ENGLISH 483, 484j


The Honors thesis program is for those who want to do and are capable of a certain kind of independent work. The honors student will be enrolled in EN483/EN484 in addition to his or her required courses in the major.

The curriculum includes the opportunity for students to earn four-credits (via English 483, 484j), write an honors thesis, and, if successful, graduate with honors.  This is the only way to earn honors in the department. Latin Honors and Distinction in the Major are grade based. Students with a major average of at least 3.5 are eligible for consideration for Distinction in the Major.


Here are the ground rules:

You must have 3.0 GPA and a 3.25 in the major at the end of junior year, which must be confirmed by the Registrar in June.

By May 5 of your junior year you need to have secured a tutor (honors advisor) and written a formal proposal that defines the work to be done and the methods for achieving it. Your topic should be a focused investigation based on work you have already done in the field. Honors theses proposals should not involve beginning explorations in an unknown field. Copies of your proposal should be submitted to your tutor and to the department chair.

Once you have the approval of a tutor who agrees to direct your thesis, you should submit the Independent Study or Honors Application via the link in myColby. Your honors advisor will approve this application and the Registrar’s office will enroll you in EN483f (two credits) for the fall of your senior year, and EN484j (two credits) for Jan Plan of your senior year. The final draft of your thesis must be submitted for grading by the end of Jan Plan before classes begin for the spring semester.

An alternate option is to do a one-semester honors thesis (EN484f, four credits) in the fall semester, but your thesis must be completed by the last day of classes of the fall semester. Students who select this option must do their research during the summer in order to write the thesis during the fall semester. If you are interested in this option, please discuss the timing with your advisor.

Your thesis will be evaluated by your tutor and one other member of the department, “the second reader,” whom you will select and consult with during the fall semester. Plan to submit a draft of your thesis to your second reader one to two weeks before it is due to give the second reader time to read and comment on your thesis for final edits.

We do not count words, but most essays will be approximately 50 pages. They should be finished essays of high quality that demonstrate independence, originality, and thoroughness. The grade they receive will be the grade for English 483, 484j; a B+ or higher is necessary to graduate with honors.



 For more information:

Critical Dates for Honors

Finding an Honors Advisor

10 steps to the Honors Thesis