive both the College Honors designation and (any level of) Latin Honors.
Latin Honors: There are three different levels for this designation – cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude – all awarded for undergraduate work that deserves special recognition. Latin Honors are awarded by the College of Arts & Sciences and are, therefore, attached to the degree, not to the major. These honors are printed on the diploma and on the transcript. The College of Arts & Sciences requires a recommendation from the student's major department as part of the decision to award Latin Honors, and each department sets its own requirements for making such a recommendation. For English majors to receive this recommendation, they must apply for and successfully complete the department’s Honors program. Beginning with the Class of 2015: upon certification by the English Department of completion of the Honors program, your A.B. cum laude level will be awarded according to the following proportions: the top 15 percent in overall grade point average of Latin honors candidates will receive summa cum laude, the next 35 percent magna cum laude, and the remaining 50 percent cum laude.
English Honors: This designation also has three levels – Distinction in English, High Distinction in English, and Highest Distinction in English – and is awarded at the English Department's discretion. English Honors are not tied to GPA or the level of Latin Honors, but are intended to serve as an acknowledgment of the quality of a student’s work towards the thesis and the quality of the thesis itself, as determined by the thesis committee. This notation will appear on the transcript, but not the diploma.