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The Major

An English major's program is formulated individually by the student with the help of a faculty advisor. Beginning in Fall 2021 English literature majors take 11 literature courses after the first Core (EN 101). The second English Core course (EN 200s) counts toward the major requirement, and students are highly encouraged to take this Core course.    
Courses at the 300 level (up to 18 students) and 400 level (seminar style up to 14 students) offer opportunities for extensive study of individual writers, genres, literary periods, and special topics: Medieval Passion, Milton, Victorian Poetry, The Book in America, African-American literature, Latin American literatures, Imagining Apocalypse in Contemporary Literature, Shades of Black: Film Noir and Post-War America, Animation, Humor Studies, and many more.

Students take 3 courses dealing with literature written before 1800, 1 course in nineteenth-century literature, and 1 course in twentieth/twenty-first century literature; the remaining 6 courses are of the student’s choosing.

Major Requirements

All English majors are required to take two seminars, which are intensive studies in a literary figure, genre, theory, or movement:

  1. 3 pre-1800 courses (300-339; 407; 411-439) 
  2. 1 course in 19th-century literature (350-369; 450-469)  
  3. 1 course in 20th- and 21st-century literature (370-399; 470-499) 
  4. 6 electives (any course 300-410); an EN 200-level course counts toward the major 

*Courses numbered 340-349 and currently numbered 400, 405, 409, and 410 may count for any group 1-3 at the discretion of the instructor. 
*2 courses must be seminars (EN 400s) 

For more information on the courses that meet these requirements, see the upper-division course descriptions.

Honors Option

The department invites as many as 15 of its most accomplished seniors to participate in an Honors seminar. This seminar, the topic of which is announced before registration for each fall semester, provides an intense and rewarding educational experience. Those who complete the Honors seminar may elect to write an Honors thesis under the direction of a faculty advisor. Normally the thesis does not count toward the English major (the credit is elective), but the preparation and successful defense result in an honors designation for the student's English major. It is excellent preparation for graduate or professional school.