Honors Comprehensive Exam in English

Honors College seniors planning to graduate in May or August should plan to take their English comprehensive examination on Friday, March 28 at the Honors House, room 103 from 1-4.  Bring a laptop.

The Honors comprehensive examination in English is a three hour session where participants write two substantial essays in response to questions they choose from a menu of options.  These options are broad to allow you to select the works that you can write about with authority, and they fall into three even broader categories: context (questions devoted to literary periods), diversity (questions that foreground identity and difference) and literary values (questions about form, from prosody to genre). You are encouraged to show a range of knowledge by discussing both canonical and noncanonical texts that represent diversity within a period, genre, and/or a national literature. This breadth might be demonstrated through the combination of questions that you choose to answer and/or through the works you discuss in addressing a single question.

Students ask what they can do to prepare for the exam. The exam is designed to help you showcase your literary interests and knowledge, so it might be a good idea to reflect upon the major papers you’ve written in your upper level courses.  You should also review the organization of your survey courses to recall works, authors, movements and social events as they pertain to genres, periods and cultural categories.  This preparation should help you demonstrate some of what you’ve learned both to yourself and to your examiners, providing meaningful closure to your major studies here and, perhaps, transitioning to future studies.

For more information, please contact Professor Sciolino at Martina.Sciolino@usm.edu.