English 483, 484 Honors Thesis in Creative Writing

(Note: From the Class of 2022 and onward, students must follow these requirements)

The Program in Creative Writing offers a four-credit course, EN483 in the fall and EN484 in the spring, to students who are majoring in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. Enrolling in EN483/484 is the only way to earn honors in Creative Writing. Colby bases Latin Honors and Distinction in the Major on grade averages rather than the completion of a certain kind and amount of independent work.

To apply for honors in ENCR, students must have a 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.25 in the major at the end of their junior year. They must have completed EN378, EN379, or EN380 with a grade of A- or better. Creative Writing faculty will make exceptions to these rules by special permission only.

After completing the sequence of workshop culminating in EN378 or 379 or 380, students need to submit applications to the director of the Creative Writing Program: Professor Michael Burke.

1: For Spring (484), submit an application by October 24th, Applications should include a statement of intent, a proposed reading list, and a writing sample (3-5 poems, a complete short story, or a complete essay).

2. For Fall (483), submit an application by April 30th at the end of your junior year. Applications should include a statement of intent, a proposed reading list, and a writing sample (3-5 poems, a complete short story, or a complete essay).

Creative Writing faculty will meet to review all submissions to decide who would benefit from writing an Honors Thesis. Faculty will decide who will be the thesis advisor for each accepted student, and students may not necessarily be able to work with their first choice of advisor. Students must arrange to have another faculty member in the Creative Writing program, English department, or in an approved affiliated department as the second reader of their thesis.

Students must submit a draft of the finished work to their advisor one week prior to the last day of classes in either semester; the advisor will indicate to the student when a draft needs to go to the second reader. Students must submit finished work by the last day of classes to their instructors and second reader and an additional copy to the English Department secretary for binding. Students should consult their instructors for guidelines on how to format the final copy of their thesis.

The English Department will provide a third reader to resolve any grade disputes between an honors thesis instructor and a second reader.

We do not count words, but most prose manuscripts should be between 60 and 70 pages in length; poetry manuscripts should include at least 15-25 poems. All work should demonstrate independence, originality, and thoroughness. A grade of B+ or higher is necessary for the thesis project to be considered an Honors Thesis; otherwise, the course is converted to an Independent Study.


Old Honors Thesis Requirements

(Note: Class of 2019, 2020, and 2021 may opt in but are recommended to follow the new requirements)

The Concentration in Creative Writing (ENCR) includes the opportunity for students to enroll in a four-credit course: EN483 (fall) or EN484 in combination with EN478/479 (spring). An exception will be made in 2018, when 479 is offered in Jan plan; students who are interested in poetry honors should sign up for the 479 for two credits in January and 484 for two credits in spring. This is the only way to earn honors in Creative Writing and is offered only within the English Department. Latin Honors and Distinction in the Major remain but are based on grade averages rather than the completion of a certain kind and amount of independent work. This also counts as the fourth or “other” course required for the concentration. Here are the ground rules: You must have a 3.0 GPA and a 3.25 in the major at the end of junior year. In addition you must have completed EN378 or EN379 with a grade of A- or better. Exceptions will be made by special permission only, on the recommendation of the Creative Writing faculty. After completing the sequence of workshops culminating in EN378 or 379, you need to follow these steps:

1. For fall semester: Speak to the Creative Writing professor with whom you would like to work. Be aware, however, that the Creative Writing faculty will encourage you to do your project in the spring, when Advanced Studies in Poetry and Advanced Studies in Prose is typically offered. Enroll in EN483 for four credits.
2. For spring semester: Sign up for EN478/479 for two credits and EN484 for two credits. EN478 (Advanced Studies in Prose) and EN479 (Advanced Studies in Poetry) are courses that allow you to work on an independent study and/or honors thesis project. The EN478/479 courses offer the framework of a regular academic class, while providing you with frequent one-on-one meetings with your instructor. In 2018, EN479 will be offered in Jan plan and not in spring. Students wishing to do honors or advanced work in their senior year should follow the instructions for January or, if not on campus in January, contact the instructor for advice.
3. For JanPlan 2018: Sign up for EN479 for two credits in Jan plan and EN484 (honors) for two credits in the spring.
4. For fall, January 2018, and spring semester: Secure a second reader for your project on registration for EN484.
The finished work—with all final revisions—must be submitted by the last day of classes to your tutor/instructor and a second reader. An additional copy for binding should be submitted to the English Department secretary. (This copy should include a formal cover page. Copies are available in the English Department office.)
Your tutor/instructor and second reader will evaluate your thesis. If there is disagreement between the two readers about the grade, the English Department will provide a third reader.
We do not count words, but most fiction manuscripts will probably be between 60 and 70 pages; poetry manuscripts 15-25 poems. They should be finished fiction or poetry of high quality, which demonstrate independence, originality, and thoroughness. The grade they receive will be the grade for EN483 or EN484; a B+ or higher is necessary to graduate with honors.