About English at Xavier


The English Education Program

The English Program


Information for Students

Minor: Creative Writing

Minor: Professional Writing

Plagiarism Statement (doc)

Plagiarism Statement (pdf)


Senior Comprehensives

Writing Resource Center

Information for Senior Comprehensives in English


To earn the degree in English or English Education, students must pass the senior comprehensive exam. This is taken the first semester of the senior year. This way, if a student fails a section or sections of the exam, he or she can retake that section or sections in the second semester.

The exam has three sections:
1. Objective Questions Completed during the scheduled exam period. These are multiple choice questions covering the required readings on the Senior Comprehensive Reading List (see below). This section of the exam tests knowledge of the readings, terms, and period concepts.

2. Close Reading of a Text Completed during the scheduled exam period. A poem or prose passage that the student is likely never to have seen before is presented. The student must write an essay that analyzes the piece. This section of the exam tests the ability to make sense of a work of literature on one's own.

3. Portfolio Completed during the student's second-to-last semester; if necessary, revised in the last semester. The portfolio will consist (one each) of British, American/African American, and World Literature essays written during Xavier courses and a cover letter explaining how each of the essays demonstrates mastery of program objectives. Students will be required to revise, on their own, these essays in line with the objectives. An Appendix containing the original essays will be included. The portfolio's essays will demonstrate mastery of:
  • Textual explication
  • Period awareness (unique characteristics of literary periods)
  • Basic writing skills (formatting, absence of mechanical, syntactical, and spelling errors)
  • Modern Language Association style and documentation
The Senior Thesis Option

In the second semester of the junior year, English and English Education majors who are on track to complete (that semester) at least 24 hours of English with a 3.5 GPA or better in their English classes will be eligible to replace the Senior Comprehensive Exam with a Senior Thesis. First, the student must identify a research topic and his or her faculty advisor. The student will attend a workshop on selecting a research topic, as well as a workshop on MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation (these workshops will be provided either by the English Department or by the Writing Resource Center). That same semester, the student will submit a proposal and bibliography to the English Department Head. If approved, he or she will register for ENGL 4500, Senior Thesis, for his or her first semester of senior year. If the senior thesis is rejected by the advisor and the thesis committee, the following semester (the last semester of senior year), the student will meet with the advisor to develop a revision strategy, and in the second full month of the semester will submit the revised thesis. If the revised senior thesis is rejected, the student must take the Senior Comprehensive Exam to complete degree requirements.


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