Departmental Honors

There are two options for English Departmental Honors:

a) the literary/cultural criticism option;
b) the creative writing option.

Department Honors in Literary/Cultural Criticism

A student who earns English Departmental Honors in literary and cultural criticism at Centenary College of Louisiana is someone who, through a rigorous course of comprehensive research, literary and cultural analysis, synthetic and critical writing, and an oral defense, demonstrates mastery of a primary work or set of works of literature and/or cultural texts through close reading, a robust understanding of the literary and cultural context, and a thorough knowledge of relevant criticism.

Department Honors in Creative Writing

A student who earns English Departmental Honors in creative writing at Centenary College of Louisiana is someone who, through the production of original work and an oral defense, demonstrates not only a singularity of perception and expression but also a critical as well as an imaginative engagement in a literary tradition, which includes the conventions of genre and a repertoire of techniques.

Achievement of departmental honors will evaluated through:

1. An honors thesis (see criteria below)

2. An oral examination (see rubric below)

To apply for honors in English, a candidate must:

• Have a 3.25 GPA in both major and overall course work.

• Have participated in the program/major for at least two semesters.

• Apply to the chair of the department during his or her junior year.

• Collaborate with a faculty thesis director in a committee that oversees the candidate’s honors thesis.

• Have two committee members, including the thesis director, from within the English Department and one committee member from outside the department.

• Register for three hours of Independent Study (ENGL 493) during his or her senior year. (Note: these three hours of Independent Study are in addition to major requirements.)

• Submit hard copies of the honors thesis to the committee and all members of the English department.

• Schedule and pass an oral examination administered by members of the English department.

The critical honors thesis will:

• be equivalent in length to a seminar paper or publishable article (20-25 pages/5,000-7,000 words);

• be formatted using MLA style documentation;

• focus on a work or set of works of canonical literature (broadly conceived) with a rich literary history;

• be approved, in advance, by the candidate’s thesis director and members of his or her honors committee.

During the oral examination the candidate may be expected to:

• demonstrate breadth of knowledge of the subject matter, in this case, the subject of his or her thesis;

• speak clearly and confidently about his or her research;

• demonstrate a thorough understanding of the literary and cultural history of the primary work(s), including its/their relation to literary period, other literary or philosophical traditions, and relevant historical events;

• apply a number of critical approaches to the primary work(s) under consideration;

• extend the committee's learning about the text(s) and/or relate an existing critical understanding of the text to new texts.

The creative honors thesis will:

• consist of 20-25 pages of prose or 12-15 poems. (Note: a student who wishes to produce a thesis in more than one genre may do so with the approval and guidance of his or her thesis director.);

• include a critical introduction, 3-4 pages in length, in which the student relates his or her work to a pertinent literary tradition, draws attention to those literary techniques and modes that characterize the work, and clarifies in an analytical way its thematic aims and ideological implications;

• be approved, in advance, by the candidate’s thesis director and members of his or her honors committee.

During the oral examination the candidate may be expected to:

• speak clearly and confidently about the formal characteristics of his or her work;

• articulate the relationship between this work and the literary tradition in which the student is engaged and so reveal not only a critical understanding of his or her own work but also breadth of knowledge of a body of literature;

• demonstrate a thoughtful and informed consideration of the work as it relates to contemporary critical discourse.

Recommended timeline:

Fall Semester of Junior Year:
• Apply for departmental honors
• Assemble Committee
• Submit necessary paperwork to the Registrar

Spring Semester of Junior Year:
• Design research or creative project (in consultation with thesis director)
• Begin gathering and reading research materials or relevant creative and critical materials
• Register for Independent Study for Fall of Senior Year

Fall Semester of Senior Year:
• Continue to conduct research as part of Independent Study
• Submit first draft of thesis to Committee members on or before the Friday before Thanksgiving recess
• Revise thesis based on feedback from faculty

Spring Semester of Senior Year:
• Submit final draft of thesis to Committee members on or before the Friday before Mardi Gras recess
• Prepare for oral examination
• Schedule oral examination
• Undergo oral examination
• Submit necessary paperwork to the Registrar

Revised May, 2012

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