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Departmental Honors Program

 

The English Department Honors Program

The program provides the opportunity for our majors to pursue an area of study they are passionate about through a semester of independent study to produce an original thesis under the supervision of a professor in the department.

History

The English Honors Program was established in 1985 to operate in parallel with the UW Honors Program and additionally to offer opportunities for English Majors who were not part of the UWHP.  Since then over 150 students have completed the requirements for English Honors and gone on to a variety of careers and advanced degrees. 

Eligibility

Only English majors can pursue English Honors. Typically, students have a GPA of at least 3.50 in English courses. Occasionally, exceptions are made if a student has a faculty sponsor who plans to serve as their thesis supervisor.

Getting Started

Begin by identifying candidates for your supervisor. Typically, students work with the professor whose class sparked their interest in the topic. You are also free to seek out other faculty in the department whose research areas speak more directly to your interests. You can browse the English Department faculty bios online. If you’re still stuck, schedule a meeting with the English Honors Program Director to brainstorm ideas. Then identify a second reader. This doesn’t necessarily need to be someone in the English department, though it can be. You may select any faculty member on campus (or even at another institution) whose knowledge and feedback you think will be helpful to you as you work toward the completion of this project. Once you’ve identified your committee, fill out the 4630 form and have it signed by all relevant parties. You may register for 4630 for 1-3 credit hours, depending on your needs. The English Honors Program Director will serve as the instructor of record and will process your final grade after your defense.

Thesis Workshop

Each spring semester, the English Honors Program Director runs a thesis workshop that will supplement your regular meetings with your advisor. The workshop is intended to give the time and space in which to write, feedback on your writing, strategies for success, and—most importantly—community with your thesis-writing peers. Not all students are able to fit their thesis work into the spring semester or the workshop into their schedules; therefore, the workshop is not a requirement for the completion of your honors thesis but it is highly recommended.

Thesis Options

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Students have an array of choices for their thesis. Previous options have ranged from an academic paper of roughly 30 pages, an interactive website on a topic of choice, a short creative work like a film, a graphic novel (as shown above), a collection of short stories, or a curated exhibit with a provided rationale.

Application Process

  1. Identify a prospective thesis supervisor and arrange a meeting to brainstorm topics.

  2. Fill out 4630 form and submit to Honors Program Director Dr. Zibrak for approval.

  3. Register for 4630 in the semester you plan to defend your thesis. (Spring is recommended if possible for participation in the workshop.)

Past Honors Students (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Forms

ENGL 4630 proposal form

Thesis Defense Report

For additional information, please contact Arielle Zibrak, Honors Program Director.

Portrait of Arielle Zibrak

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