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