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Research Opportunities and Honors Program

English majors at UC Merced have several opportunities to carry out original research, guided by their professors and in conversation with their peers. Such research opportunities are highly valued by graduate schools and employers.

Class of 2022 Honors Program participants.      

          Senior Thesis

All English majors complete a senior thesis in their final year, spending a semester researching a topic and then writing a 20-25 page paper, with guidance from their professor.

Honors Program

Students may also choose to apply to our honors program, which has additional requirements beyond the standard English major, and culminates in a 50-to-75-page honors thesis. Instead of taking the usual Senior Thesis class (ENG 190), students enroll in a two-semester sequence, taking ENG 193 (Honors Thesis Research) and ENG 194 (Honors Thesis) in the fall and spring of their final year. They research and write an original thesis under the guidance of a professor.

Undergraduate majors who are accepted and successfully complete the Honors Program will receive a notation to that effect upon their diploma, and on their undergraduate transcript thereafter.

Students apply to join the Honors Program in the Spring of their Junior year. To be eligible for the Honors Program, an English major must achieve an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher and a minimum GPA of 3.7 in the major. A student with a GPA in the major between 3.5 and 3.69 must petition the Honors Committee for an exemption.

Students who meet the minimum requirements may apply to the English Honors Program in the Spring semester of their junior year. The application consists of the following items:

1. Application form (including overall GPA, GPA in the major, list of English courses taken or in progress)
2. Transcript
3. Cover letter formally requesting entry into the Honors Program
4. 1-2-page proposal for thesis research project to be under taken if admitted
5. Writing sample (preferably a 10-15-page paper from a previous UCM English course)
6. Brief note of endorsement (sent under separate cover) from an English faculty mentor indicating a willingness to serve as the student’s Honors Thesis Advisor


Students may also work with a faculty member over the summer conducting research with UC Merced’s Undergrad Opportunities Research Center-Humanities (UROC-H) program. UROC-H scholars receive funding to attend workshops about research and graduate school preparation, and are paired with a faculty member to conduct research on a literary topic. Students interested in this opportunity should approach faculty members with ideas about the sort of project they would like to pursue. Read more about research recently conducted by two UC Merced English majors.

In summer 2021, English majors Remy Sumida-Tate and Miranda Rosas conducted research on poetry and podcasts with Dr. Fatima Burney, and Sofia Andom, Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez, Serena Johnson, and Mahea LaRosa conducted research on the LA Women's Shakespeare Company and Harlem Shakespeare Festival with Dr. Katie Brokaw.

In summer 2020, English major and writing minor Cathryn Flores studied the ways that electronic music can make theatre project--including digital projects made in the time of COVID-19--more accessible to wider audiences, and Ying-Wei Zhang conducted research on Shakespeare companies and environmental issues, which was directly used for the EarthShakes website, which she helped design.

In summer 2019, English major Maria Nguyen-Cruz studied Shakespeare in Yosemite and the effectiveness of its ecological messages for its audiences.

Six of the eight students in the 2021-22 English major honors cohort, with Professors Prescott and Brokaw.

Updated 2024