Department Honors

Honors Course (ENGL H195A/B): An honors degree in English requires the completion of a two-semester 8-unit course, English H195A/B, offered every year in a fall-spring sequence only. H195A is a limited-enrollment course in criticism and critical theory, during which students develop a thesis project. At the end of H195A, a grade of IP is assigned. In H195B students work independently, under the supervision of the H195 instructor and a thesis adviser, to complete the honors thesis (normally 40-60 pages). Upon completion of the thesis, and only then, students earn 8 units and a letter grade for the whole sequence.

There are three degrees of honors based on GPA in English at the time of graduation: “Honors in the Major” (3.650-3.760), “High Honors in the Major” (3.761-3.870), and “Highest Honors in the Major” (3.871-4.000). 

Requirements: This course is an instructor-approved course open only to senior English majors with an overall GPA of 3.51 or higher and a major GPA of 3.65 or higher in courses taken at Berkeley towards the major. The overall GPA is taken from the student’s transcript after Spring grades have posted. The major GPA is calculated at that time and includes all courses completed for the major.

Application Deadline: May 3rd, 2024

In order to be considered for admission to the Honors Course, students must electronically apply, using the link on the course listing in the Class Schedule available beginning early April. 

The application will need to include:

(a) the online application form

(b) PDFs of your college unofficial transcript(s)

(c) a Faculty Reference

  • The application form requests a "faculty reference" - this is NOT a recommendation letter or sponsorship of a thesis. Your faculty reference should be a member of the faculty who is familiar with your work
  • The faculty reference can be a permanent English faculty member or a lecturer.

(d) a critical paper (in a PDF or Word document) that you wrote for another class ~ It should be roughly 10-20 pages, if you have more questions about the paper you are submitting, follow-up with the instructor.

(e) a statement of purpose, including why you are interested in taking this course and indicating your academic interest and, if possible, the topic or area you are thinking of addressing in your honors thesis (in a PDF or Word document).

For information on unofficial transcripts, visit the Cal Student Central Academic Records site. The Academic Summary from CalCentral My Academics can act as an “unofficial transcript” for current students and recent graduates. 

These applications must be submitted, via the corresponding link, by the deadline. Since the department must review the GPAs of Honors applicants for courses taken all the way through the spring semester and the instructors must carefully assess the applications, it will not be possible to determine who has been admitted until June at the earliest. 

Notification: Applicants will be contacted by email early June if they have been selected for admission, and, if so, to which section.  (Since there might be more applicants for one section than the other, some students might end up being placed in the section that was not their first choice).

If admitted to one of the H195A sections, students will be notified and directly enrolled by department staff. No one will be able to enroll in H195A before classes start.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Students will apply to the Honors Program in the second semester of their Junior year.
  2. H195A/B satisfies the Research Seminar major requirement.
  3. H195A/B can count as 2 courses toward the 12 needed to complete the major. (Please notify an advisor if you would like H195B to count toward your electives, as this does not automatically pull into your APR).
  4. H195A counts as 4 units on the student’s Fall study list

For additional application information and FAQ's, please view the Honors Info Session Email & Information PDF.