Department of English Department of English College of Arts and Sciences
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English Honors Prospectus Guidelines
Due: early October in senior year for students graduating in spring; mid-March before graduation for students graduating in fall                                               

Form: English Honors Proposal Form                       

Major Paper Guidelines:               

The major paper option does not entail a formal prospectus, as does the thesis. It does, however, require you to inform the honors director, Dr. Kathy Lou Schultz, of your plans: the topic of your paper, your advisor's name, and when you plan to  submit the paper.     

Thesis Prospectus Guidelines:                                               

Please note that the prospectus is not a contract but a plan of research: its purpose     is to orient your writing, not to circumscribe it. Later, you may wish to change its shape in accord with the advice of the Honors Committee, your advisor, or your own interests. Your prospectus is not a binding agreement, but simply something that looks ahead--hence the term "prospectus," a prospect, but not necessarily a destination.                                             

All prospectuses must include the following sections:                

  1.  A working title (subject to change) and the names of your thesis advisor and secondary reader.      
                                                          
  2. A short description (2 or 3 paragraphs) of the subject matter and aims of your research (what you are interested in studying, and why and how your approach will provide an original contribution to the field). For creative writing projects, describe the themes you want to develop, including (if you wish) their personal relevance.        
                                                        
  3. A short description (1 or 2 paragraphs) of your research methods--theoretical or applied, traditional literary criticism and history or fieldwork. If you are doing research requiring interviews or questionnaires, describe how these will be conducted.  
  4. An working outline of the contents of the thesis, including a short (1 paragraph)   description of the contents of each chapter or section. Possible arrangements include--but are not limited to--the following:                                   
    • An introduction (5-10 pages), two short (10-15 page) chapters and a conclusion (approximately 5 pages).    
    • A brief introduction (less than 5 pages) and three longer (12-15 page) chapters.
    • Three longer (12-15 page) chapters and a brief conclusion.
    • Four closely related chapters, the first introducing the subject and the final one concluding it (but with no separate introduction or conclusion).   
    • For creative writers: a 8-10 page introduction to the theory and methods behind the work, including a short bibliography, followed by a series of interrelated poems or short stories or a longer work of creative fiction. If you are writing historical fiction or non-fiction, the introduction can be shortened since more attention will be given to researching your material.
  5. A short bibliography of prospective research materials, gleaned from the on-line catalogue and tips from your advisor. See the research librarian if you do not know how to use the MLA Bibliography, the primary data base most of you will want to consult. It includes up-to-date materials you may want to order from Interlibrary Loan if they are not available in the McWherter Library catalogue.                                                                       

For advice on creating timelines and developing topics, see thesis guidelines.                        

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Last Updated: 4/26/13