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Jeong-Oh Kim teaches Intro to Poetry sitting with students on Library Lawn

Honors Program

The Honors Program provides an opportunity to earn the designation “Honors in English” or “High Honors in English” on your diploma and transcript. More importantly, it provides the chance to explore a topic, whether critical, creative, or a combination of both, in an in-depth way and to produce a memorable final thesis that is kept in bound form in the English Department and may be archived on the Vanderbilt Library Digital Archive.

In the Fall Colloquium and the Spring Thesis Course, students work closely with classmates and advisors to develop and complete an excellent project. Some students elect to develop their Honors projects based on work already or concurrently begun in other courses. For double majors, the Honors Program can be an opportunity to combine your two fields of study into a single project. Whether you are considering graduate school or another career path, we are sure you will find the Honors Program an exhilarating opportunity.


In order to be eligible for the Honors Program, students must maintain a 3.4 GPA overall and a 3.6 GPA in the major. Majors who wish to apply to the Honors Program must be within 6 credit hours of completing all AXLE requirements and must have made reasonable progress toward the major.

Most Honors students complete at least one Honors Seminar before senior year. First-year students and sophomores contemplating Honors in the major should consider selecting Honors Seminars in their schedule for next year and discuss the program with their advisors. The Honors sections are seminars open to all students who have completed their sophomore AXLE requirements and have earned at least a 3.4 GPA overall. Students are encouraged to enroll in honors sections prior to applying to the Honors Program.

Applying for Honors

Applications are due in the spring of your junior year. The deadline for applying to the 2023-2024 Honors Program is April 9, 2024. The link to the application is here. In addition to the application, students are required to attach a 5-10-page writing sample. For questions or more information, please consult your advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.



To graduate with Honors in English, students must:

  • Be admitted to the Honors Program in spring of junior year and take ENGL 4998 in fall of senior year.
  • Complete all the requirements of the English major.
  • Maintain at least a 3.4 GPA overall and 3.6 in the Major.
  • Take at least 6 credit hours in Honors seminars(an appropriate graduate seminar or seminar from a study-abroad program may be substituted for one Honors seminar).
  • Write a thesis (ENGL 4999) and pass an oral examination about its subject in the spring of senior year. For secondary education double majors, EDUC 9770 can be substituted for ENGL 4999 with the consent of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Exceptional achievement on the thesis will earn highest honors.
  • To comply with all requirements, every Honors student will complete 33 hours of English.