Honors Program

The English Honors Program is designed for outstanding English majors interested in the intensive study of literature and culture in small discussion seminars and in independent exploration of a special topic of their own choosing under the guidance of a faculty member. An honors thesis is expected to make a substantial and persuasive argument situated within, and contributing to, current critical debates while demonstrating exceptional verbal clarity and sophistication. The honors thesis may be either a critical essay of 35-50 pages or a substantial piece of creative writing.


  1. Completion of all English department requirements
  2. One term of Seminar:  Capstone ENG 407
  3. Two terms of Thesis: ENG 403, a directed program of study or creative writing under the guidance of an appropriate advisor
  4. Senior thesis–either a critical essay of thirty-five to fifty pages or a substantial piece of creative writing. The thesis must be approved by the advisor and a second reader (typically both faculty members in English) after an oral defense

Admission and Supervision

Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.70 in their English courses and completed at least two upper-division English courses.

Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, Clark Honors College English Majors who have been accepted into the English Honors Program and complete the requirements for both the Clark Honors college Thesis and the English Honors Program may submit an English Honors Thesis awarded a Pass or Pass with Distinction to fulfill the thesis requirement for both English Department Honors and the Clark Honors College Thesis. Failing theses cannot earn English Department Honors and cannot be used to satisfy the Clark Honors College Thesis.

Admission is decided by the Department’s Curriculum Committee and is based upon the applicant’s academic record, a brief description of the applicant’s proposed thesis project (no more than 500 words), and the recommendation of two faculty members in the English Department. Students may reapply to the Honors Program one time, but no later than the last term of their junior year.

Students choose their thesis advisor and second reader in consultation with the Director of the English Honors Program. While registered for thesis credit (ENG 403), students confer with the thesis advisor at regular intervals as mutually agreed. They may also confer with their second reader. Students keep the Director of the Honors Program informed of their progress.

To apply for admission to the English Honors Program, contact Heidi Kaufman, the program director and Associate Head of the English Department.

Important Forms:

The English Honors Program

Individualized Study Form

Completing the Honors Thesis

Honors Thesis Cover Page Template

Honors Thesis Signoff Form