/ English Department

Special Programs and Opportunities

Our students have the opportunity to hear from award-winning writers, learn from experts in literature and writing, and expand their education through many avenues.

Honors Program

  • The Honors Program challenges majors to go beyond the minimum requirements by taking extra courses, developing an individual reading program and attending department colloquiums and readings.
  • Detailed information and application forms are available from the Honors Program site. Early application, even in the freshman year, is encouraged.

Independent Study

  • Independent studies are student-designed research or writing projects culminating in either:
    • A paper that demonstrates literary scholarship and original thought
    • A significant and complete body of creative or expository writing
  • They are only offered to students who have exhausted the regular offering of literature or writing courses in the department.
  • In order to register for an independent study, students must find a faculty supervisor, fill out the application form and receive department permission.

Sigma Tau Delta

  • This national English department honor society has a robust presence on our campus.
  • Established in 1924 to confer distinction for high achievement in English language, literature and writing, Sigma Tau Delta is dedicated to fostering literacy and all aspects of the discipline of English.


The DeGraaf Lecture Series

  • The De Graaf lecture was established in 1988 in honor of Dr. Clarence De Graaf, who was a legendary presence in the history of Hope’s English department.
  • We have been privileged to hear from such admired scholars as Terry Eagleton, Lawrence Buell, V. A. Kolve, Jane Tompkins and, most recently, Anne Curzan and Syl Cheney-Coker.

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series

  • The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series began in 1982.
  • The mission of the series is to provide our community with diverse and rich literary experiences. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners perform alongside the nation’s finest new voices.


  • OPUS is a Hope College student-run literary magazine that publishes once each semester.
  • The magazine nurtures and promotes an artistic community at Hope. This involves interacting with the greater West Michigan artistic community through both attending and hosting events such as poetry readings or art shows, bringing students together to dialogue on the personal views concerning all aspects of art, hosting workshops for student art, publishing and promoting student work biannually, providing students with an opportunity to gain experience in the industries of editing and printing and much more.

Mellon Scholars Program

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program supports students' intellectual engagement within and across the disciplines.
  • Through original research that combines traditional scholarly methods, creative production, experiential education and the digital liberal arts, students work independently or in teams, with the support of faculty mentors, to build the skills needed to plan, develop and undertake significant projects of research or artistic creation, and to carry them through to completion.
  • Mellon Scholars emerge from the program with knowledge and experience that will serve them well in postgraduate study, law school, medical school and in competition for national and international scholarship and fellowship awards at the highest levels.