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
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:
- A working title (subject to change) and the names of your thesis advisor and secondary
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
- An introduction (5-10 pages), two short (10-15 page) chapters and a conclusion (approximately
- 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.
For advice on creating timelines and developing topics, see thesis guidelines.