Fall 2020

Critical Thesis-Writing Workshop

Listed in: English, as ENGL-497

Moodle site: Course


Christopher A. Grobe (Section 01)


This is a non-required course for English majors who are currently working on a critical (i.e., not creative writing) thesis project. It is meant to offer guidance and a sense of scholarly community to these students as they embark on what can feel like a formidable (and often lonely) process. In this course, we will discuss and analyze examples of the thesis form. We will analyze and practice some of the many subgenres theses contain (e.g., the introduction, the literature review, the methodological statement, and various ways of incorporating the voices of other critics, historians, or theorists). We will also read a representative range of recent criticism in the field, discussing critical methods, rhetorical tactics, and writerly voices employed in that work. And we will discuss issues peculiar to the task of planning, researching, and writing a long critical thesis. Most important, as in an advanced creative writing workshop, this course offers students the chance to present and critique work-in-progress with a group of their peers.

Please note: This course does not replace ENGL-498, the Senior Tutorial, which covers students’ independent work under the tutelage of a thesis advisor.

A major goal of this course is to foster mutual care and support among English Department thesis writers. With that in mind, the main mode of instruction for this course will be synchronous small-group discussion–sometimes about shared readings, sometimes about other students’ writing, and sometimes about the writing process itself. Guided writing in class will play a key role in making the writing process available for discussion. Additionally, students will meet one-on-one (or in small groups) with the professor to discuss their own thesis progress. Finally, students will have the opportunity to take part in structured co-writing sessions outside of class.

Open to juniors and seniors. Preference given to English majors currently writing a critical thesis. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Grobe.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to English majors currently writing a critical thesis.


Attention to Research, Attention to Writing, Online Only


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Fall 2021