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English Department
Photograph taken by Roger Miller

The Honors Major

Students who have excelled in the major may choose to pursue an honors degree. A benefit of pursuing the honors major is the opportunity to participate in a tightknit community of motivated, curious students who take a series of classes together. In particular, the program features two focused seminar courses in advanced topics. The first seminar, HE503, takes an interdisciplinary approach to a topic in literature and the arts; the second, HE504, offers specialized study of a particular literary figure, period, or problem. Recent examples include:


  • Victorian Vision: Art and Literature in the 19th Century
  • Contemporary Asian-American Literature
  • Satire from A Modest Proposal to The Daily Show
  • The Graphic Novel
  • Slavery and American Culture
  • The Heroic Age of Beowulf
  • Imperial Rome


  • Metaphysical Poetry
  • Tex-Mex Literature
  • Whitman's Many Leaves of Grass
  • Frankenstein and the Monstrous Birth of Postmodernity
  • The Empire Writes Back: Literature from the (Post)Colonial-World
  • Trauma and Literature
  • Early Modern Media


Including the two 500-level seminars (and their required supplements, HE521 and HE522), Honors students take eleven courses in the major, including HE442, Literary Theory and Criticism.

The distribution requirements for the Honors Major in English differ slightly from those for the major in English. Students interested in the Honors major should consult the requirements listed below and plan their course of study accordingly (Honors students may take only one HE course at the 200-level beyond HE242).

Required Courses for the Honors Major in English (HEGH):

  • HE242 Methods of Literary Analysis
  • HE333 Shakespeare
  • pre-1800 period course
  • pre-1900 period course
  • HE442 Literature Theory and Criticism
  • HE503 Seminar in Arts and Literature and HE521 Honors Supplement I
  • HE504 Seminar in Advanced Topic and HE522 Honors Supplement II

Honors majors must also take four electives in English that meet the following distribution requirements:

  • 300-level genre or period course, or diversity course
  • 200-400 level elective
  • 300-400 level elective
  • 300-400 level elective

The English Course Offerings page provides a full list of the courses available in the major.

To graduate with honors, students must have a 3.0 overall CQPR and a 3.5 CQPR in the English majors. Students may not have a "D" or "F" on the official transcript in any academic or professional course, unless that course is retaken and a grade higher than "D" is earned. 

ACDEANINST 5420.4D lists current Academy rules and requirements for honors majors.

Interested students should contact the honors program coordinator, Dr. Jane Wessel.

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