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Senior Honors Thesis

Students invited to pursue Honors Recognition in English (Literary Studies or Creative Writing) should review and follow the guidelines below.


  1. By the end of Spring Semester of their junior year, selected students will receive written notice from the Chair of English inviting them to pursue Honors recognition. Students need not make a decision immediately about pursuing this opportunity, but they should give consideration over the summer to their plans. They are encouraged to discuss this invitation with the chair and/or other faculty members of the English Dept.

  2. By September 15, the English Dept. faculty will convene a meeting with all invited students to review the process, expectations, and requirements. Students should come to this meeting with at least some general ideas about the focus of their project. This meeting is mandatory for students who plan to pursue Honors recognition.

  3. Students who are studying off-campus in fall and/or spring can inquire about optional arrangements.

  4. By October 1, the department will assign an advisor for each honors project.

  5. The Honors track has two .25-unit stages, as follows:

    1. Prior to fall break, student enrolls in a .25-unit Special Project (ENGL 390) for work to be undertaken in the second module of Fall semester. Special project forms may be found online or in the Registrar’s Office. This project should be titled “Senior Independent Project” (and, if desired, a more specific title indicating focus) on the ENGL 390 Special Project form. Regular meetings and student work should commence in the first week of the second module and continue throughout the Fall semester. This work can be any combination of research, reading, writing, etc. appropriate for developing and completing the early stages of a successfully completed project. The advisor and the student should agree (as stated on the special project form) about required activities and outcomes (such as meetings, assigned reading, bibliography, prospectus, pages written, etc.) to be completed by the end of the module.

    2. At the end of fall semester, the student and their advisor will agree on whether to continue in order to complete the second .25-unit stage in the first module of Spring semester in order to receive Honors recognition. If they agree to complete the project, the advisor and the student should identify a second faculty reader to participate in the project during the Spring semester (this second reader should also sign off on the Special Project form). This project should be titled “Honors Thesis: Topic X” on the ENGL 390 Special Project form.

  6. In those cases where the advisors recommends against honors, students still receive graded credit for the special projects (“Senior Independent Project”). If the committee recommends the award of honors, that designation will appear on students’ transcripts as well as in the commencement program.
  7. Work should be completed April 1. Students must prepare at least four copies of the project: one copy for the primary advisor, one for the second reader, one for the Chair of the English Department (for the department’s archive), and one for the College Archives.

    1. The English Department copy may be turned in to the department chair or, if the chair is not present, to the department coordinator (WAC 205 A).

    2. The College Archives copy should be turned in to the college archives in the basement of the library.

Honors in Literary Studies

A literary studies honors project should be a substantial critical investigation. It should be 20-25 pages long (12-point font, 1-inch margins), its documentation should conform to MLA guidelines, and it should be polished in appearance (including a cover).

Students may wish to expand upon prior topics of research or to include substantially revised earlier work, if the advisor approves this decision and if students feel that the revision demonstrates particular critical and interpretive strengths.

Students interested in completing a digital project should consult with their advisor and the department chair for guidelines before completing the project.

Honors candidates are encouraged to present their work on Symposium Day.

Honors in Creative Writing

A creative writing honors project is a substantial collection of new or revised work, 15-20 pages in poetry or 25-35 pages in prose.

Students interested in completing a play, screenplay, film, or digital project should consult with their advisor and the department chair before completing the project. The student may wish to include substantially revised earlier work, if the advisor approves this decision and if the student feels that the revision demonstrates particular writing strengths.

The work will be in genres decided upon in consultation with the faculty advisor. An important part of the project is a carefully prepared introduction in which candidates discusses their writing (process, influences, development, goals, frustrations).

The department encourages candidates to present their work at campus readings, in campus publications, or on Symposium Day.


Honors projects should be professional in appearance and have a cover, page numbers, and a table of contents (if appropriate). The appearance and format of creative writing projects may vary with each project. The project advisor, in consultation with the co-advisor and student, should choose an appropriate format.

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