BA in English

English majors are expected to work with their advisors to design a coherent but wide-ranging course of study. We encourage all students majoring in English to explore the full historical range of offerings; to investigate the spectrum of textual differences to be found in the study of Anglophone literatures, film, and oral traditions; and to include exposure to contemporary theoretical approaches in English studies, such as critical race theory, gender studies, environmental humanities, historical materialism, and cultural studies. With the help of their advisors, English majors should seek to create programs of study that expand their knowledge and challenge their preconceptions.  Students should take survey courses early in their academic career in order to establish the necessary foundation for more advanced classes.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • Students must receive a grade of C- or higher in any course that they wish to count towards the fulfillment of English major requirements
  • Only courses offered by the English Department or cross-listed with an English Department registration number can count for the English major. ExCollege courses may not be counted towards the major
  • No more than four transfer courses may be applied towards the major. These must be taken in an English department.
  • The English Major Concentration Check Sheet must be submitted with the degree sheet.

Course Requirements

Students majoring in English must take at least ten courses (above English 1, 2, 3, and 4) listed or cross-listed in the Department, according to the following guidelines:

  • Students must take one survey course.
  • Students must take two non-survey courses in American, British, or other Anglophone literature written before 1860, including at least one course in British literature. No more than one course used to fulfill this part of the requirement may be on Shakespeare.
  • Students must also take two non-survey courses in American, British, or Anglophone literature written after 1860.
  • Five remaining courses of the student's choice from the department's listings. One semester of a Senior Honors Thesis may count as one of these courses, with the other semester counting as an eleventh course for the major.

Please note the following guidelines when applying creative writing courses towards the major:

  • Creative Writing courses are defined as courses numbered English 0005-0017. Fulfillment of the College Writing Requirement is a prerequisite for ENG 0005-0017.
  • English majors may count up to five creative writing courses (defined as courses numbered English 0005-0017) towards the major’s required ten courses.
  • A maximum of two creative writing courses at the introductory level in each of the areas offered (fiction, poetry, and journalism) may be applied to the major.
  • "Writing Fiction: Intermediate" may be applied a maximum of two times.
  • "Nonfiction Writing," "Intermediate Journalism," and "New Forms of Screen Narrative" may each count only once.
  • "Writing Fiction: Advanced" may be applied a maximum of three times.
  • There is no limit on the number of times "Writing Poetry: Advanced" may be applied, though pre-requisites should be taken into account.
  • Any creative writing course (except for "Nonfiction Writing," "Intermediate Journalism," and "New Forms of Screen Narrative") may be repeated for credit and applied towards the major within the above parameters.

Senior Honors Thesis

English majors may apply to write an honors thesis in their senior year. An honors thesis, as opposed to an independent study, is a two-semester project involving an advanced level of work in an area that students have already studied as part of their major.

Learn about the English Senior Honors Thesis