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English Honors Program


The English Honors Program offers talented and highly motivated English majors special opportunities for advanced study. In many instances, students may use their honors coursework to fulfill core requirements in the English major. Students should consult with their advisors to determine how particular courses fulfill core requirements. Please contact the Director of English Honors, Margaret Simon, with inquiries about upcoming seminars or graduating with English Honors.

Advantages of Honors

  • Priority enrollment appointments for students within respective class levels (freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior);
  • the opportunity, with other highly motivated students, to take small seminars (15 students or fewer), that are taught by some of our best, most enthusiastic professors;
  • the option, where appropriate, to write an honors thesis that can be submitted to graduate schools as a writing sample; 
  • the chance to sign up for graduate seminars; 
  • an additional distinction on your transcript, curriculum vitae, and job application that will set you apart from the crowd.

Admission Requirements

  • A 3.5 overall GPA or higher
  • Completion of at least 3 English (ENG) courses at the 200, 300, or 400 level with a minimum 3.5 GPA

Plan of Study

Students should work with their advisors and the Director of English Honors to develop a plan of study. This plan must include nine hours of honors coursework made up of:

  • at least one honors seminar (ENG 491; 3 credits)
  • at least one graduate class (ENG 5XX; 3 credits)
  • an additional 491 honors seminar or ENG 5XX class

If a student has a particular academic subject they wish to research and a faculty member they wish to work with, three hours of English honors credit may be accomplished through a directed independent study (498H). Contact the relevant faculty member and the honors director at the start of the semester prior to when you wish to take the course for next steps.  

If your advisor suggests that you pursue an honors contract to complete English Honors Program requirements, please email the program director before the start of the semester for which you will take the course.

Graduating with Honors

Students who successfully complete Honors in English will be recognized in the Commencement Program and will receive the transcript designation “Completed Disciplinary Honors Program.”

To graduate with honors in English, students must:

  • complete at least nine credit hours (three courses) of honors coursework with a grade of “B” or higher in each course
  • achieve a minimum 3.5 GPA in English and overall
  • give a short presentation at our end-of-year celebration sharing, in a casual and supportive environment, one of the research or creative projects undertaken in your honors coursework  

Student Testimonials

“My desire to pursue English Honors was two-fold: I wanted to have access to courses that would prepare me for graduate school and, as a nontraditional student, I had a desire to build a network of other highly motivated and passionate English students. I discovered a diverse group of peers who loved the field as much as I did, and I found the Honors course offerings and access to graduate courses to be invaluable as I prepared my applications to graduate schools.”

– Charles Fleming (’21)

“Being a part of the English Honors program at NC State taught me a lot about humility and respect for others. The discussions were so well-rounded and I love how everyone got a chance to contribute something. I am grateful to have been a part of the English Honors Program and I hope that future students will enjoy it just as much as I did!”

– Emily Tsan (’21)

“My experience with the English honors program at NC State gave me so much more than I was ever anticipating. Not only did this program introduce me to graduate-level courses and discussion, but it also introduced me to a diverse group of peers and friends with interests I would have never experienced! The English Honors Program here at State helped me take that first step towards graduate school and I am so grateful for the memorable experience, knowledge, and friends gained from being a part of the program!”

– Alexandria Crews (’21)

“Participating in the English Honors Program has been one of the most influential aspects of my time at NC State.  Through the program I took Honors Seminars in which dedicated professors exposed me to new areas of study, enrolled in graduate courses that helped prepare me for further education, and took on projects that challenged me to see the discipline from different perspectives.  As I continue my academic career, I am indebted to the English Honors Program faculty for positively shaping my experience and for being a constant source of support.”

– Jake Thompson (’15)

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants who meet the GPA requirement are invited via email during an admissions period at the start of the fall and spring semesters. If you believe you qualify but are between admissions cycles, feel free to contact the English honors director. Note that if you are admitted outside of the normal cycle, you will not have access to early registration until the following semester.

Students in English Honors are pre-approved to register for graduate-level courses. You do not need to request instructor permission. Undergraduate students must still be hand-added to graduate courses and there could be a waiting list, depending on demand. To register for a graduate-level course, please simply fill out this form and you will be placed in the appropriate course.

If you need to fulfill a specific core degree requirement, consult with your advisor. Otherwise, consider taking a course on a different topic or pursuing a directed independent study (ENG 498H).

ENG 491 seminars are restricted to English honors students and they have a low cap—15 students. This means you will receive a seminar experience and the chance to take courses with your honors peers. The courses are specially designed by faculty and chosen through a selective process. ENG 491 courses emphasize student research and innovative teaching, as well as topics that are cross-disciplinary and often take a broad historical approach.

  • For courses in the next registration cycle, check the English Department’s course sampler.
  • For future ENG 491 courses (which are scheduled in two-year cycles) contact your advisor or the Margaret Simon

The director is generally not able to answer specific degree audit questions, which should be directed to a student’s academic advisor. The director can answer any questions regarding honors program requirements, upcoming seminar topics, the end-of-year presentations and celebration, and graduating with English honors.

There is no required sequence for English Honors coursework.

This depends on the student’s own schedule. Previous students have completed the program in as little as one semester.

Transfer students who have scheduling constraints can pursue a honors contract for an ENG 4XX course to fulfill three credits of English honors coursework. Please contact the director if further accommodations are needed.

Students joining with junior or senior status may pursue a honors contract for an ENG 4XX course to fulfill three credits of English honors coursework. Please contact the director if further accommodations are needed. 

Each April, the English Honors Program holds an end-of-year celebration. This event and its presentation requirements are advertised to graduating seniors in February. In general, the casual presentation is 10 minutes and is a fun opportunity to share your work with interested faculty and students. 


Dr. Margaret Simon
Director of English Honors
Tompkins 264