Honors in English & Creative Writing


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 & Creative Writing

The Essentials

Complete ENGL 2010 and ENGL 2020; indicate an interest in English & Creative Writing Honors by way of the department’s online form.

Apply with portfolio and complete two English & Creative Writing Honors Seminars. In addition, complete one scholarship and criticism Honors seminar, from within the English major. Two of these three courses require earning a grade of A- or better.

English & Creative Writing Honors Seminars

English & Creative Writing faculty members teach honors seminars dedicated to fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Instructors customize these genre topics according to their interests and goals. These small often workshop-oriented courses enable close attention from both the faculty leader and advanced peers in the course.

English & Creative Writing seminars are selective admission. Prospective students assemble a portfolio of their creative work and submit it electronically. Faculty review the applications and decide admission. Students apply a semester in advance and learn of their standing in the course prior to course registration, insuring that students will know their options before planning out course selection for the upcoming term. Any student who does not secure a place in a seminar is welcome to reapply each semester; different faculty make decisions for each course with different pools of applicants each time.

Applicants to the selective admission seminars are limited to declared English & Creative Writing majors who have completed at least 24 credit hours of college-level work (i.e., rising sophomores). Transfer students who fall under this amount should consult with the English Honors Program director.

Honors seminars are limited to 16 students, carry 3 s.h. credit, and meet three hours each week. The goal of such courses is to develop, expand, and refine reading and writing skills, enabling students to sustain longer projects, practice a variety of styles, and enrich specific techniques. These courses require substantial reading and often culminate in a wide-ranging or extensively composed and revised portfolio.

Fall 2019 Seminars in creative writing will be ENGL 4012: Honors Seminar in Fiction taught by Prof. Louisa Hall and  ENGL 4014: Honors Seminar in Creative Nonfiction taught by Prof. Jeff Porter.

Independent project options

One of the required E&CW honors seminars can be replaced by an honors independent study project/thesis, categorized as ENGL 4030 (“Undergraduate Honors Project in Creative Writing”) and led by English faculty, English and Creative Writing faculty, or faculty in a participating unit (the Writer’s Workshop, Theater Arts, or Cinema). These capstone options might follow one of the following patterns:

  • A set of short stories
  • A portfolio of poems
  • A play or screenplay
  • A long fiction or creative nonfiction work
  • A collaborative project with a faculty mentor
  • A different option, developed in concert with and approved by a faculty mentor

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 & Creative Writing 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.