English majors conduct literary research in almost all their courses, as most require two or more papers involving deep reading and analysis of literary works.

In ENGL 0205 Introduction to Literary Theory, all students learn to use a variety of theoretical approaches to reading, and in Advanced Seminars (400-level courses), they apply one or more of those theoretical approaches to produce a long essay using a variety of historical and critical sources.

About the Major

Independent Research

Students may pursue research projects independently under the supervision of a faculty member by applying to do an ENGL 0500 project in any semester.

While some qualified students elect to do creative writing for their senior work, many others undertake a research project resulting in a critical thesis of between about 30 and 35 pages. Students intending to apply to graduate school in literature should write a senior research thesis.

Senior Theses

The ENGL senior program consists of an optional creative or critical Honors Thesis of 30-35 pages in length (ENGL 0700, CRWR 0701). Students may write a thesis in either the fall or the spring semester of their senior year, and may, with the permission of their thesis advisor, attach an independent study semester (ENGL 500 or CRWR 560 in Fall, Winter, or Spring) to their thesis semester (Fall, Spring only) to provide more research time for broader topics or projects.

CRWR 0701 requires the prior completion of three CRWR workshops, at least one of which must be 300-level, and a grade of at least B+ in the 0300-level course before undertaking a thesis.

All students will participate in an oral defense of their work with the advisor and additional readers (ideally two) of the project. Students completing a joint thesis should include the advisers from both departments and one additional reader. Additional readers may be other ENGL/CRWR faculty, faculty outside the department, or interested scholars or writers from outside the college. Students are encouraged to complete their 400-level [junior seminar] requirement before embarking on their senior work. Students must have a minimum 3.5 GPA in ENGL courses to be eligible to write a Senior Thesis.

To be eligible for departmental honors, students must complete a senior thesis.

Individual faculty members also have the opportunity to hire a student research assistant to assist them in their scholarly work. Collaborative research and writing projects sometimes grow from these arrangements.

Thesis Guides

Requirements Worksheets