English Honors: Some upcoming meetings

See this stack of books? English Honors students read them all … two at a time.

Well, not really. But it’s a nice thought. I had a professor in college who had a photographic memory (really). In one class, he began reading Moby Dick and then closed the book and continued to “read.” For about 5 minutes.
Ok, that’s not English Honors either, but it sure was impressive. English Honors is a competitive program in the English Department that gives excellent and committed students an opportunity to work with other excellent and committed students and write a senior thesis based on original research. English Honors students qualify for “Greek honors,” or the variations of cum laude that appear on diplomas. You must be an English major to pursue English Honors and you must apply to the program. A good GPA is a baseline requirement, but English Honors students come in various shapes and sizes, and they have a variety of interests–from prosody to postmodernism, and from Restoration drama to Asian American cultural studies. For students who are contemplating graduate study (particularly in the humanities), an honor’s thesis is a very useful thing to have written; it shows prospective graduate schools that you are capable of undertaking sustained research. It also enables you to work one-on-one with a professor/mentor who will get to know your work very well. But you can also pursue English Honors as its own end.
Students who wish to apply for English Honors should plan to attend three “preparation” meetings in February. These are informal and require no commitment on your part. They will l introduce you to the program and selected faculty, and will highlight the kinds of research skills you will acquire in course of earning an honors degree. The meetings are as follows:

1. Professions in the field

February 4 at 3 p.m.

Rome 771

2. Library Research

February 18 at 2 p.m.

Gellman 301

3. Review of Program

March 4 at 3 p.m.

Location TBA

If you have questions about the program, or about the meetings above, please contact Prof. Marshall Alcorn, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at alcornma@gwu.edu. And please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. For students in search of a rigorous capstone to their academic experience at GW, Honors English is an excellent opportunity.

(A fun exercise: Ask your professors if they wrote senior English theses, and if they respond in the affirmative, ask them to describe the topic. Then laugh at how hilariously musty and obsolete their research now seems.)

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