Directed Reading Courses are courses of individual study, reading, or projects under the direction of a faculty member.

A directed reading course should not duplicate any course in the University Bulletin. To enroll in a Directed Reading in English, you should:

Find a faculty member to serve as director of the Directed Reading who is knowledgeable about your topic or area of interest and who is willing to help you design the study, meet with you on a regular basis, and assess your work. The director must hold the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Full Professor

Pick up an application for the course from the Honors Office and complete an application for the course

Write a Directed Reading Proposal with the help of your Director. A proposal should include

  • ​​​​a 100-word summary of your topic
  • a primary bibliography of literary works to be studied
  • a secondary bibliography of criticism recommended by your director
  • a statement of planned contact hours with your director (no less than a bi-weekly meeting)
  • a description of the course outcome, e.g. a paper, website, etc.

Click here to see a sample of a directed reading proposal.

In evaluating directed reading proposals, the Undergraduate Committee considers the following:

  1. Is the proposal specific in its research goals?

  2. Does the proposal replicate a course already on the books? According to Honors guidelines, directed readings should not cover material available to students through regularly offered courses. A specific proposal usually does not have this problem.

  3. Does the proposal list both primary and secondary sources appropriate to the research goals?
  4. Is the proposal well written?
  5. Does the proposal cover content material under the purview of the English Department (i.e. British Literature, American Literature, Rhetoric, Composition Theory, Linguistics, Literary theory)? In other words, is it an ENGL course?

Further Information:

No later than one week before the end of the term preceding the term in which you wish to enroll in the Directed Reading (contact the Administrative Coordinator for more specific suggestions for due dates), submit your application with its attachments to the Undergraduate Coordinator of the English Department (111 Park), who will distribute copies to the Undergraduate Committee. You may submit portions of your application digitally. Contact the Undergraduate office for details.

Upon notification of the Undergraduate Committee's approval of your Study, pick up your material from the Undergraduate Office and deliver it to the Honors Office.

Register for ENGL 4960H (if it is your first Directed Reading) or ENGL 4970H (for the second Directed Reading).

Students who wish to receive English department credit for a Thesis, for a Directed Reading, or for any Honors Research or Honors Thesis hours MUST turn in all their forms, syllabi, reading lists and other documentation at least THREE WEEKS before the end of classes in Fall Semester (for a directed reading or thesis the following Spring) or Spring Semester (for a directed reading or thesis planned for the following Summer or Fall).

It is the students' responsibility to read these guidelines and turn in these materials on time, NOT your Honors or English advisor's responsibility to remind you to do so. Students who fail to turn in their materials in time have the option of clearing their Thesis and Research/Directed Reading hours through Honors, in which case the courses will appear with the HONS prefix, NOT the ENGL prefix, on the transcript, and will NOT count towards the English major.