English Department Senior Thesis

Rising senior English majors who would like to write a thesis next year should submit a proposal to the English department by Friday, April 12, 2024. Please send your proposal to the chair in an email attachment. With special permission, a junior may submit a proposal in mid-November to complete a calendar year thesis in the event of early graduation or study abroad program.

We recommend a proposal of 400-500 words that should do the following:

  • Identify a problem that you would like to study or a set of questions you would like to ask.
  • Identify a work of literature or an author or an archive that will be the focus of your research.
  • If you have discussed your thesis idea with a faculty member, please include that information.
  • Compile and include a short bibliography.
  • Finally, list the courses that have prepared you with background for the thesis, and explain how they have laid the ground for your study.

Proposals are discussed and approved by English department faculty and first readers are assigned based on alignment of interest and availability.

Often, proposals will be too broad. This is okay. You will have a chance to hone and formally revise the proposal later in your thesis course(s).


Good theses vary in length depending on the topic. A typical thesis consists of an introduction, two to three chapters, and is 60-75 pages in length. For fiction thesis, a project excerpt should fall between 50-80 pages and a typical poetry thesis is between 30-50 pages, or approximately 20 to 30 poems. Students will work out the appropriate length in consultation with your first reader. English majors seeking to do a poetry or fiction thesis must have completed a course in Advanced Creative Writing.


All senior English majors will give a 15 minute presentation or reading at the senior symposium. If you are writing a thesis, this is a thesis presentation; if you are not, this is a presentation of capstone work you did in connection with a 170 seminar.

For specific details about course requirements, please visit the Pomona College Catalog.