Honors Program

The department’s honors program gives our seniors the opportunity to conduct intense and independent work in English literature and language. The program begins in the fall semester with an Honors Seminar, in which all honors students are required to enroll.

In the spring semester, each student completes an honors thesis, an extended paper on a topic of their own choosing. students work on the thesis in consultation with a faculty advisor. This is an excellent opportunity to pursue in-depth, independent research on a topic that has always interested you. Students who are in the creative writing track of the English major can choose to do either an extended scholarly or critical thesis or a thesis that consists of a collection of poems or short stories, or a more extended piece of fiction, creative non-fiction, or dramatic writing.

While the fall seminar is intended to prepare and focus students for the in-depth work of writing an honors thesis, the possible topics for theses need in no way be bound to the seminar topic.

All junior English majors are invited to apply by March 19, 2024.

Honors Course, Fall 2024: ENGL 396: Theory, Criticism, Methods

Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15 PM 

Professor Matthew Omelsky

The Fall 2024 English honors seminar will concentrate on a wide range of readings in fiction, theory, and criticism, as well the process and practice of writing itself. Novels by Abdulrazak Gurnah (By the Sea) and Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go), along with influential essays by Walter Benjamin, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Edward Said, Gloria Anzaldúa, Eve Sedgwick, and others, will serve as our models for what fiction, theory, and criticism can do. Eric Hayot’s Elements of Academic Style will give us tools for our critical writing practice, and ways of seeing how criticism is constructed. Finally, alongside a selection of poetry and prose by writers like Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde, we’ll read Claudia Tate’s immensely influential edited volume of interviews, Black Women Writers at Work, to gain a sense of how some of the most celebrated American poets and fiction writers of the last half century have gone about their craft.