Guidelines for Honors Students in English

Guidelines for Honors Students Regarding Requirements for Graduating with Honors in English: 
Directed Study, Graduate-level Courses, and the Honors Thesis

Students who wish to graduate with Honors in English must complete the requirements below in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Honors Program for Graduation with Honors. These requirements may be applied to the English major or completed in addition to regular major classes.

For Honors in English :

1) Either an additional Directed Reading or a 6000-level graduate course .

For High Honors in English :

1) 1 above plus 
2) An Honors Thesis.

For Highest Honors in English :

The same requirements as High Honors with the cumulative GPA (3.9) required for graduating summa cum laude.

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 from the Honors Office and complete an application for the course.
  • With the help of your Director, prepare an attachment to the application that includes
    • a 100-word summary of your topics
    • 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)
    • the course outcome, e.g. a paper

No later than one week before the end of the term preceding ther term in whcih you wish to enroll in the Directed Study (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.*
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.

*You may submit portions of your application digitally. Contact the Undergrad office for details.


  • Register for ENGL 4960H (1st Directed Reading) or ENGL 4970H (2nd Directed Reading).

To enroll in a graduate-level course to fulfill a requirement for graduation with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors in English, you should:

Obtain a form from the Honors Office requesting permission to enroll in a graduate course. 
Obtain permission of the instructor to enroll in the course and have the instructor sign the form. 
Go to the English Graduate Office (320 Park) to reserve a seat in the course and receive P. O. D. clearance to register for it. 
Register for the graduate course when you register for your other classes.

The Honors Thesis is a substantial essay or creative work of no fewer than 25 and no more than 50 pages. Your Directed Study course may cover subject matter in preparation for the thesis, but does not have to. Follow the instructions for Directed Study, with these modifications:

In addition to securing a faculty member to serve as Director of your thesis, find another faculty member, preferably in the same field as the Director, who will agree to read your thesis and participate in your oral examination.
Submit a 250-word thesis proposal instead of the 100-word proposal required for a Directed Reading.
Submit a substantial bibliography with your application for approval by the Undergraduate Committee.
Register for ENGL 4990H.
Consult the Honors Handbook or the Honors office for directions on the final stages of preparing the thesis. Follow the Modern Language Association rules for documentation.

No later than one week before the end of the term in which you hope to earn course credit for your thesis, defend your thesis in an oral examination by your Director and the other faculty member who has agreed to read your thesis. An Honors Program representative may attend. It is your responsibility to work out a time that suits all participants.