Department of English

Honors Information

Consideration for graduation with honors requires a GPA of 3.5 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 a director. For a thesis, students need a director 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 Honors Essays and Theses

  1. Select a general topic for a one-semester essay or a two semester thesis. Review previous honors topics.
  2. In consultation with your director, 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 director 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.
  3. Sign up for ENG 99a, 99b, or 99d (as appropriate).
  4. Research and write the thesis or essay. Determine a schedule for this step in consultation with your thesis or essay director. In order to be eligible for University prizes, essays/theses must be completed by the last week of April.
  5. If you have written a thesis, you may submit it electronically to the library.

The cover page should include:

  • Title
  • Name of author
  • Date
  • Names of Advisor and Second Reader
  • Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA