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REQUIREMENTS

ELIGIBILITY AND ENTRANCE

Candidates for admission to the English Honors Program will apply in their Junior year, or when they have two semester remaining. If students plan on December graduation, they must complete 399 in the previous spring semester and 499 in the fall. A GPA of 3.5 in the major and 3.0 in non‑major courses will normally be required, though students deficient here may be accepted into the program on strong faculty recommendation. In general, however, the English Honors Program is designed for students whose serious interest in literature or communication and technology will normally have been demonstrated in written work by the time they apply. Candidates for admission in the Literature or Communication and Technology Track must email the following documents (Word docs or PDFs) to the Director of the Honors Program:

  • Unofficial transcript
  • Two exemplary essays, research projects, or examples of creative work
  • A 1-paragraph description of the proposed project. For literature and rhetoric and composition projects, the proposal should identify the specific topic of your project and the form it will take (e.g. an essay, a digital exhibition, a podcast series, a community project), including any relevant primary or secondary sources that will inform the project. For creative work, the proposal should include the genre of your project, any writers that you’ll be researching, and the specific subjects and/or forms you plan to explore in your work. Upon request, the Honors Director can review draft proposals before submission.
  • A 1-paragraph support statement from the applicant’s potential adviser. This can be emailed directly to the Honors Director.

NOTE: Candidates who wish to concentrate in creative writing should submit one critical essay and two or three selections of creative work in their chosen genre.

The Honors Program Committee, consisting of the Program Director and two faculty members, will evaluate applications and issue a decision within one week of receiving the application. The committee reserves the right to modify the above policy so as to accommodate students in unique circumstances.

DEADLINES: Application deadlines are announced at the beginning of each semester. The deadline for a Fall 2020 admission to the program is Friday, May 1. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their research interests with Dr. DiCuirci (dicuirci@umbc.edu) before submitting their application.
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STAGES OF THE PROGRAM

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1. ENGL 399: Research and Proposal (1 credit)

Registration for ENGL 399 requires permission from the Director of the English Honors Program. The course is graded and worth two credits. While it does not fulfill a requirement in the English major, it will count toward upper-division credits and toward your 120 credits for graduation.

ENGL 399 requires the conception and development of a research project in Literature, Communications and Technology, or Creative Writing. Honors candidates will work closely with their advisors to produce a proposal, approximately 8-10 pages in length, and an annotated bibliography of between 20-30 sources. Research projects in Literature, hybrid/multimodal projects in Communications and Technology, and Creative Writing projects should enable students to pursue an inquiry of special interest and to gain valuable experience in planning and executing a multi-semester undertaking.

Students must meet at least five times each semester with their advisors. At the end of the semester, the Honors Director will check in with advisers to ensure that this requirement was met. Students will receive a grade for the course only when the Honors Director receives a graded proposal and bibliography (or the equivalent) from the adviser.

Workshops: All Honors students, both in 399 and 499, will also be required to attend 4-5 mandatory workshops each semester. These workshops are typically held on Fridays for two hours. Students accepted into the Honors Program will be invited to an information session at the beginning of each semester at which point specific meeting dates and times will be chosen. These workshops are unsupervised by faculty and provide honors students in both 399 and 499 the opportunity to share their work and to help each other during the research, writing, and revision process. Students are encourage to share their work with each other via Google Drive or Box.

2. ENGL 499: Writing and Defense (4 credits)

Honors students enrolled in ENGL 499 will complete the Honors Project (worth four Honors credits). For those pursuing literary research or in communication and technology, ENGL 499 requires the completion of a 25-50 page research paper or a substantial digital project. With the exception of Creative Writing projects (see supplementary information below), all matters pertaining to the subject, scope, purpose, methodology, and length of the Senior Honors Project will be determined by individual candidates and their Honors Thesis Advisors. At the stage, students should also invite two other faculty members to join their committee. Faculty that serve on the committee may be members of a different department but should hold expertise relevant to student’s project.

Workshops: ENGL 499 students will continue to participate in mandatory Friday workshops in their second semester in the program.

Oral Defense: As the final step in the Honors program, students are required to participate in an oral defense lasting approximately one hour. During the oral defense, a three-person committee poses questions related to the Honors project. The committee will have received and reviewed the project in advance of the exam. The specific structure of this exam will be determined by individual advisers: for example, it might be that in some cases a list of possible discussion topics will be provided in advance of the exam; or that committee members will submit questions to the adviser.

At the conclusion of the exam, committee members might recommend revisions to the research paper.  If so, the student must complete these revisions before receiving a grade. The advisor will determine the final grade for 499 based on the research paper and the oral defense, in consultation with the two faculty members. All three committee members will have an equal vote. As in 399, students will receive a grade for the course only when the Honors Director receives the advisor’s final grade accompanied and the project itself. A grade on the Honors Project of B‑minus or higher is required for successful completion of the Honors Program.

Note: English 499 may be counted as an English elective in the major. A record of English Honors appears only on the student’s transcript, not on the UMBC diploma.
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THE HONORS PROGRAM IN CREATIVE WRITING

 

English Honors candidates specializing in creative writing must complete ENGL 399 and 499 as described above. But for creative writing students both ENGL 399 and ENGL 499 take special forms. The creative writing student may use ENGL 399 to begin creative work or continue creative work already under way.

For creative writing students only ENGL 499 has a tripartite structure consisting of: (1) a critical essay, (2) a body of creative work, and (3) a self‑analysis or self‑evaluation. The critical essay is designed to give the creative writing student an opportunity to come to terms with an author, genre, or movement that has influenced their; this paper should be approximately 12-15 pages. The amount or length of the student’s creative work will vary according to genre and will be determined in consultation with the adviser. The self‑evaluation is of no prescribed length and should focus on the creative work done for the Honors Project.

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REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION IN ENGLISH WITH HONORS

 

  1. Satisfactory performance (with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above) in English courses totaling not less than 39 credits, of which six will be Honors credits
  2. Satisfactory completion of ENGL 399, Introduction to Honors Project (two Honors credits)
  3. Satisfactory completion of ENGL 499, Senior Honors Project (four Honors credits)
  4. Passing of an Honors Oral Examination.

Once the final project has been submitted to the thesis advisor, the advisor will give to the Honors Director a grade for the project and an electronic copy of the entire research project. Students graduating with English Honors will receive a gold cord to wear with their regalia.