Honors in English

Strong English majors have the opportunity to take advanced seminars and to produce independent work leading to graduation with Honors in English. Honors classes are small, typically limited to fifteen students, and offer ample opportunity for discussion. The topics in Honors seminars (ENGH 400) change each semester, depending upon the interests and specialties of the faculty teaching them, but all emphasize close attention to textual analysis and the role of theoretical and critical approaches in literary interpretation. Students who elect the thesis option will have the opportunity to produce an independent writing project of their own design.

To Qualify for Graduation with Honors

To qualify for graduation with Honors, students must complete the Honors course sequence and receive a 3.50 GPA in all courses counted toward the major and, separately, a minimum 3.50 GPA in their Honors courses. Honors courses may simultaneously satisfy concentration and distribution requirements in the major.

Students may complete the Honors course sequence in the following ways:

  • Take two sections of ENGH 400: Honors Seminar
  • Take one section of ENGH 400: Honors Seminar and one section of ENGH 401: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar
  • BA students with a concentration in Creative Writing may apply to the Honors Coordinator and ENGH 495 instructor for permission to use ENGH 495 as a substitute for ENGH 401.

Who can take Honors courses?

Registration for Honors courses is limited to students who are currently enrolled in the Honors program. All English majors who have demonstrated a capacity for strong work in their English coursework are encouraged to apply to the Honors program.

How do I apply?

Students may be recommended by English faculty, or may nominate themselves for the program. To self-nominate, students should request a recommendation from an English Department faculty member in support of their application. The faculty recommender should be someone who has taught or is currently teaching the student. Faculty should discuss with self-nominating students what they want to see in terms of a student's performance to write a strong recommendation. 

All recommendations should be sent by faculty with confidentiality to the Honors Director. Students should also fill out an application and submit with it a sample literary or cultural analysis written for an advanced English course (3-5 pages or longer) by email to jburek@gmu.edu. Students in the Creative Writing concentration should submit an analytical paper written for an advanced English course (3-5 pages or longer) and a portfolio of creative work (approximately 10 pages). 

How do I register for ENGH 401: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar?

ENGH 401 is offered every spring. Students register for ENGH 401 in the preceding fall during the normal registration period. However, registration for ENGH 401 requires some additional steps, so plan ahead. 

  • To register for 401, students must identify a faculty mentor for their Honors Thesis. They should submit to their faculty advisor a proposal, consisting of a brief (100-200 words) description of the project, and a preliminary bibliography of at least eight sources (scholarly articles, book chapters, monographs) that they expect to consult in support of their thesis. 
  • After receiving approval from their mentor, students should fill out the attached form and email it to the Honors Coordinator, who will then clear you for registration.