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English Honors Program Requirements


Please join English honors by completing this form before October 1st of your junior year.  If you need exception contact the honors director.


English faculty members often teach honors seminars on topics closely related to their own research projects, small, advanced classes yielding enlightening and engaging classroom discussion. Past seminars have considered everything from Radio Essays to Paradise Lost to Digital Poetics.

Honors seminars are limited to 18 students, carry 3 s.h. credit and meet three hours each week. In order to prepare students to research and write theses, these courses require substantial reading and research and culminate in a 15-20 page essay.

Students who wish to graduate with honors must take two seminars (usually in their junior year) and receive an A- in at least one of them before beginning work on their theses.

  • Spring 19 Seminars will be:  ENGL 4006: British 18th/19th: "Great Scots! Writers Who Inspired the World" with Anne Stapleton and ENGL 4003: Interdisciplinary Literature: "Flip It: Climate Change and The Construction of Paradise" with Barb Eckstein

Theses - This page is undergoing changes.  Please check in with Kathleen Diffley for details. 

The honors thesis is the culmination of an English honors student’s study, and part of the requirements to graduate with honors in English. With five different types of theses to choose from, students have written theses on everything from anime fan fic to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to the music of John Lennon, working under the close supervision of an English faculty member. Creative theses are also allowed for those students in the English and Creative Writing major. We have seen students write a collection of essays or short stories or write an entire musical.  

Completion of a thesis project takes two semesters, one for the fall thesis workshop, and one for the student to work independently with a chosen director, a total of six hours of credit. If one is graduating in December one takes the independent coursework early, during one's junior year.  

The EHP has established careful guidelines for each of the five types of English honors theses accepted by the department: literary and cultural studies, electronic writing and multimedia production, English education, creative writing, and interdisciplinary work, which allows a student to earn honors in two departments with one, lengthier project.

Read more about honors theses (e.g., types of theses, how to choose a director, thesis workshops, and submission and evaluation). 

To watch video interviews with some of our 2015 seniors about their theses watch here:


Students who wish to graduate with honors in English must take two honors proseminars, complete a two-semester thesis project, and have a UI GPA of a least 3.33 and an English GPA of at least 3.5.

Graduating with honors in English takes a minimum of three semesters, so we encourage you to consider the requirements early in your undergraduate career and join the EHP by October 1st of your junior year.  Ideally, students will complete honors courses and theses over four semesters, allowing the senior year to be devoted to the thesis. If you take an independent study course credit to finish the thesis or for another project, you will need to fill out the Independent Study Form.

If you have questions about the English Honors Program, contact EHP Director Professor Kathleen Diffley.