english class
request informationapply now

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, and we are working on a Secondary Education concentration that we hope will be available in Fall 2015.  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 Department of English offers a four-year bachelor's degree program (minimum 39 credits) in English, American and world literatures. In addition, it allows students in other majors to earn a second major or a minor (19 credits). An emphasis on reading, critical thinking, research and writing produces graduates who are well trained to negotiate constantly changing employment opportunities.

The composition courses (preliminary to the major) impart ways of reading, thinking and writing that are crucial for the successful major. The major program emphasizes a three-pronged approach to understanding the importance of literature: writing, literary theory and criticism, and literary history. These three values are offered in a wide-range of courses including a balance of British, American and world literature, single-author courses, specialized thematic and genre courses, interdisciplinary and multicultural courses.

English Core Requirements: (39 credits)

Distribution Requirements:

Advanced Composition (3 credits)
One course from the following:
EN 201, EN 202, EN 203, EN 206, En 212, EN 213, EN 214, EN 215, En 301, EN 302, EN 305, EN 351

Period British (6 credits)
Two courses from the following:
• One course from Pre-1785: EN 341, EN 345, EN 348, EN 350
• One course from Post-1785: EN 322, EN 323, EN 352, EN 355, EN 326

Period American (6 credits)
Two courses from the following:
• One course must be pre-1865: EN 365, EN 361
• One course must be post-1865: EN 308, En 366, EN 367, EN 373, EN 377, EN 380

Criticism & Theory (3 credits)
EN 204 (preferably in sophomore year)

Shakespeare (3 credits)
• EN 343 or 344  (preferably in junior or senior year)

Multicultural / Women (3 credits)
One course from the following:
EN 235, EN 265, EN 338, WS 235, WS 338

Senior Seminar (3 credits)
24 credits of the major must be completed before taking this course:
EN 460

English Electives (12 credits)
Four courses from the following:
• Any 200-level or higher English courses

Note: English majors in the master of teaching program must take EN 325. For these students, EN 325 counts as a pre-1785 British Period course.

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 will not only develop their compositional, reading, and analytical skills in one or more genres, but they will 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 in writing. Successful completion of the concentration in creative writing will be indicated on students' transcripts.

Required courses:

  • EN 201 to fulfill the advanced composition requirement (3 credits)
  • One 200-level creative writing course (3 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, 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).

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 English Minor has two emphases: literature and writing. Our literature track offers the same critical and creative engagements with texts as does our major. Students can choose from a variety of courses to help deepen their critical and writing acumen. Our writing track offers courses specifically tailored to composition, rhetoric and creative writing.