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The Honors Program in English

by Chris Thomas — Posted Sep 30, 2014 01:36 PM

Lisa Sternlieb or Marcy North
128 Ritenour Building
(814) 863-4533
lrs18@psu.edu and mln14@psu.edu

The Honors Program in English provides the opportunity for superior students to broaden and deepen their literary understanding through seminars and individual study.  Students take three Honors Seminars and write a Senior Honors Thesis under faculty supervision.  Names of candidates for the Honors Program are submitted by Department of English faculty.

Students who have a GPA of 3.7 or better at the end of their fourth semester or later and who also have a GPA of A- or better in English courses other than English 015, 030, or 202 are eligible to apply for membership in the Honors Program.

This program consists of twelve credits of Honors work in English to be arranged in the following manner:  nine credits of English 300M:  Honors Course in English (the equivalent of a 400-level course) and three credits of English 310H:  Honors Thesis in English.  All 300M and 310H courses fulfill 400-level distribution requirements.  The program does not require a student to take more credits than designated for the Major or Minor in English; it merely asks that twelve of those required credits be earned within Honors courses.  Undergraduates can fulfill the requirements for Honors in conjunction with any other emphasis (such as Creative Writing) offered by the Department.

A 3.7 GPA is normally required at the time one starts the program, and a minimum of 3.5 must be achieved for each subsequent semester.  For more information, interested students should contact the Honors Director.

Prerequisites for Admission to English 310H

All students who plan to write an honors thesis in English shall have completed nine credits of English 300M (the honors seminar) prior to the term in which the thesis will be written.  Work out your academic plans accordingly.  This is especially important for students who intend to study abroad during part of the junior year.

The Schreyer College currently requires honors candidates to submit a rather schematic thesis proposal form at the end of the sixth semester.  The English faculty would like to see a somewhat more detailed proposal from honors students by the end of the fourth week of the semester prior to the term in which you intend to write your thesis.  This proposal must include: (1) a 500-600 word explanation of the thesis topic; (2) a working title for the project; (3) a reasonable working bibliography; (4) the signature of your intended adviser; and (5), if possible, the name of a preferred second reader.  (Both the primary adviser and second reader must be members of the faculty with standing appointments--i.e., persons at the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor.)

Students who intend to complete their senior essays in Creative Writing will ordinarily be expected to have completed a minimum of six credits of course work in that field before proposing a senior project to a member of the faculty.  Typically, the sequence of prerequisites would include at least one 200- and 400-level writing workshop and, preferably, an honors seminar (300M) in creative writing.

Ideally, students who intend to submit a creative work for English 310H should plan on completing all the requirements for the Creative Writing Emphasis, as outlined in the English Major Handbook.

Honors Thesis Proposal Form