Requirements for the English Major
The eleven-course major in English and twelve-course major in English and Creative Writing give students a way to build their expertise in the study of literature by incorporating both breadth and depth.
For English majors, the required courses at the 200-level include EN200, our introductory seminar in literary analysis and EN271: Introduction to Critical Theory, which introduces students to theoretical approaches to literature. Beyond these two courses, an English major chooses a third 200-level course (including creative writing workshop courses) and five 300- and 400-level courses, which allow our students to build on the early interests they have developed in the introductory courses. The major also includes two electives, which can be literature in a foreign language or in translation, other Creative Writing courses, and designated courses in other disciplines. All majors take a senior seminar (EN493), our capstone course, where they engage in significant research, writing, and study of advanced literary topics.
Our field distribution requirements within the major are designed to reflect our deep commitment to helping students balance breadth and depth in their literary studies. The Early Literatures (E) requirement provides a historical foundation to the major. The Poetry (P) requirement ensures that students study many genres; you can meet this requirement by reading or writing poetry (EN279). The Comparative (C) requirement encourages students to make connections between periods, geographical locations, and forms of media. The Diasporas and Crossroads (D) requirement gives students the opportunity to investigate cultural complexities, read the works of underrepresented writers, and redefine the canon. Course descriptions identify which courses fulfill these requirements, and the requirements form lets you track your progress through the major.
Requirements for the English Major with a Concentration in Creative Writing
In addition to the requirements for the English major, students will take four writing workshops at the 200-level or above. These courses include 278, 279, 280, 378, 379, 380, 382, and 386. Students may count Beginning Playwriting (Theater and Dance 141) as one of their creative writing courses. English majors wishing to pursue a concentration in creative writing should declare the English with a concentration in creative writing major; the creative writing minor only exists for students whose declared major is not English. Students are encouraged to take at least one course in a genre other than their sequence genre. Students should note that creative nonfiction courses are not offered as frequently as fiction and poetry courses.
Requirements for the English Minor
The Department offers a flexible six-course minor in English which will allow you to combine your study with another degree. The course requirements are streamlined but parallel the English major requirements, so that you can easily move from the minor to the major or from the minor to the English major with creative writing concentration.
Students in the minor have a wide range of choices for three electives that meet field requirements. One elective may be a creative writing workshop. In addition all students take three core course requirements: EN200, Foundations of Literary Studies; EN271, Introduction to Critical Theory; and EN493, the senior seminar. The senior seminar is offered annually in multiple sections with varying topics.
Honors in English
Students who meet the prerequisite, define a project, and secure the support of a department tutor/advisor and a second reader may elect to take English 483, 484, the Honors Thesis, and, upon successful completion, graduate with “Honors in English.” For more information.
Preparation for Graduate School
Students planning to continue the study of English in graduate school should confer with their advisors to be sure that they have planned a substantial and adequate curriculum. They should be proficient in at least one foreign language. Most universities require two languages, and some require a classical language as well. Work in classical or foreign literature, history, philosophy, art, music, and some of the social sciences reinforces preparation in the major and enhances one’s chances for success in graduate study.