The department offers a special program of advanced study for outstanding undergraduates majoring in literature. Admission to this program requires an overall GPA of 3.5 and a literature major GPA of 3.7 at the beginning of the senior year. Students meeting these requirements will be sent, during the beginning of fall quarter, an invitation to participate in the program. Interested students who anticipate that they will not meet the established criteria may petition to participate in the program. Petitions must be submitted by the end of the third week of fall quarter and include: a personal statement, a five-page example of their writing, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member (letter of recommendation is optional, but encouraged). Petitions will only be reviewed if there are less than 20 students who are invited into the program and accept the invitation.
During the winter quarter of their senior year, all honors students enroll in the honors seminar (LTWL 191), which aims to deepen their understanding of the issues of theory and method implied in the study of literature. This seminar lays the groundwork for an honors thesis, written in spring quarter (LT__ 196), under the supervision of a faculty advisor chosen by the student. The Honors Program concludes with a conference-style event, where students present their research or creative piece and answer questions from attendees (other Honors Program students and Literature Department faculty). Each student's performance on the thesis project, as well as at their presentation, will determine the level of honors they will receive.
The honors seminar and thesis course may be applied toward major requirements, if applicable. Students should contact the Undergraduate Advisor to determine how the courses might apply to their remaining requirements.
There are two undergraduate awards offered each year that are dedicated to the Honors Program. The Burckhardt Honors Award is bestowed upon the highest rated literary/cultural criticism thesis project, and the Sherley Williams Memorial Award is bestowed upon the highest rated literary arts thesis project. Past winners of these awards can be seen on the Past Participants page.