Honors Requirements

The English Honors program provides qualified undergraduate majors with the option to perform original research on a topic of their interest (or a creative writing project) and submit their work as a senior thesis. Upon completion and successful defense of the thesis, these students will be eligible to graduate from UO with Honors. Those who enjoy research, working in small groups, and engaging with in-depth questions about writers or literary/cultural topics are encouraged to apply to the Honors program.

English Honors Program students write their thesis under the supervision of an English department faculty member, and a second reader, who may be in English or another department.

Interested students should consult the Associate Head of English Elizabeth Bohls, ebohls@uoregon.edu, to learn about the Honors Program and to get advice about selecting a thesis advisor.

Students should contact faculty in the term prior to beginning their thesis research. Faculty may have to decline last-minute invitations to advise student thesis projects. Students typically enroll in English 403 (for 1 - 4 credits) during two consecutive terms of thesis work. Students confer with their thesis advisor at regular intervals during the period of thesis work and may also confer with their second reader.

Applicant Instructions

Students should aim to submit an English Honors application at least three terms prior to their planned graduation date. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.70 in their English courses and must have completed two upper-division English courses. Ideally, applicants will have completed all lower-division major requirements, including Foundations of the English Major (ENG 303 plus 304 or 305) at the point when they apply to the English Honors Program.

Admission to the English Honors Program is decided by the Department’s Curriculum Committee and is based upon the applicant’s academic record and application materials: a brief description of the proposed thesis project (no more than 500 words) and recommendations from two faculty members in the English Department. Recommendation letters do not need to come from the thesis advisor or second reader. Proposals should be submitted in the term prior to the start of thesis work. However, applications will be accepted up to the first day of school in the term when thesis writing begins. Application materials to the English Honors Program should be submitted to the Associate Head of English who will forward them to the English department Curriculum Committee for a final decision.

Thesis research and writing will take two terms. Although not required, it is typical for students to enroll in English 403 (for 1 - 4 credits) during two consecutive terms of thesis work. While students can take English 403 twice for a maximum total of eight credits, only four of those credits can count for upper-division elective credit toward English major requirements.


Once accepted into the English Honors Program, students must complete the following requirements to graduate with Honors:

  • Completion of all English department requirements
  • One term of an English department seminar: Capstone ENG 407
  • Two terms of thesis writing under the guidance of an English department faculty member
  • Successful defense of a completed thesis project—either a critical essay of thirty-five to fifty pages; a combined shorter essay and digital project; or a substantial piece of creative writing. All thesis projects must be approved by the advisor and a second reader (typically both faculty members in English) after an oral defense

Questions about the English Honors Program should be directed to Associate Head of English Elizabeth Bohls, ebohls@uoregon.edu.

Clark Honors College Applicants

Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, Clark Honors College English Majors who have been accepted into the English Honors Program and complete the requirements for both the Clark Honors College Thesis and the English Honors Program may submit an English Honors Thesis awarded a Pass or Pass with Distinction to fulfill the thesis requirement for both English Department Honors and the Clark Honors College Thesis. Failing theses cannot earn English Department Honors and cannot be used to satisfy the Clark Honors College Thesis.

Important Forms