Honors Meetings and Deadlines

Students who have excelled in their English courses are encouraged to write an honors thesis over the course of their senior year, typically on an area or author familiar to them from their previous coursework.

Honors Research

Under the direction of a faculty member who has expertise in their chosen subject, students embark on an extensive research or writing project in the fall semester, completing a substantive essay or piece of creative writing in the spring. In this way, students become adept in an area of particular interest to them and experience the joys and tribulations of producing a serious, extensive, and original piece of writing.

Thesis Requirements

A student who maintains an A/B average or better in the courses offered in the English major may decide to become an honors candidate at the end of his or her junior year and prepare an honors thesis (at the 4000 level) under supervision during his or her senior year.

Honors candidates must present a definitive plan for the honors thesis to a member of the department within whose field the project falls. This should take place in the spring of the candidate's junior year so work can begin in the fall semester of his or her senior year.

The honors advisor/project director signs the honors candidate's fall semester honors project/independent study form, and signs again for spring semester.

The honors work is graded and may count (at the 4000 level) as one or two of the elective course units required for the major.

The honors thesis must be a thorough and sophisticated literary essay growing out of:

  • a course paper, as an expansion of it (in which case it may do double duty only with the consent of the instructors involved)
  • an English course
  • an extension of an English course, or
  • a fresh subject not explored in another connection

Strict compliance with the directions for manuscript preparation specified by the library—where the original copy will be permanently filed—is required.

Any candidate contemplating application to graduate school should be advised that honors, or even candidacy for honors, is a highly significant element of his or her record.

2021-22 Due Dates

  • Honors prospectus due
    to advisor and readers:
    Thursday, October 14, 2021
    by 5:00 pm
  • Honors prospectus review
    with advisor and readers:
    week of October 18, 2021
  • First chapter or section due
    to advisor and readers:
    Friday, December 10, 2021
    by 5:00 pm
  • Full draft due
    to advisor and readers:
    Monday, April 4, 2022
    by 5:00 pm
  • Defense draft due
    to advisor and readers:
    Monday, May 2, 2022
    by 5:00 pm

  • Honors defenses
    with advisor and readers:
    Monday, May 9 through
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Theses must be uploaded
    to Bowdoin Digital Commons: 
    Thursday, May 19, 2022
    by 5:00 pm

    Library submission guidelines

    Registrar's honors guidelines

  • Advisor must approve project
    through BDC:
    Friday, May 20, 2022
    by 2:00 pm
Past Honors Projects Advising


The registrar's office deadlines, requirements for honors, and instructions on registering for an honors project can be found at Registrar: Honors Projects. The Bowdoin library's guidelines for formatting the finished honors project prior to submission, important deadlines, and support the library offers honors students can be found at Library: Services for Honors and Independent Study Students. 

Below are procedures and a timeline specific to English honors.