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In the Literature concentration, students will be engaged with critical approaches to British, U.S., and global literatures and cultures, from the earliest times to the present. The English department offers certificates in the environmental and health humanities, and our faculty work in interdisciplinary areas, including but not limited to early modern, Renaissance, environmental, medical, postcolonial, immigration, ethnic, cultural, and media studies. Our goal is to educate citizens who can think, read, write, and act to meet new challenges. The critical thinking, reading and analytic skills cultivated while earning a degree in English with a literature concentration are transferrable to any endeavor. Completing a thesis in English prepares students for the intensive reading, writing, and research components of careers in such fields as journalism, public relations, business, professional writing and editing, teaching, and publishing. Completing a thesis can also be a way to help students produce writing samples or portfolios for applications to graduate or professional schools.
Students completing a thesis with literature faculty will usually be English majors or minors in the Literature concentration. However, faculty may also agree to work with students who are not English majors or minors, or whose theses will not be in the areas of concentration. The thesis is generally expected to be about 60-80 pages in length, but, in consultation with the thesis director, students can also choose creative, applied or media formats. The minimum number of committee members is two, a director and second committee member. The director must be an ASU faculty member in the English department (tenure-line or lecturer). However, a director may insist on stricter requirements (e.g., having a third member, or that all members must be faculty). It is the students' responsibility to formulate the thesis topic, ask faculty to serve on the committees submit the necessary forms, and ascertain and inform the director of the committee of all honors college requirements and deadlines.
Students writing a thesis with a faculty member in literature will usually have completed a majority of the requirements for the Literature concentration, including at least one 400-level class. A faculty member in the English department needs to agree to serve as chair on the topic proposed by the student. In consultation with the chair, the student will constitute a mutually agreed upon thesis committee and finalize a prospectus in preparation for the public defense.
Students should begin thinking about their thesis in their junior year and reach out to eligible faculty with whom they have taken classes and who they think would make a good thesis director. They should have a thesis director by the end of their junior year. In consultation with the director, students should then constitute the committee, finalize the topic of their honor's thesis, and submit a prospectus before the start of their senior year. In their senior year, students should write their thesis and regularly meet with their thesis committee to prepare for the defense, which will usually be scheduled in the first half of the spring semester.
Many faculty members offer honors contracts. which may range between 1-8 hours of instruction, as determined by the professor in consultation with the student.The English department also offers a variety of internship opportunities: for students seeking a general English-related experience and for students in our Writing Certificate Program. We have relationships with local businesses and agencies, including university departments and non-profit agencies. The writing internship coordinator works with students on finding an internship suitable to their needs and on establishing contact with an internship sponsor. Students are also welcome to seek out local internships on their own, as long as they are both professional in nature and writing-intensive. These outside internships should be approved by the writing internship coordinator.