Honors Students

We encourage eligible students to participate in the University Honors Program, which assists high-achieving students in making the most of their undergraduate education.

Honors English majors must complete two Honors Experiences in the major: an upper-level honors course and an honors thesis.

Upper-Level Honors Courses

Although course offerings in English change from semester to semester, we try to offer four to six upper-level Honors courses each year. These usually include Honors versions of our required courses in Textual Analysis (EngL 3001V) and Shakespeare (EngL 3007H), as well as several electives. In past years, Honors electives have included such courses as:

  • EngL 3010H: Honors: Studies in Poetry
  • EngL 3020H: Honors: Studies in Narrative
  • EngL 3023H: Honors: Children’s Literature
  • EngL 3151H: Honors: Romantic Literatures and Cultures
  • EngL 3161H: Honors: Victorian Literatures and Cultures

Please check the course listings for current upper-level Honors course offerings.

Writing a Cum Laude or Magna Cum Laude Thesis in English

Students graduating cum laude or magna cum laude complete their honors thesis in the Capstone Seminar or Writing Workshop, EngL/W 3960W. An honors thesis exceeds minimum requirements for a capstone project and offers a deeper analysis or a more nuanced and complex creative work. Students consult with their instructor to determine the specifics of how they will accomplish this.

Writing a Summa Thesis in English

Students graduating summa cum laude complete their honors thesis in two semesters of EngL 3883V. Summa candidates write a longer paper under the direction of a faculty advisor. The Guidelines for EngL 3883V explain the process for writing a summa thesis in detail.

Summa theses have been written on a wide range of topics in both literature and creative writing (including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid forms). Recent theses in literature include:

  • A Ghastly Display of Power: Writing and Authorship in Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw
  • The Dismal Science and its Dickensian Antidote: An Investigation into Charles Dickens’ Portrayal of Political Economy in his Novels and Journalism
  • Letters and Self-Representation: A Study of the Barrett-Browning Correspondence
  • Justice in Detective Fiction
  • Representations of Nature in Catholic Literature