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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, which features two focused seminar courses in advanced topics. The first seminar, HE503, pursues 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
  • World War I in British Art and Literature
  • Building Modernity: Architecture and World Literature
  • Slavery and American Culture
  • The Heroic Age of Beowulf
  • Art and Literature of Augustan Rome


  • Moby Dick: Ahab, The Whale, Violence
  • Robert Frost: "The Great Misgiver"
  • Reading Too Much Into Renaissance Texts
  • 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

Coming Spring 2020

Early Modern Media - Asst. Professor Thomas Ward

This course will examine literary texts from the English Renaissance with an eye toward the material circumstances of texts’ original circulation (whether in print, manuscript, song, or other kinds of performance) as well as to the bibliographic and digital media through which we encounter these texts today. Using online resources and primary source material available at Nimitz's Special Collections and other local archives (including the Folger Library and the Library of Congress), we will explore the proposition that an author's poetic intention might not be nearly as interesting as the physical form through which that intention was realized (or thwarted) and the material and social practices involved in its circulation. The final capstone project will involve creating a new digital edition of a previously unedited early modern text.


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.

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 or HE340, 353, 355
  • 300-400 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.

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

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