English Honors Frequently Asked Questions

If I am abroad, do I still apply for the Honors Program by December 1 of my junior year? 

Yes.  All applications are due by December 1.


If I am abroad for the spring semester of my junior year, do I still take the Thesis Proposal Writing Workshop

Yes.  It can be conducted via skype and email.  The registrar has ways of enrolling you in “here credit” even while you are also enrolled in “away credit.”


Is the Thesis Proposal Writing Workshop required?

Yes.  Proposal guidelines are exacting. The proposals require careful preparation, and the workshop helps you refine your materials.     


If I write a thesis, do I still need to take an English senior seminar, or an ENGL 475?

Yes.  You need the 475 to graduate, for the COLL curriculum requires a 400-level capstone from all students.


Who reviews my Honors Application?

The Honors Committee, which is composed of English faculty members.  This committee will also review the Thesis Proposals that will be submitted to the Charles Center for funding and the Thesis Proposals at the end of your junior year.  Often the committee provides feedback after the initial funding application, which helps you revise the proposal by the semester’s end.


If I apply for Charles Center Funding and receive it, do I still apply for Thesis approval in April?

Yes. The Charles Center’s application, while due six weeks or so earlier, is less involved than that of the English department’s Honors Program.  In addition to your materials for the Charles Center application, you will need a short bibliography, an annotated bibliography, and a more extended application that details your methodology and survey of existing research for the internal application in April.   We work on these aspects of the proposal in the Thesis Proposal Writing Workshop.  


What are the requirements for writing a creative thesis, in terms of my preparation and coursework?

Creative writers should have completed three upper-level CRWR courses by the end of junior year.  It is also useful to have a genre, a model, or a subject in mind.


Is there a GPA requirement for admittance to the Honors Program?

Basic requirements for admittance into the Honors Program include a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Admitted students are usually considered to be particularly strong, accomplished writers and researchers.


Do I need a letter of recommendation when I apply to the Honors Program?

No letters of recommendation are needed, but you will be asked about classes that were particularly meaningful to you at William and Mary, and the Honors Director will ask those professors for a sentence or two about your work as part of the review of applications.  


Do I need to know what I will write about when I apply to the Honors Program in December?

No, but we think it useful for you to have identified potential areas of focus, including particular eras, authors, fields of study, types of criticism, or genres.  We also ask you to consider several possible areas of interest, for in some cases, your imagined advisor may be on leave or may have agreed to advise another project.  Or there may be unexpected obstacles with a particular topic (such as a recently published book on exactly your topic), so as you begin to think about Honors work, we encourage you to maintain several viable options, at least until January-February of your junior year. 


How do I find out about the outcome of my application?

You will be notified via email about the outcome of your application to the Honors Program before the beginning of the spring semester.   Admitted students will be invited to sign up for ENGL 494, the Thesis Proposal Writing Workshop.


If I am a transfer student, can I apply to the Honors Program? 

Yes.  Just realize that the Honors Committee will want to review copies of your academic transcript from all colleges you attended.


Can I apply to write a thesis if I am not an English major?

We prefer that all Honors students in English be majors or minors in English or Creative Writing; students whose transcripts show the number of credit hours equivalent to those in the minor will also be considered.   


How do I find a thesis director for my project?

Ideally, you want to consider professors with whom you have worked successfully and in whose classes you encountered the works that are the basis of your project.  Reaching out to several professors by late fall semester of your junior year will allow you to discuss your ideas for a possible thesis and determine if and how you should move forward with them.  Be aware that some faculty may not be available to direct your thesis the next year.  By the early spring of your junior year, you should settle on a director, who will advise you as you develop your proposal and help you formulate a plan of work.  No proposals will be accepted unless they have been vetted thoroughly by the faculty advisor who will serve as the thesis director, so regular coordination with your faculty advisor is expected during the spring of your junior year.


How do I register for either the Thesis Proposal Writing Workshop?

We will take care of this for you.  During your senior year, all registrations for Honors work are controlled by the Charles Center (for ENGL 495-6).