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Courses of Study
The English Department offers a range of courses on literary productions and cultural representations written in or translated into English. Courses emphasize diversity in historical periods, genres, authors, cultures, and themes. The majority of courses in the major are seminar-style with limited enrollment emphasizing active student participation, critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills. The major in English focuses on the investigation of the central political, cultural, and ideological issues occasioned by texts and representations, particularly issues of race, gender, and class. The major considers various critical approaches, methods of inquiry, and strategies of interpretation. The Creative Writing Program offers fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry courses at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. The department also offers special-topics courses and supervises about 50 independent study projects and 15 honors theses each year. English is one of the most useful majors for those who want to attend professional schools of law, medicine, and business, as well as for those seeking jobs in commerce, industry, and government. Some majors become teachers; some become writers; some go into journalism, library science, or publishing. Students interested in teaching, private and public, are urged to read the “Education” section of the catalogue and to contact a member of the Education Program.
Requirements for the Major in Literature Written in English
English 120 or 172, and 271; four 200- or 300-level courses; two 400-level studies in special subjects; two additional courses, which may be chosen from advanced courses in English or American literature, creative writing, or literature in other languages or in translation; one additional 300- or 400-level English course; one senior seminar (English 493). At least three must be courses in which the major focus is upon literature written in English before 1800 and at least three must focus upon literature written in English after 1800. All choices of advanced courses should be planned carefully with the major advisor, who must approve them.
Students taking 120 as the gateway to the major must replace 172 with an additional 200-level English survey course (i.e. 251, 252, 255, 256, 268, 297). Courses that do not count toward the major are English 214 and 474. Two of the cross-listed theater and dance courses may count toward the English major.
The point scale for retention of the major applies to all English courses that may be used to fulfill major requirements. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Honors in English
Students who meet the prerequisite, define a project, and secure the support of a tutor may elect to take English 483, 484, the Honors Thesis, and, upon successful completion, graduate "With Honors in English."
Preparation for Graduate School