The senior thesis provides an opportunity for independent study to any senior major who is adequately motivated and prepared to undertake such work. English majors apply for admission to the senior thesis courses (English 498/499) in April of their junior year. Admission to English 498/499 is contingent upon the Department’s judgment of the feasibility and value of the student’s proposal as well as of his or her preparation and capacity to carry it through to a fruitful conclusion. The Department assigns Thesis Advisors to students whose applications it approves.
To be considered for senior honors a student must submit to the Department a portfolio, which contains normally 60 to 80 pages of writing. The work may take the form of a critical essay, a short film or video, a collection of essays or poems or stories, a play, a mixture of forms, an exploration in education or cultural studies.
Before a student can submit a thesis, the final work must be approved by the student’s designated advisor. Once the thesis is approved, the Department appoints a committee of faculty examiners to read it. Following an interview with the student, the committee conveys its evaluation to the whole Department, which then makes the final recommendation for the level of honors in English.