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.

  • Prospectus due at noon, Thursday, October 10, 2019 (email to English department coordinator for printing and distribution)
  • Honors meeting at 4:30 pm, Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - Massachusetts Hall Faculty Room 
  • First chapter or section of project due at 4:30 pm, Friday, December 6, 2019 (email to advisor and readers)
  • Rough drafts due at 4:30 pm, Friday, February 21, 2020 (email to advisor and readers)
  • Titles due to coordinator by noon, Friday, March 6, 2020
  • Final projects due at 4:30 pm, Friday, April 17, 2020 (email to advisor and readers, and cc to coordinator for printing and distribution)
  • Final discussion with project committee:  Thursday, May 7, 2020 -  Massachusetts Hall, times TBA
  • Honors theses due at the library by 5:00 pm, Friday, May 15, 2020
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.