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These guidelines are intended for both faculty and students, to facilitate the process of planning and completing honors theses in the English department (i.e., English majors and film and media studies majors). They should be used in conjunction with the Honors College requirements for theses; a student must meet both English department requirements and Barrett Honors College requirements to successfully complete the thesis.
General departmental guidelines appear first; following these are guidelines specific to creative writing. For further information on honors theses in linguistics, please contact Professor Mark James; for theses in literature, contact Professor Claudia Sadowski-Smith; for film and media, contact Aaron Baker.
There is no guarantee of approval for creative theses; they are not automatic for every honors student who has a concentration in creative writing. Creative writing professors will accept as thesis students only those they believe best qualify for thesis work.
Likely candidates for acceptance as thesis students will most often have passed Portfolio Review and taken at least one advanced (400-level) course in the thesis genre. On rare occasions, non-creative-writing-concentrators may be accepted as thesis students at the discretion of the instructor. Students with no academic experience in creative writing are unlikely to find acceptance.
The creative writing faculty are unlikely to chair a committee unless they have already worked with that student in a classroom situation.
Great writers are necessarily great readers: we hope that any creative thesis will follow plentiful reading in relevant contemporary literature and will include continued reading throughout the writing experience. Great writers are also hard-working writers. We expect an honors student not only to advance a thesis to completion, but demonstrate growth as a writer.
When a creative project is complete, the student will have a body of work large enough to serve as a work sample in a graduate school application. He or she will also have tested the waters of writing outside the classroom, which is quite different from the workshop environment (and more closely resembles the general experience of The Writer’s Life…). The creative writing thesis both cultivates a student’s independence and also enables a close working relationship with the faculty mentor.
Writers band together—this has been true forever!—to start publishing ventures, to collaborate (with each other, with visual artists, with composers, with engineers), or to reach out into the larger community (in service of the art, in service of the community itself…). ASU CW welcomes projects in which this kind of collegial and/or interdisciplinary vision brings students together and enlarges our experience of the literary arts.
Hayden’s Ferry Review: Interns for HFR get a behind-the-scenes look at how an internationally-distributed literary magazine is run. Responsibilities include reading and voting on submissions, writing features for the blog, assisting in social media, handling subscriptions, organizing fundraisers and more. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Superstition Review: s[r] is a national online literary magazine produced by undergraduate students at ASU. The mission of SR is to promote contemporary art and literature by providing a free, easy-to-navigate, high quality online publication that features work by established and emerging artists and authors from all over the world. We publish two issues a year with art, fiction, interviews, nonfiction, and poetry.
Students will be exposed to all parts of magazine management such as production deadlines, corresponding with authors, choosing and formatting work for publication, conducting interviews, event planning, curating blog content, social media management, advertising, and other detailed steps of the publication process. During this internship students have the opportunity to become proficient in many technologies that are required in today’s job market. To learn more, email founding editor Patricia Murphy at email@example.com.
All creative writing courses *may* accommodate honors contracts, and all creative writing faculty work regularly and enthusiastically with honors students. We ask that you approach your professor early in the term to discuss whether a project is possible and what form it might take, and to establish a work schedule, plan, and deadlines.
Honors contracts may be for 1-8 hours of instruction, as determined by the professor in consultation with the student. In poetry, the writing usually involves no more than three pages of new poems in response to outside readings and/or a short paper responding critically to a selection of poems decided upon by student and professor. In fiction, the writing usually involves a single short story and/or a short paper responding critically to a selection of fiction decided upon by student and professor.
For additional information, please contact Faculty Honors Advisor Assistant Professor Sally Ball (firstname.lastname@example.org).