Honors in English at Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University provides motivated, gifted students with many opportunities to challenge themselves and achieve in areas of greatest interest to them. The Honors Program in English is a vital part of BSU's efforts to advance original, independent undergraduate research. By pursuing Honors, inspired students can reach their highest potential through critical thinking, scholarship, and inquiry. Close student-faculty relations and intensive research provide for a vigorous and thorough exchange of ideas, and offer students an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for departmental honors in English? Are there special classes I need to take?
There are three basic requirements: the GPA requirements, one or two junior honors contracts, and a senior thesis. If you are an English major with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a 3.3 GPA in your English courses, you are eligible for admission to the English Department Honors Program. You must maintain these cumulative GPA levels in your final semester in order to graduate with honors. Students are required to complete 9 credit hours within the English department in one of two ways: 1) two junior honors contracts (extra work in a 300 or 400-level English course) and a one-semester thesis or 2) one junior honors contract and a two-semester thesis. To prepare for the thesis project, English honors students complete an advanced project (an honors contract) in one or two non-honors 300 or 400-level English courses. Ideally the honors contract(s) will be completed during the junior year, followed by the thesis in the senior year. Departmental honors students also write a senior thesis (a research or creative project), supervised by a faculty mentor. Thesis writers usually sign up for 3 credits of ENGL 485: Honors Thesis, for which they receive a grade, or they may elect to pursue a two-semester thesis for 6 credits. The completed thesis must be approved by the thesis advisor and two other English faculty members who agree to serve as a thesis committee. As a final requirement, honors candidates must present a portion of the thesis at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, a unique opportunity to share intellectual achievements and participate in BSU's community of thinkers and learners.
I've never taken an Honors course and I am not in the all-college Commonwealth Honors Program. Can I still do departmental honors?
Departmental Honors is entirely separate from the All-College Commonwealth Honors Program; therefore, admission to departmental honors does not require completion of honors courses or honors colloquia at the freshman and sophomore levels. However, students who are currently enrolled in the Commonwealth Honors program also must fill out an application to pursue departmental honors and complete the requirements for English honors.
Do I need to take more than 36 credits to complete departmental honors?
No. ENGL 485 counts as an elective toward the major requirements, and the honors contracts also count towards 300 or 400-level course requirements for the major.
For what career paths would an honors degree be an asset?
Departmental honors can be beneficial to many students with a variety of career goalswriting, teaching or educational administration, publishing, library science, communications, or any job that involves research, writing, or organizational skills. Writing a thesis is also excellent training for a graduate degree program in any subject.
How and when do I apply?
Students usually apply for English department honors at the end of sophomore year or beginning of junior year, but students can apply as late as the middle of junior year. Applications are accepted at any time during the semester. Forms for applying for departmental honors are available on the honors bookshelf outside Tillinghast Hall 329 (Dr. Michael McClintocks office), on the Honors Program website, http://www.bridgew.edu/HonorsProgram/studentforms.cfm, or from the Honors Program office (located in the Academic Achievement Center, Maxwell Library, ground floor). One copy of the form should be submitted to the Honors Center and another to the Chair of the English Department Honors Committee.
What is a junior honors contract and what paperwork do I need to fill out?
During the junior year, departmental Honors students select, with the approval of the instructor, a 300 or 400 level course to take on an Honors basis. The student then completes an advanced project, under the instructors direction, in conjunction with the course. During the first month of the course, you must meet with the professor to fill out the form entitled Honors Credit Proposal for students enrolled in non-honors courses. Some examples of an honors contract project are a longer research paper than that required of the rest of the class, an annotated bibliography, or a class presentation or presentations. The honors contract student meets individually with the course instructor at least twice during the term to discuss the project and any drafts. It is recommended that honors students complete one honors contract each semester of the junior year, but it is also possible to undertake two in a single semester, or one junior year and one in the fall semester of senior year. Honors contracts, however, must be completed before the semester in which you begin the thesis.
What does the senior thesis entail?
A thesis is most often an extended literary critical research paper of approximately 30 pages. Students, particularly those in the writing concentration, may choose the option to write a creative thesisa substantial project of fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. Most senior thesis writers in English sign up for one semester (3 credits) of ENGL 485: Honors Thesis, and the credits count towards the 36 required credits for the major. You will receive a grade from your thesis advisor for ENGL 485. Some students elect to do a two-semester thesis for 6 credits, particularly if the research component of the project is extensive. Students meet weekly with their thesis advisor to discuss their research process and written drafts. The thesis director and the student will recruit two other members of the department to serve, in addition to the thesis director, as the students thesis committee. All three members of the thesis committee must approve the final draft of the thesis.
How long are most senior theses and how are they organized?
Most theses are between 25 and 50 pages, with the most common length being 30-40 pages. Most theses are divided into 2 or 3 sections or chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion. For creative theses (fiction, creative nonfiction, play, or poetry), the length is determined by the genre and goals of the project.
How do I find a thesis advisor and develop an idea for a thesis project?
Usually a student will approach a professor with whom he or she has already taken a course to discuss the possibility of serving as a thesis advisor. The student may already have an idea for a research or creative project sparked by his or her previous coursework or reading, or the thesis advisor will help the student to develop a topic and research agenda. Students often choose a thesis advisor because their expertise matches the students research interests, but learning/teaching styles may also be an important consideration. Once a faculty member has agreed to advise your thesis, you fill out a thesis proposal form, which is due during the first 2 weeks of the semester in which you will begin your thesis.
What are the required forms and where do I get them?
To apply for departmental honors, fill out the form Application for admission to departmental honors at any time. To pursue a junior honors contract, students and their professors should fill out the form Honors Credit Proposal for students enrolled in non-honors courses. This form is due within the first month of beginning the 300 or 400-level course. To begin the thesis, fill out and submit the Honors Thesis Credit Proposal form in the first two weeks of the semester in which you will write your thesis. This thesis proposal form is all that is needed to register for the course; you can not register for 485 through Infobear. All forms are available at the Honors Program (Academic Achievement Center, Maxwell library ground floor), on the Honors Programs website http://www.bridgew.edu/HonorsProgram/studentforms.cfm, or at the English department on the honors bookshelf outside of Tillinghast 329, Dr. Michael McClintocks office.
Are any funds available to support my research for the thesis?
YES. The Adrian Tinsley Program (ATP) offers two grants relevant for thesis writers: the semester grant and the summer grant. The ATP semester grant (up to $300) can be used to offset the costs of research-related supplies (books, photocopying) and travel. Apply for this grant at the beginning of the semester in which you begin your thesis. Thesis writers can also get paid to do thesis research in the summer between junior and senior year. The competitive ATP summer grant is a $4,000 grant to conduct research or a creative project during ten weeks of the summer. See the ATP website, http://www.bridgew.edu/ATP/, for more information about deadlines and application procedures for these grants. In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) selects one Shea Scholar each year, and the selected student will receive $4,000 upon completion of the thesis project. For more information about the Shea Scholar Program, consult the OUR website, http://www.bridgew.edu/OUR/.
Thesis formatting and submission questions?You must hand in the final copy of your thesis to your thesis committee of 3 faculty members (your thesis advisor and 2 additional readers) before the last day of scheduled classes, not including final exam days. The committee may or may not require revisions before awarding Honors, and these details will be communicated to your thesis advisor and the Chair of English Departmental Honors. Once the thesis has been approved by all three members of the thesis committee, the student will need to obtain their signatures on two copies of the following form. Please download this template for the thesis signature page here:
Save the document and revise the template page by inserting the title, name, date, and names of your thesis committee; finally, you should print two copies. The committee should sign both originals. Include one original signed form as the first page of your thesis to be sent to the Honors Center, and send the other original with signatures to the Chair of Departmental Honors. At least two bound copies of the thesis should be made: one for you, one for the faculty thesis advisor (or this person may prefer an electronic copy only), and one mandatory bound copy for the Honors Center. See the University Print Shop to bind your thesis
Still have questions?
For more information, contact:
· Dr. Michael McClintock, Chair of Honor Committee, 531-1468, email@example.com
· Dr. Kimberly Davis, member of Honors Committee, 531-1474, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Dr. Benjamin Carson, English Department Chair, email@example.com
Last Modified: May 18, 2012