English Honours

English Honours

The English Honours program is designed as an intensive course of study for a select number of students who have chosen English as their major and who have demonstrated exceptional creative, critical, and communicative abilities in their second-year coursework in English. The program is a more advanced and more directed course of study than the program for English Majors and has additional requirements. Students who complete this program of study will receive a degree that will distinguish them as successful and highly motivated students of English who have achieved a high degree of competency in the discipline and who are prepared for the rigours of more advanced scholarship.

English Honours Requirements

An Honours English degree is an opportunity for accomplished English students to engage in an enriching research project aided by a departmental supervisor.  In order to graduate with a BA (Hon) in English, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Students may apply to Honours English any time after they have achieved second-year standing and have completed either English 220 or 221, having achieved 80% or higher. Once admitted to the program, the student must maintain a 70% average in all courses.
  • Honours students must successfully complete English 499 (Honours Essay). English 499 is a six-credit course taken over two semesters, normally the last two semesters of a student’s programme. The essay must be a well-researched work of approximately 18-25 pages, conforming to MLA style.
  • Honours students must also ensure that they complete one 300 or 400-level course in each of the following areas (21 credits):
    • Medieval
    • Renaissance and Seventeenth Century
    • Restoration/Eighteenth Century
    • Nineteenth Century
    • Twentieth and Twenty-First Century
    • Canadian
    • Critical Theory
  • To graduate with an Honours BA, students must also meet the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies requirements for the BA Major in English as outlined in the UBC Okanagan Calendar.

How to Apply

  • Step One: Application Process.

You apply by sending an application to the Honours Program Coordinator, with information including your grades in English 220 or English 221, your address and telephone number, as well as your year of study (2nd or 3rd year).  If you already have a supervisor, please provide that information as well.

  • Step Two: Contacting a Supervisor.

As soon as you are accepted into the program, and no later than January of the second term of your third year, you should contact a potential supervisor in the English Department about overseeing your project and arranging to work with you on the proposal. Without a supervisor, you will be unable to complete your Honours degree. If you need guidance in selecting a supervisor for your project, please contact the Honours Coordinator for an appointment:  jennifer.gustar@ubc.ca.

  • Step Three: Submitting a Proposal.

Submit your proposal with a brief covering letter by May 15th of the academic year prior to taking up your honours research.  Submit to the Honours Coordinator only with the permission of your supervisor.

  • Step Four: Approval.

Once your proposal is approved, you will be enrolled the following September in English 499: Honours English, for 6 credits.

Apply Now

The Proposal for Honours English

  • Due no later than May 15th of your 3rd year (or the year prior to beginning your Honours research)
  • The proposal is a short document of approximately 500 words that states the aim of your research, outlines extant scholarship, and provides a sense of how your essay makes an original contribution to this scholarship.
  • It should be accompanied by a bibliography (one page) that provides clear evidence of the scholarship you will be consulting in order to write your thesis.
  • Include a telephone number and address, with your name and student number.

Honours English Timeline Progression

  • In September of the semester during which you are starting your honours research, meet with your supervisor to agree on a production plan, meeting times, and deadlines.
  • Plan to write a thesis of article length, between 18-25 pages.
  • You may submit a number of partial drafts to your supervisor for comments and guidance, as decided by you and your supervisor.
  • The date for submission of your final draft will be determined by your supervisor in consultation with you, but it should be no later than March 1st of your graduating year.
  • Your supervisor will determine what revisions need to be made before the paper is submitted to the second reader. You will have 2 weeks to make those revisions.
  • By March 15th, the honours essay must be submitted to the second reader for an initial reading.
  • The second reader is chosen by you in consultation with the supervisor.
  • By March 30th, the second reader will consult with the supervisor regarding assessment of the honours essay and the need for revisions.
  • The second reader may decide the essay is acceptable in its present form, may require minor revisions or major revisions.
  • Depending on the initial assessment, the second reader may or may not wish to see the revised essay before assigning the final grade.
  • Once the essay is approved by both the supervisor and second reader, they will confer on the grade.
  • April 15th is the latest date by which the student can submit a final copy.
  • If there is a difference of opinion, the final grade will be the average of the second examiner’s assigned grade and that of the supervisor.
  • The supervisor will inform the student of the final grade and submit the grade to the Honours Coordinator who will post the grade for English 499.
  • The honours essay may then be published by the UBCO library, via CiRCLE if the student so wishes.

Program Progression

By January of your 3rd year of study, or immediately after completing English 220 and 221.* Application to Honours Coordinator
After acceptance Seek a supervisor
May 15th of 3rd year Submit Proposal
September of your 4th or final year You are enrolled in ENGL 499.  Meet with supervisor to plan project
December Meet any deadlines set with supervisor
January & February Work on thesis and revisions
March 15th Submit to second reader
March 30th Consultation between supervisor & second reader:  work on revisions if required
April 15th Last day to submit completed copy
April 30th Grade for ENGL 499 posted

*This is assuming you intend to complete your degree in 4 years.  If you are extending your degree to 5 years, then you may undertake your honours’ research during your 5th and final year. 

English Honours Coordinator

Jennifer Gustar
Associate Professor, English
Department of English and Cultural Studies
e: jennifer.gustar@ubc.ca