Consideration for graduation with honors requires a GPA of 3.50 or higher in courses counting toward the major, and satisfactory completion of a senior honors essay (one-semester ENG 99a or 99b), which counts as an eleventh course. Qualified students may elect instead to complete the senior honors thesis (ENG 99d for two semesters) of which one section may count as an elective.
To write an honors essay or thesis, students must arrange to be advised by a faculty member in the department who has agreed to direct the essay or thesis. The undergraduate advising head (UAH) can assist students in finding appropriate directors. For an essay, students only need one advisor. For a thesis, students need an advisor and a second reader to approve the work. Departmental honors are awarded on the basis of excellence in all courses applied to the major, as well as all courses taken in the department, including the senior essay or thesis, as determined by the department faculty.
Students in the creative writing major who complete ENG 96d will be considered to have completed a senior honors thesis.
General Guidelines for
English Honors Essays and Theses
You must have completed at least five courses in the English concentration and you must have a GPA of 3.5 in your English courses to be eligible for honors.
Steps to follow:
1. Select a general topic for a one-semester essay or a two semester thesis. Review previous thesis topics here.
2. Discuss your topic with one or more potential faculty advisors, until you have a definite and explicit commitment from a faculty member who agrees to advise you. For an essay, you only need one advisor. For a thesis, you need a second reader (see below).
3. In consultation with your adviser, draft a proposal (two pages): outline your topic, methods, sources, texts you plan to examine, questions you will ask and your likely conclusions. Have your advisor approve and sign your proposal. In the case of the thesis, the approved proposal should reach the UAH by the add deadline of the first thesis-writing semester. The UAH will assign a second reader by the beginning of the second thesis-writing semester.
4. Sign up for ENG 99a, 99b, or 99d (as appropriate).
5. Research and write the thesis or essay. Determine a schedule for this step in consultation with your thesis or essay advisor. In order to be eligible for University prizes, essays/theses must be completed by the last week of April.
6. If you have written a a thesis, you may submit it electronically to the library. Those instructions can be found here.
The cover page should include:
Name of author
Names of Adviser and Second Reader
Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA