The Honors Thesis in English
Guidelines for Directors, Committees, and Students
1. The thesis is to be an extended piece of work (something more substantial than a typical undergraduate term paper but not as formidable as a Master's Thesis), its character to be determined jointly by the director and student. In most cases, however, it is anticipated that the thesis in English will be a scholarly project generated by ENGL 4967 (Readings for Honors) and completed in ENGL 4997 (Honors Thesis), resulting in a study roughly equivalent to a graduate seminar paper (about 25-40 pages, typed and documented in accordance with MLA procedures). Creative theses are acceptable from those students who have demonstrated a particular aptitude for fiction or poetry and who have secured the consent of an appropriate director. In either case, the director may exercise discretion concerning length, research requirements, and content, tailoring the thesis to the student's proclivities, but expectations should be made clear and should be explicitly agreed upon by the director and the student at the outset of the project.
2. The student is to establish an advisory committee no later than the second week of the first term during which the thesis is to be undertaken. The committee consists of a thesis director, who will work closely with the student to provide guidance and instruction, and of two thesis readers, who will evaluate the final draft of the thesis and who will report their judgments of its quality to the director. The student is responsible for selecting a director and for securing his or her consent; ENGL 4967 and ENGL 4997 are undertaken with the thesis director. Thesis readers are to be chosen by the director in consultation with the student.
3. With one exception noted below, all deadlines for thesis progress and for thesis completion are to be set by the director; the student is responsible for meeting those deadlines in order to complete all requirements for Honors Program graduation. (No student may graduate as a University Scholar with an incomplete thesis.) In general, it is expected that the required paper for ENGL 4967 will form the basis of the thesis to be developed in ENGL 4997 and that a complete rough draft of the thesis will be ready for the director's review by mid-term of ENGL 4997. In all cases, however, the final draft of the thesis must be in the hands of the student's committee members no later than two weeks before the last day of classes of ENGL 4997, though individual directors may choose, at their discretion, to establish earlier deadlines for completion of the final draft so long as these expectations are clear to the student from the outset of ENGL 4997. In addition to satisfying the Honors College requirements for submission of the thesis, the student must supply the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies with a signed copy of the completed thesis for the department's permanent file.
Note: Under exceptional circumstances, the student may, with the consent of the director and with the approval of the department, repeat ENGL 4997 once for credit. Students are advised to bear in mind, however, that desultory performance resulting in missed deadlines does not constitute an exceptional circumstance.
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Last updated April 18, 2005