Honors in English


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

Honors in English

The Essentials

Complete ENGL 2010 and indicate your interest in English Honors by way of the department’s online form.

Complete three scholarship and criticism Honors seminars. Two of these three courses require earning a grade of A- or better.

English Honors Seminars

English faculty members often teach honors seminars on topics closely related to their own research projects. These small advanced courses encourage knowledgeable and lively 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. The goal of such courses is to refine and strengthen research and writing skills, enabling students to sustain longer arguments in comparatively greater detail. These courses require substantial reading and culminate in a 15-20 page essay.

Fall 2019 Seminars focusing on scholarship and criticism will be ENGL 4005: “Inventing an American Past” taught by Prof. Kathleen Diffley (fulfilling American Literature, 18th/19th centuries requirements), and  ENGL 4008: “Art, Trauma, and Survival” taught by Prof. Marie Kruger (fulfilling Transnational and Postcolonial Literature, 20th/21st centuries requirements).

Independent project options

The third of the three required honor seminars can be replaced by an independent project, categorized as ENGL 4040, “Undergraduate Honors Project.” These capstone options might follow one of the following patterns:

  • A scholarly or critical thesis
  • A research-based independent study resulting in a report, essay, digital publication, or another genre
  • A collaborative project with a faculty mentor
  • A different option, developed in concert with and approved by a faculty mentor

Here is an example in proposal form of one possible independent project
[link to Jake Edwards/Anne Stapleton collaboration]

If you pursue an independent project in lieu of one of three honors seminars, you will need to work with your mentor to secure an instructor code to sign up for ENGL 4040.

Interested students should, in their junior year, seek out possible mentors and complete an Independent Study Form.


In your final semester, upload a portfolio of written work achieved in the English Honors program, with a three-page reflection on your learning as demonstrated in the writing.

Please consult the Director of the English Honors Programs for information on this process.


Students who wish to graduate with honors in English must take three honors seminars (or two seminars and an independent project) and must meet the grade requirements of those three courses. The students must have a cumulative UI GPA of 3.33 or better, a cumulative UI English GPA of 3.5 or better.

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.

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

University Honors and the ATI Honors Society

To clarify the relationship of the English Department Honors Programs to these two honors initiatives. 1) Be mindful that English Honors Seminars and English & Creative Writing Honors Seminars do *not* count for the part 1 phase of University Honors. 2) Similarly, the ATI honors society dedicated to literary studies and its local chapter Sigma Tau Delta are not affiliated with the English Department Honors Programs.