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Majoring in English

English majors take 11 courses in English, fulfilling the following specific requirements:

One Introductory Course:  Poetry and Poetics

Two Intermediate Courses:  Touchstones I and either Touchstones 2A or Touchstones 2B.  

Touchstones courses may be taken in any order.  If the student intends to study abroad in a non-English-speaking country in the third year, it is particularly important that these courses be completed in the second year.

Eight Advanced Courses, fulfilling the following categories:

GROUP A – Pre-1800:  2 courses, each from a different period among Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-century historical periods.

GROUP B – 19th century:  1 course from the 19th-century historical period, British or American.

GROUP C – Marginalized Voices:  1 course. This group includes all courses focused on literature or theory written by or about groups traditionally underrepresented in the canon — e.g. with respect to gender, ethnicity, or class.

GROUP D – Theories and Methodologies:  1 course. This group includes all seminars and all courses that offer a sustained methodological or theoretical consideration of the study of literature or language.

Advanced courses can simultaneously fulfill any of these four groups. That is, “double-dipping” or “triple-dipping” is allowed (e.g. a seminar on “Gender in the Renaissance” could conceivably fulfill Groups A, C, and D at the same time). The remaining courses required for the major can come from any of the upper-division courses listed below, including courses that are approved for Study Abroad and tutorials and honors theses devoted to British, American, or world Anglophone literature. Up to two creative writing courses (at any level) or academic writing courses (intermediate level or above) may also be counted among these courses.

Study Abroad: Students who study abroad for their third year may transfer a maximum of four courses' worth of credit toward the English major, with the exception that students studying at Oxford University or Trinity College, Dublin may transfer five courses' worth of credit toward the major.

Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in English are not awarded credit in the major or advanced placement in the English curriculum.

Concentrations and Minors

Creative Writing Concentration: Students have the opportunity to pursue a creative writing concentration within the English major.  The creative writing concentration is open only to English majors and requires three courses: 

  • one creative writing course at the introductory level in either prose or poetry (ENGL 141 or 142); and
  • two creative writing courses from the intermediate level in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry (ENGL 241, 242, and 243). 

Majors who complete the three-course sequence will be certified as having completed the concentration on their transcripts. Note that the limit of counting two creative writing courses towards the English major means that creative writing concentrators will take a minimum of 12 courses in English rather than 11.  Beyond the three required courses, the department offers creative writing electives such as screenwriting and science writing so that students can deepen their practice as writers.  Students may also complete an English Honors thesis in creative writing.

Creative Writing Minor: The creative writing minor enables students who are not English majors to focus on the practice of creative writing, providing them with a solid grounding in literary reading as well as opportunities for interdisciplinary coursework.  The creative writing minor requires six courses: 

  • the three-course sequence required for the creative writing concentration (described above),
  • two literature courses, one of which must be at the English 300 level or above, and
  • one elective, which could be another English course, or (with the consultation of the Creative Writing Coordinator) could come from outside the English Department.

In consultation with their advisors, students take literature courses that amplify their creative interests and suit their abilities.  For example, if a student is working primarily in fiction, she could enroll in a course in the novel genre.  To fulfill a non-300-level course possibility, students can take a relevant introductory or intermediate English course (e.g. CRAW: Fiction, Poetry and Poetics), a Creative Writing elective (e.g. Introduction to Screenwriting), a writing course (e.g. Intermediate Academic Writing), or a relevant non-English course (e.g. Creative Writing in Spanish, Studio Art, or a relevant computer coding course).  The point of these substitutions is to tailor the minor to the student’s interests.  For example, a Computer Science coding course might serve a student interested in narrative video game development, while a course in Photography or Film production might serve a student interested in multimedia creative composition.

Rhetoric and Composition Minor: The English Department offers a number of courses that serve the interdisciplinary Rhetoric and Composition Minor, housed in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.  See the Center's section of the catalog for a complete description of the minor.