Research within the Department of English is an integral part of the major. Every English major will take two versions of English 400: Junior/Senior Seminar and both times the student will write an extensive, carefully supervised research paper as part of the coursework.
For students who wish to pursue further research, there is the option to participate in the English Honors Program. This program involves a year’s worth of work under the direction of a faculty member, the end result of which is an extensively researched thesis. Participants in the Honors Program have the option of continuing a subject or research area that they first discovered in the classroom or formulating a completely new topic based on a particular interest. Faculty thesis directors guide students as their topic grows and changes and provide resources that are helpful to the research process. In recent years, our honors students have investigated topics such as the audience's relationship with serial killers in fiction and film, and Virginia Woolf’s use of objects within her fiction, both as structuring devices for the narrative and as ways to portray the subjectivity of consciousness among her characters. Students who write honors theses can present their work in the spring of their senior year at the School of Arts & Sciences’ Student Symposium.
The School of Arts & Sciences provides a number of research fellowships for students to complete summer research at home and abroad.
Presentations at Conferences
Students who are invited to present their research at a regional or national conference or meeting can apply for travel funds through the School. Recently students have presented their work at conferences at James Madison University and Washington and Lee University in Virginia, at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and at a regional Modern Language Association meeting in Calgary, Canada
It’s rare for undergraduates in English to publish their work outside of campus publications, and yet, in the last few years several University of Richmond English students have published their undergraduate research in scholarly journals. Creative writing students have also published their work both in the campus literary magazine, The Messenger, and in a variety of print and online literary magazines.
Additional research opportunities are available for students enrolled in an independent study course. Independent research with the assistance of a faculty member is an excellent way to explore a particular area of English while earning academic credit.
Many students find that the relationship they build with a faculty mentor while pursuing their independent research strengthens their commitment to pursuing the study of English at the graduate level.