General Information & Project Proposal Form

English Senior Project (1-2 credits)


Together with the required Senior Seminar, the Senior Project is the English major's culminating experience. Projects build upon students' previous experience with scholarly research, creative writing, or the secondary education program, and include both a substantial piece of writing and an oral presentation. Students either begin a new project or revise a substantial writing piece from previous coursework. Students may complete a Senior Project within the Senior Seminar with the permission of the seminar instructor, who will serve as their senior paper advisor.

Students complete the senior project for 1-credit or 2-credits. The 2-credit option differs from the 1-credit option both in product and process. The 2-credit senior project should be about twice the length of the 1-credit project. In addition, the 2-credit project requires that the student make his or her research and writing process visible in written work that the advisor and student agree upon. This may include an annotated bibliography, shorter early drafts, research notes, and self-reflective writing. For the 2-credit senior project the student should meet with the advisor every 2-3 weeks. 

REGISTRATION FOR THE SENIOR PROJECT (ENG 490): All students register for 1-credit of English 490: Senior Project and submit a project proposal electronically to the Department Head by the end of the second week of the semester in which the student is completing the project. If a student wishes to complete the senior project for 2-credits after consulting with his or her senior project advisor, the student must submit the project description to the department head for approval in the semester prior to undertaking the senior project (for example, at the time of registration). If the 2-credit option is approved, the department head will contact the Registrar to increase the credits from 1 to 2.

Senior Project Options

Literary analysis papers – 1 credit hour
  • About 15 pages in length, with at least 10 substantial sources
  • 2-3 suggested meetings with faculty advisor
  • First meeting with advisor in the semester prior to completing the senior project
  • Works Cited list does not need to be annotated
  • Estimated research and writing time: 25-30 hours
Literary analysis papers– 2 credit hours
  • About 25 pages in length, with 20-25 substantial sources
  • 3-5 suggested meetings with faculty advisor
  • First meeting with advisor in the semester prior to completing the senior project
  • Written work includes one or more of the following: annotated bibliography, short early drafts, research notes, self-reflective writing, or other writing in consultation with the advisor
  • Estimated research and writing time: 50-60 hours
Creative writing projects – 1 credit hour
  • Revision of work from 312 (poetry and fiction) or 213 (non-fiction)
  • Original work submitted along with revision
  • 5-page introductory essay to the project
  • No reading list required
  • 2-3 suggested meetings with faculty advisor
  • First meeting with advisor in the semester prior to completing the senior project
  • Estimated writing and revision time: 25-30 hours
  • See Preparation requirements for each genre (below)
Creative writing projects – 2 credit hours
  • New writing
  • 8-10 page introductory essay, including description of relationship between reading and writing done on the project
  • Approved reading list of at least 3-4 authors
  • Length: 20 pages for fiction or essay(s); or 15 poems; or 20-40 pages theatre or film scripts
  • Students may submit work in more than one genre with approval from advisor and department head
  • 3-5 suggested meetings with faculty advisor
  • First meeting with advisor in the semester prior to completing the senior project
  • Written work includes one or more of the following: annotated bibliography, short early drafts, self-reflective writing, or other writing in consultation with the advisor
  • Estimated writing and revision time: 50-60 hours
  • See Preparation requirements for each genre (below)
Education projects -1 credit

Education projects are typically unit plans. The unit includes an 8-10 page research component with bibliography and a teaching component with daily lesson and assessment plans.

  • For literary analysis papers, two or more upper division literature courses are typically adequate preparation. 
  • For creative writing projects, students are expected to complete the requirements for the English Writing Emphasis major.  Ideally, these students would have had coursework and sustained writing experience in the genre of their project.  At a minimum, all students wishing to do a creative writing project must be completing their third writing course during the term in which the senior project will be submitted. In addition:
    • students intending a poetry or fiction project must have completed English 212, and must have completed or be completing English 312 during the term in which the senior project will be submitted;
    • students intending a creative nonfiction project must have completed English 210, 211, or 213;
    • students intending a theatre script project should have completed at least one of Theatre 207, 351, or 352; additionally, applicants should describe sustained previous writing experience in the genre;
    • students intending a film script project must have completed English 211 and should have completed Communication Studies 258; additionally, applicants should describe sustained previous writing experience in the genre.
  • For education projects, students should indicate their status within the secondary education minor. 

Submission Notes

  • Submit two copies of the final project by 4 pm to Judy Boese, Administrative Assistant, Main 126.
  • The complete project, including required bibliographies, supplements, or introductions, must be submitted to the Registrar by the announced due date.

Oral Presentation

  • All students completing an English Senior Project will present their work at the on-campus, end-of-semester Senior Project Presentation coordinated by the English Department.  See the English website for complete “Oral Presentation” instructions.
  • All students are also encouraged to present their projects at national conferences sponsored by such organizations as the National Council of Undergraduate Research and Sigma Tau Delta, at Luther-sponsored student research events like the Research Symposium, or through publication in local, regional, or national publications.

Project Advisor

You are to seek out on your own your Senior Project advisor, who may or may not be your regular academic advisor. Consult the department faculty web site for faculty members’ areas of interest and/or consult with your academic advisor or the Department Head. A professor may suggest another advisor would be more appropriate for your project given your preferences, faculty interests and expertise, and faculty advising loads.  You may also wish to consult with the English Department Head.  After your Project Proposal (below) has been submitted to the Department Head, the department will assign second (and sometimes third) readers.