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Undergraduate Program

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 on a topic of their own choosing. The thesis is ordinarily an extended scholarly or critical essay, but majors in creative writing can submit extended work in prose or poetry as their thesis.

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.

You may complete the application online. Applications for Fall 2019 are due March 8, 2019. If you have any questions about the honors program, please contact Professor Ken Gross at

Fall 2019 Honors Seminar (ENG 396)

Quixotic Readers
Professor Katherine Mannheimer
T  11:05-1:45 p.m.


The literary tradition is full of erring readers, from Cervantes' deluded Don Quixote, to Goethe's melancholic Young Werther, to the obsessed narrator of James' Aspern Papers. What does it mean to read the "wrong" way? Has this implied something different at different points in history? Does errant reading involve an overestimation — or underestimation — of fiction's relationship to the real world? An excessively worshipful — or excessively dismissive — stance toward a text's author? Our syllabus will encompass novels, poetry, drama, and short stories; authors will include Cervantes, Pope, Swift, Lennox, Austen, Goethe, Sheridan, James, Nabokov, and Roth, among others. Select works of theory and criticism will also figure into our discussions.