Honors Program - Critical

Applications to this year's English Department Critical Honors Program are due: (Fall Quarter of each academic year.  November 16, 2020).  It's time to start thinking about whether the Honors Program might be for you.

Why should you apply to the English Department Critical Honors Program?

 If you’re planning to go to graduate or professional school, participating in the honors seminar during winter quarter and writing a thesis during the spring provide invaluable preparation. But the honors seminar also offers more than that. Whatever your plans are, the seminar can provide a capstone for your undergraduate career.

 In the honors seminar, you can:

  • Make the most of being at a research university, by learning how faculty produce new knowledge and how you can do so yourself;
  • Think outside the curricular and disciplinary boxes, while getting course credit for doing so:
  • Get to know faculty and work closely with them;
  • Build community with other majors;
  • Take ownership of an intellectual project, identifying and pursuing your own interests actively and independently;
  • Develop better writing, research, and oral presentation skills, as well as time management, organizational, and social skills.

A couple of years ago, a participant in the Honors Program concluded: "This seminar has been the highlight of my college career.  It was an amazing experience and I am so glad that I was able to be part of it."

What is this amazing experience and how can you be part of it?


The Honors Program (Critical) in the English Department consists of a two-course sequence: English 194H, Special Study for Honors (4 units); and English 195H, Honors Thesis (4 units).

Students admitted to the Honors Program are required to take English 194H in winter quarter of their Senior year, and English 195H in the spring quarter.  Students completing the Honors Program will receive appropriate notation on their transcript.

In the winter quarter, English 194H is taught by the member of the English Department faculty who is coordinating the Critical Program.  This year, Professor Matthew Stratton will lead the seminar. English 194H helps students sharpen their critical reading, research, oral presentation, and writing skills and asks them to engage in conversation and collaboration with one another. The class is limited to fifteen members so that students can work closely with the professor and engage actively in discussion.  In addition to completing short reading, research, and writing assignments, each student will be required to sharpen the focus of his or her Honors Thesis during the quarter, to produce a very rough draft of the thesis, and to designate an individual faculty advisor who will serve as a mentor during the thesis writing process.

The Honors Thesis itself is a scholarly essay that reflects each student's particular literary interests.  The completed thesis is normally 25-30 pages in length.  As a course, English 195H has no class meetings during the spring quarter; instead each student is required to schedule regular meetings with his or her faculty advisor in spring quarter and to work with the advisor in devising and following a schedule for independent research and writing.  Students receive four units of credit for working on their thesis projects under the direction of the faculty advisor.


English 194H and English 195H are open to senior English majors with a 3.50 GPA overall as well as a GPA of 3.50 in the major*.  Advanced-standing juniors who expect to graduate in mid-year may also apply for admission.  In addition to the GPA requirement, applicants are expected to have completed ENL 110A or 110B and at least one Advanced Studies course, preferably a seminar (see Advanced Study section under "Major Requirements" for a complete listing).  As part of their application, students must submit a sample of their writing as well as a short proposal describing what they propose to do in their thesis project.

*Graduation with "honors" requires that a student meet the appropriate grade point requirement described in the General Catalog for all UC courses completed.  Students who meet the grade point requirement for graduation with honors, and who complete a Departmental Honors Program, may be recommended by their departments for graduation with high honors or highest honors on the basis of an evaluation of their academic achievements in the major and in the honors project in particular.
More information

More information is available from the Undergraduate Counselor, Lynda Jones, or Professor Matthew Stratton.

Submission deadline

The submission deadline for the 2020-2021 Honors Program: Nov. 16, 2020

Click here for Honors application.