Major Requirements

English

The English major—By majoring in English, students set out to refine their ability to comprehend works of literature, to understand how literature and culture affect one another, and to express their interpretations in speech and in writing. In order to declare a major in English, students must meet with the department chair. While students may choose to concentrate in literature, in creative writing, or in literature and film, all three concentrations are designed to equip students to achieve these goals by requiring a minimum of 12 courses divided into the categories below. A course will count toward the major if the grade earned is a C- or higher.

Requirements for the concentration in literature

  • Read a literary work closely and critically. Required course for all majors: ENGL 260. Introduction to Literary Studies. The department strongly recommends that students take ENGL 260 before enrolling in any upper-level English course. The Writing Intensive Requirement Part II is fulfilled by ENGL 260.
  • Recognize the importance of the cultural contexts in which each work locates itself. The department requires two courses in “cultural context.” One of the courses must be one of the following surveys: ENGL 204, 205, 210, 211, 216, or 217. A more advanced cultural context course may be substituted for a survey upon petition. Alternately, GDST 252 and GDST 253 shall count as filling the requirement of a survey course.
  • Become knowledgeable about the broad traditions of American and British literature. The department requires three 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written before 1800; two 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written after 1800; and two courses as electives (at least one elective English course must be at the 300/400 level).
  • Develop and refine the interpretive theories and formal patterns students use to understand works of literature. The department requires one course in literary theory.
  • Bring to bear on each work your experience as readers and critics. The department requires a senior English major project, which may be a senior thesis or a senior seminar. You should undertake your project in your senior year.

The selection of courses must also take into account the following distribution requirements:

  • One advanced course (excluding ENGL 260) must emphasize poetry.
  • One advanced course must emphasize British literature.
  • One advanced course must emphasize American literature.

Requirements for the concentration in creative writing

  • Read a literary work closely and critically. Required course for all majors: ENGL 260. Introduction to Literary Studies. The department strongly recommends that students take ENGL 260 before enrolling in any upper-level English course. The Writing Intensive Requirement Part II is fulfilled by ENGL 260.
  • Recognize the importance of the cultural contexts in which each work locates itself. The department requires two courses in “cultural context.” One of the courses must be one of the following surveys: ENGL 204, 205, 210, 211, 216, or 217. A more advanced cultural context course may be substituted for a survey upon petition. Alternately, GDST 252 and GDST 253 shall count as filling the requirement of a survey course.
  • Become knowledgeable about the broad traditions of American and British literature. The department requires three 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written before 1800; and two 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written after 1800.
  • Cultivate your talents for imaginative writing. The department requires all those concentrating in creative writing to take ENGL 270. Introduction to Creative Writing. Some upper-level creative writing courses may require ENGL 270 as a prerequisite.
  • Take at least one advanced creative writing workshop (ENGL 333, 334, 336, 337, or FILM 337. Writing for Film, or THDN 345. Writing for Stage and Screen, or THDN 393. Playwrights Workshop. Each of these workshops has a literature pre- or co-requisite—see your adviser.
  • Take a senior workshop (ENGL 492 or ENGL 494).
  • Write a thesis (restricted to students with an A- average in the English major, or to students who have submitted a successful petition to the director of creative writing), or take a second advanced creative writing workshop (ENGL 333, 334, 336, 337, or FILM 337. Writing for Film, or THDN 345. Writing for Stage and Screen, or THDN 393. Playwrights Workshop) in a different genre from the course taken to fulfill the advanced creative writing workshop. Each workshop has a literature pre- or co-requisite—see your adviser.

The selection of courses must also take into account the following distribution requirements:

  • One advanced course (excluding ENGL 260) must emphasize poetry.
  • One advanced course must emphasize British literature.
  • One advanced course must emphasize American literature.

Requirements for the concentration in literature and film

  • Read a literary work closely and critically. Required course for all majors: ENGL 260. Introduction to Literary Studies. The department strongly recommends that students take ENGL 260 before enrolling in any upper-level English course. The Writing Intensive Requirement Part II is fulfilled by ENGL 260.
  • Cultivate an understanding of the essential problems and techniques of film interpretation. The department requires that all those concentrating in literature and film take ENGL 265. Introduction to Film Studies. Some upper-level film courses may require ENGL 265 as a pre-requisite.
  • Recognize the importance of the cultural contexts in which each work locates itself. The department requires students concentrating in literature and film to take one further course besides 265 in “cultural context.” The course must be one of the following surveys ENGL 204, 205, 210, 216, or 217, preferably in the student's first or second year. A more advanced cultural context course may be substituted for a survey upon petition. Alternately, GDST 252 or 253 shall count as filling this requirement.
  • Develop and refine the interpretive theories and formal patterns students use to understand works of literature and film. The department requires that concentrators in literature and film take one of the following theory courses: ENGL 470. Film Theory: An Introduction, ENGL 401. Theories and Methods of Literary Studies, or ENGL 301. Literature and Meaning: from Aristotle to Queer Theory.
  • Become knowledgeable about the broad traditions of American and British literature. The department requires two 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written before 1800; and two 300/400-level courses emphasizing literature written after 1800.
  • Become knowledgeable about the history of cinema. The department requires three advanced courses, at least two on the 300/400 level, in film studies. Of these courses, one must be specifically on literature and film (so designated in the Course Catalogue). Up to one of these courses may be taken in a co-ordinate department.
  • Bring to bear on each work your experience as readers, viewers, and critics. The department requires a senior English major project, which may be a senior thesis or a senior seminar. You should undertake your project in your senior year.

The selection of courses must also take into account the following distribution requirements:

  • One advanced course (excluding ENGL 260) must emphasize poetry.
  • One advanced course must emphasize British literature.
  • One advanced course must emphasize American literature.