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Undergraduate

Pursuing Departmental Honors

Why choose Departmental Honors?

Departmental Honors is usually the best option for students who want to:

  • pursue advanced scholarship in the English major
  • pursue graduate studies in English
  • seek a career related to the major
     

Admission requirements

All students interested in Departmental Honors should make an appointment to speak with Janis Greve (jgreve@english.umass.edu), ideally after they have completed at least one honors course.

Entrance into departmental honors requires

  • a cumulative average of 3.4
  • no grades below a B+ in English courses
  • enrollment in the Commonwealth Honors College (CHC): Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, or they may complete DH alone if they enter CHC as juniors or seniors and choose to complete only the Advanced Scholarship part of the curriculum. 

To graduate with honors, students admitted to CHC will first complete a General Education component, consisting of 4 or 5 courses, and then an Advanced Scholarship component. For their advanced scholarship, students choose from 2 options. Each option includes two additional honors courses plus a capstone thesis of 6 or more credits, usually conducted in the senior year. Departmental Honors (DH) is an Advanced Scholarship track of CHC.
 

Requirements for the English Department Honors track

  • one honors course in the English Department at the 200-level or above
  • one honors course in the English Department at the 300-level or above

And either of two options:

  • The two-semester independent honors thesis or project, worth 6 credits. Students writing a literary-critical thesis or creative project sign up for 499Y (usually in the fall) and 499T (usually in the spring.) The honors thesis counts as 2 of the student's 3 upper-level electives toward the major.

or

  • English 499C/D, “Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing,” a two-semester capstone course, worth 6 credits. English 499C/D also counts as 2 of a student's 3 upper-level electives, and students writing a creative thesis sign up for 499Y (fall) and 499P (spring). Note that admission to this course is via permission of the instructor and requires a sampling of the student’s creative writing. Students interested in the course are encouraged to pursue the Creative Writing Specialization to help them develop their craft and put together a strong portfolio.
     

Contact the Honors Program Director

Janis Greve
E345 South College
(413) 545-5464. 
jgreve@english.umass.edu