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BA in English

The major in English engages students in an ever-deepening exploration of how the relationship between reading and writing shapes our understandings of ourselves, our histories and cultures. By analyzing and interpreting acts of writing through discussion and research, students sharpen their critical thinking and deepen their sense of cultural literacy. Our major enables students to explore courses of interest while providing a solid foundation in the study of the genres of literature, literary theory, literary history, rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Advanced coursework leads to the senior seminar capstone course in which students produce their own extended, original project. Students may choose to pursue a Creative Writing concentration or a Secondary Education concentration. Both of these concentrations have more specific requirements in order to appropriately prepare students for their interests and career goals. Advisers consult with students regularly to ensure that their personal, intellectual, creative and professional goals are being met.  

Students in our major program are well-prepared for entering graduate study in English, elementary and secondary education, law, business and library science and for careers in government, public service, not-for-profit foundations, public relations and advertising, print and digital publishing and other business fields, which need skilled writers, researchers and creative problem-solvers.

Curriculum + Requirements

The English major is designed for the student who enjoys working with all forms of literary expression. It emphasizes strong reading, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, research and writing, and oral communication, providing successful graduates who are well prepared for a wide range of careers and graduate study.

English Major Requirements: (36 credits)

Flexible Requirements
Any EN courses at the 200 or 300 level (21 credits)
Students must take at least six credits at the EN 300 level in each category.
A. Language, Rhetoric, Genre and Form
B. Periods, Places, Cultures and Identities

Advanced Requirements
Choose one from each category (15 credits)

Literary History Underrepresented Writers (3 credits):
EN 235, EN 265, EN 338, EN 340

Literary History I (3 credits):
EN 341, EN 345, EN 348, EN 350, EN 361

Literary History II (3 credits):
EN 308, EN 322, EN 323, EN 352, EN 355, EN 365, EN 366, EN 367, EN 380

Junior Seminar in Literary Theory (3 credits):
EN 304

Senior Seminar/Capstone (3 credits):
EN 460


Concentration in Creative Writing

English majors can earn a concentration in creative writing by completing 15 or more credits in creative writing and contemporary literature courses. Students who earn the concentration in creative writing not only develop their compositional, reading, and analytical skills in one or more genres, but they also build a foundation for understanding and utilizing the power of creativity in their professional lives after college.

This concentration is especially recommended to those students who hope to pursue a master of fine arts degree. Successful completion of the concentration in creative writing will be indicated on students' transcripts.

All students wishing to fulfill the requirements for a concentration in creative writing must take the following courses:

  •  Two 200-level creative writing courses (6 credits)
  • Two 300-level advanced creative writing workshops (6 credits)
  • One course in contemporary/post-WWII literature, including but not limited to EN220, EN275, EN308, EN322, EN323, EN366, EN367 and EN373 (3 credits)

The 300-level workshop can be repeated once for credit (i.e., a student interested in fiction can take the Advanced Fiction Workshop up to two times).

Concentration in Secondary Education

English majors who are planning to teach high school need a more structured curriculum tailored to state requirements and discipline-specific knowledge of literature. To earn the concentration in secondary education, students complete 18 credits in a strong, broadly based literature and expertise in writing foundation. The concentration enables them to move to graduate level work successfully, and greatly benefits them in their professional lives as high school teachers. Students use the flexible and advanced requirements to explore a range of of courses in national literatures, genres, authors and writing, including:

  • One course in British literature (3 credits)
  • Two courses in American literature (6 credits)
  • One course in Shakespeare (3 credits)
  • One course in advanced composition (3 credits)
  • History of the English Language (3 credits)

Honors Thesis in English

Students who have an overall 3.3 GPA, and a 3.5 in the English major may seek the recommendation of any English department faculty member to pursue a Senior Thesis Project (EN 470) in addition to the capstone course (EN 460). Students who are planning to attend graduate school in English or other related fields, might discuss taking advantage of this opportunity with their advisers. The Honors thesis as well as the capstone course in English focuses on working with a faculty member to do an extended writing project involving analysis of texts and research.

Minor in English

The Department of English offers a minor in English for students who wish to study literature and improve their writing proficiency. Students whose professional advancement depends on good reading aptitute, sound writing and rhetorical techniques, and critical and creative thinking are encourage to apply to the Chair of the English department. The minor offers two different emphases depending on student interests:

Literature Track Required Courses
EN 150 Advanced Revision & Editing (1 credit)
Two 200-level literature courses (6 credits)
Four 300-level literature courses (12 credits)
Strongly advised: two period courses and EN 343 or EN 344 Shakespeare 

Writing Track Required Courses
EN 150 Advanced Revision & Editing (1 credit)
One 200-level writing course (3 credits)
Two 200 or 300-level literature or writing courses (6 credits)
Two 300-level writing courses (6 credits)
EN 351 Studies in Rhetoric & Writing