The BA Project in English

The Critical BA Project - The Creative BA Project - Honors - Janel Mueller Undergraduate Thesis Prize

Please note that the Creative BA in English will no longer be offered after Spring 2018. Instead, students interested in completing a Creative BA Project should elect the major in Creative Writing that is launching in Autumn 2017. Rising fourth-years will not be eligible for the major, but students in their third year or below will be able to declare the major starting in Spring 2017.

The BA Project is an optional component of the English major, but students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must submit a critical or creative BA project. These projects may take the form of a critical essay or a piece of creative writing. The student is required to work on an approved topic over the course of the fourth year of study and to submit a final version to the Director of Undergraduate Studies that has been critiqued by both a faculty advisor and a preceptor and has gone through revisions based on this feedback and guidance.

Students who wish to use the BA project in English to meet the same requirement in another major should discuss their proposals with both program chairs no later than the end of third year. Certain requirements must be met. A consent form, to be signed by both departments, is available from the College Advising office. It must be completed and returned to the College advisor by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

A list of recent BA Projects is available here.

The Critical BA Project

The Critical BA Project may develop from a paper written in an earlier course or from independent research. Students who wish to complete a Critical BA Project must submit a proposal (available under Department Forms) by the spring of their third year. On this form, they identify a faculty member who will serve as their project advisor.

Students work on their BA Project over three quarters. Prior to the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students will be assigned a graduate student preceptor who will help them develop pieces of their project and suggest revisions. Over Autumn Quarter, students will attend a series of mandatory colloquia led by the preceptors to prepare them for the upcoming quarter when the bulk of the writing occurs. In Winter and Spring Quarters, students will continue to meet with their preceptors and will also consult with their individual faculty advisor.

In consultation with the faculty advisor and graduate preceptor, students submit a near-final draft of their paper by the end of week two of Spring Quarter. By the beginning of the fifth week, students submit the final version of their project to their preceptor, faculty advisor, and the Student Affairs Assistant.

Students may elect to register for the senior project preparation course (ENGL 29900 Independent BA Paper Preparation) for one-quarter credit. Note that the grade for this course is on work toward the BA Project and is normally submitted in Spring Quarter even when the course has been taken in an earlier quarter.

The Creative BA Project

Prerequisites:  Students majoring in English who wish to produce a Creative BA Project must have taken at least two Creative Writing courses in the genre of their BA Project (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction) by the end of their third year. At least one must be an Advanced course, in which the student has earned a B+ or higher.

Students who wish to complete a Creative BA Project must submit a proposal (available under Department Forms) by the spring of their third year. On this form they declare their intent to write a Creative BA Project in a specific genre and list the two Creative Writing courses in the relevant genre that they have taken as prerequisites.

Students work on their BA Project over three quarters. Prior to the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students will be assigned a graduate student preceptor who will help them develop pieces of their project and suggest revisions. Over Autumn Quarter, students will attend a series of mandatory colloquia led by the preceptors to prepare them for the upcoming quarter when the bulk of the writing occurs.

In Winter, students will continue meeting with their graduate preceptor. In addition, students must enroll in one of the Thesis Development/Major Projects Workshop (or similar course approved by CRWR) in their genre. Students are not automatically enrolled in a workshop; they must receive the consent of the workshop instructor, who will also serve as the faculty advisor for the Creative BA Project. These workshops are advanced courses limited to eight students and will include not only students majoring in English but also those in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (ISHU) and the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) who are producing creative theses.  Students will work closely with the faculty advisor and with peers in the workshops and will receive course credit as well as a final grade for the workshop.  Students should be aware that because of the high number of students wishing to write fiction for their BA Projects, students will not necessarily get their first-choice of workshop instructor/faculty advisor.

In consultation with the faculty advisor and graduate preceptor, students submit a near-final draft of their project by the end of week two of Spring Quarter. By the beginning of the fifth week, students submit the final version of their project to their preceptor, faculty advisor, and the Student Affairs Assistant.

Creative BA writers should register for a Thesis Development/Major Projects Workshop (or similar course approved by CRWR) in the Winter of their fourth-year. Students receive course credit for the work on their project during this workshop and thus are not eligible to enroll in an ENGL 29900 course. This Thesis Development/Major Projects Workshop (or similar course) counts as an English elective but not as one of the courses fulfilling the distribution requirements for the major.

Honors

Completion of a BA Project does not guarantee a recommendation for departmental honors. For honors candidacy, a student must have at least a 3.5 grade point average overall and a 3.6 grade point average in departmental courses (grades received for transfer credit courses are not included into this calculation).

To be eligible for honors, a student's BA Project must be judged to be of the highest quality by the graduate student preceptor, faculty advisor, and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Honors recommendations are made to the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division by the department and it is the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division who makes the final decision.

The Janel Mueller Undergraduate Thesis Prize

The Janel Mueller Undergraduate Thesis Prize (formerly known as the Napier Wilt Prize)  is awarded to three to four undergraduates in English who complete the finest BA Projects. It is awarded to both Creative and Critical Projects.

A list of recent winners is available here.

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