Department of English at Illinois State University

The Honors Program in English

Book Fundraiser
English Department honors students and members of Sigma Tau Delta take a break from purchasing books for children during their annual Holiday Fundraiser.


The Honors Program at Illinois State University challenges and stimulates academically talented and highly motivated students, enriching their classroom experience and offering them opportunities to work with faculty beyond the classroom.

English Majors in Honors enjoy many benefits, including smaller honors sections and closer interaction with faculty, personalized academic advisement, scholarships, graduation designations, and opportunities for research and special projects.

For more information about ISU's Honors Program, please visit the ISU Honors Program.




Departmental Honors

English Majors in the Honors Program have the opportunity to graduate with Departmental Honors. Departmental Honors offers the chance to work one-on-one with a faculty member on an in-depth research project. With the guidance of a faculty member, the Honors student defines a research project and pursues it during a semester-long Honors Independent Study (ENG 299). The result of this research is a thesis (approximately 40 pages) that the student defends before a committee made up of the faculty member the student has been working with, another faculty member with expertise in the area, and the Department’s Honors Coordinator.

A Departmental Honors project enhances an Honors student's classroom work, gives the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, and initiates the student into a more professional way of participating in the field of English Studies. It can also be good preparation for going on to graduate school. The Departmental Honors designation is indicated on student diplomas and transcripts.

The English Department’s requirements for Departmental Honors are:

  • A GPA of 3.3 cumulative and 3.5 in English
  • A grade of A in ENG 299
  • A successfully defended thesis

A complete description of Departmental Honors in English is available at the Honors website.

To discuss the Honors Program in English or the possibility of Departmental Honors, contact the Department’s Honors Coordinator, Dr. Robert McLaughlin.

Honors Courses

Honors students may earn Honors credit in six ways, including Honors sections of regular university courses. These sections are usually available in General Education courses as well as several major courses. Honors courses are listed on the Honors Courses page of the Honors website.

For more information on earning Honors Credit, see the honors program's Types of Honors Credit page.

Honors Advising

During the fall semester, freshman Honors students must meet with their Honors advisor before registering for spring semester. In the spring, the same process is highly encouraged. Upper-division students and transfers are advised primarily through their major departments but may consult with an Honors advisor at any point. Honors advisors will also write recommendations and sign insurance forms for a "good student" discount.

For more information, see Honors Advising.

Honors Scholarships

Current Honors students are eligible for several scholarships available through the Honors program, including partial tuition scholarships, research mentorships, merit-based scholarships, and the Bone Scholarship, the highest honor an Illinois State undergraduate can receive.

For more information on scholarships for current Honors students, see the Honor's Program Scholarships page.

Get Involved With the Honors Program

The Honors Program offers various ways to get involved with other Honors students and the community. A few of these ways are listed below.

Sigma Tau Delta
The mission of Sigma Tau Delta is to encourage scholarship in English studies and to engage in related community service.

Honors Student Organization
The Honors Student Organization gives Honors students an opportunity to get to know each other and get involved in their campus and community through social events.

Senior Professionals
The Senior Professionals Mentoring Program is an association of retired local professionals who volunteer to mentor Honors students. Mentors share experiences, career advice, and friendship with their student mentees.

Research Opportunities

Honors students have the opportunity to take part in several extra research opportunities, which include:

Research mentorships - An Honors student assists a faculty member with research in the student's area of interest; the student earns a monetary stipend for his/her work.

Undergraduate research participation - An Honors Student assists a faculty member with research in the student's area of interest; the student earns Honors credit.

For more information, see Research Opportunities.