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

  • Take two Survey Courses. Courses on the 100-level examine broad sweeps of literary history, studying how genres develop over time. Class work emphasizes the close analysis of texts and the techniques of making focused arguments in writing. Students are encouraged to take these courses during their first two years. Courses counting toward this requirement are: ENGL 104, 105, 110, 111, 116, and 117. Alternately, GDST 252 and GDST 253 shall count as fulfilling the requirement.
  • Take the Gateway Course required of all majors: ENGL 260: Introduction to Literary Studies. ENGL 260, by introducing students to the interpretive, writing, and research skills specific to English, provides a foundation for their advanced work in the discipline. The department strongly recommends that students take ENGL 260 before enrolling in upper-level English courses. The Writing Intensive Requirement Part II is fulfilled by ENGL 260.
  • Take a 200-level elective course. These electives allow students to explore more broadly within the discipline before undertaking advanced work. Any 200-level course offered by the department may count toward this requirement. Upon petition to their advisors, students may substitute an advanced 300- or 400-level course for this requirement.
  • Undertake immersive work in the traditions of American, British, and Anglophone literature. Most courses on the 300- and 400-level are small seminars emphasizing specialized study within the discipline and cultivating advanced interpretive and writing skills. Three courses counting toward this requirement must carry the designation of “research intensive.” The department requires two 300/400-level courses focusing on literature written before 1700; two 300/400-level courses in literature written between 1700 and 1900; one 300/400-level course in literature written after 1900; and one 300/400 level elective.
  • Attain a critical reflexivity about the study of the literature itself. These courses explore the broader ramifications of what it means to study literature and cultivate a deeper understanding of one's relation, as an independent critic, to the discipline. Most courses in this category carry the prerequisite of ENGL 260. Students intending to write a thesis should fulfill this requirement (one course) by the end of junior year.
  • Bring your experience as readers and critics to bear on a capstone project. The department requires a senior English major project, which may be a senior seminar or a senior thesis. Senior seminars are ordinarily restricted to senior English majors, but non-seniors may petition individual instructors for admission. Students seeking consideration for Honors must complete a two-semester capstone consisting of either a two-term thesis or a senior seminar and a one-term thesis. Students who choose to write two-semester yearlong senior theses are required to enroll in ENGL 498. Senior Thesis Part 1/Senior Colloquium in the fall of their senior year. They must also re-register for ENGL 499. Senior Thesis Part 2 during the spring of their senior year. Students who choose to write a one-semester, one-credit thesis enroll in ENGL 497. One-Semester Senior Thesis. These students are not required to enroll in ENGL 498. Senior Thesis Part 1/Senior Colloquium, which is primarily for those doing yearlong, two credit theses.

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 American literature.

Requirements for the concentration in creative writing

  • Take one Survey Course. Courses on the 100-level examine broad sweeps of literary history, studying how genres develop over time. Class work emphasizes the close analysis of texts and the techniques of making focused arguments in writing. Students are encouraged to take these courses during their first two years. Courses counting toward this requirement are: ENGL 104, 105, 110, 111, 116, and 117. Alternately, GDST 252 and GDST 253 shall count as fulfilling the requirement.
  • Take the Gateway Course required of all majors: ENGL 260: Introduction to Literary Studies. ENGL 260, by introducing students to the interpretive, writing, and research skills specific to English, provides a foundation for their advanced work in the discipline. The department strongly recommends that students take ENGL 260 before enrolling in upper-level English courses. The Writing Intensive Requirement Part II is fulfilled by ENGL 260.
  • Take a 200-level elective course or a second survey. These electives allow students to explore more broadly within the discipline before undertaking advanced work. Any 200-level course offered by the department may count toward this requirement. Upon petition to their advisers, students may substitute an advanced 300- or 400-level course for this requirement.
  • Undertake immersive work in the traditions of American, British, and Anglophone literature. Most courses on the 300- and 400-level are small seminars emphasizing specialized study within the discipline and cultivating advanced interpretive and writing skills. One course counting toward this requirement must carry the designation of “research intensive.” The department requires two 300/400-level courses focusing on literature written before 1700; two in literature written between 1700 and 1900; and one 300/400-level course in literature written after 1900.
  • 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, 335, 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, 335 336, 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 American literature.

Requirements for the concentration in literature and film

  • Take one Survey Course. Courses on the 100-level examine broad sweeps of literary history, studying how genres develop over time. Class work emphasizes the close analysis of texts and the techniques of making focused arguments in writing. Students are encouraged to take these courses during their first two years. Courses counting toward this requirement are: ENGL 104, 105, 110, 111, 116, and 117. Alternately, GDST 252 and GDST 253 shall count as fulfilling the requirement.
  • Take the Gateway Course required of all majors: ENGL 260: Introduction to Literary Studies. ENGL 260, by introducing students to the interpretive, writing, and research skills specific to English, provides a foundation for their advanced work in the discipline. 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.
  • Undertake immersive work in the traditions of American, British, and Anglophone literature. Most courses on the 300- and 400-level are small seminars emphasizing specialized study within the discipline and cultivating advanced interpretive and writing skills. One course counting toward this requirement must carry the designation of “research intensive.” The department requires two 300/400-level courses focusing on literature written before 1800; and two 300/400-level courses in literature written after 1800.
  • 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 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 Bulletin). Up to one of these courses may be taken in a coordinate department.
  • Bring your experience as readers, critics, and viewers to bear on a capstone project. The department requires a senior English major project, which may be a senior thesis or a senior seminar in film or film and literature. Students seeking consideration for Honors must complete a two-semester capstone consisting of either a two-term thesis or a senior seminar and a one-term thesis.

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.