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With major and minor concentrations in both Literature and Writing, English offers students the means both to connect with their world and to transcend it. Trained to think inventively and write expressively, English majors of both concentrations are prepared for work in various professional spheres, including graduate study in the field, education, communications, publishing, law and business. Some have established reputations as important scholars, journalists and authors. Literature classes enable students to study literature as an art form. Through courses covering a spectrum of historical, cultural, and ethnic perspectives, literature also invites students to explore their own lives and times as well as think beyond their own experience. Classes typically combine lecture and discussion, introducing students to representative works of English, American, and Anglophone writing and encouraging them to develop methods of critical interpretation. The study of writing directly engages students' imaginations and knowledge and helps them develop their potential as writers through courses in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting and journalism. Small workshop classes provide intensive experience in the crafting and revising of students own work and in the productive critique of others. Students wishing to count courses taken off-campus toward a major in English must have prior approval from their academic advisors and the department chair.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a major


Total courses required Ten
Core courses One Reading & Literature course (ENG 141, 151, 171, 181, 191), ENG 251 and ENG 451.
Other required courses One course in literature before 1660; one course in literature between 1660 and 1900; one course in literature from 1900 to the present; one literature survey (ENG 263, ENG 264, ENG 265, ENG 266, ENG 281, ENG 282, ENG 283), and one course, at any level, in cultural competency (AFST 240, ENG 171, ENG 263, ENG 265, ENG 266, ENG 268, ENG 269, ENG 398, or a topics course at any level designated by the instructor). Students must satisfy the survey and cultural competency requirements with separate courses.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Five (including ENG 451)
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of the completion of ENG 451 with a grade of C or better.
Additional information ENG 197 may be counted toward a major. Students may count one ENG 255 that is cross-listed as a Modern Language course toward the major. ENG 351 is recommended but not required.
Recent changes in major For students declaring the English (Literature) major after July 1, 2021, there is one important change to the major. Students must now satisfy the cultural competency requirement with one of the courses listed above, or with a topics course, at any level, designated by the instructor.
Writing in the Major

ENG 251, Writing in Literary Studies, fills the writing in the major requirement for English (Literature) majors. This course explores the purpose and craft of writing about literature, refining the ability to recognize and communicate pattern and meaning in texts and culture. The course fosters the writing and research skills necessary for advanced literary study, including the Senior Seminar in Literature, and for participation in larger conversations in the field. Through major writing projects and peer workshops, students practice a variety of approaches to writing and research, while also expanding methods of writing for a variety of audiences.


Total courses required Ten plus one fine or performing arts
Core courses ENG 149, ENG 349, and ENG 412.
Other required courses One Reading & Literature course (ENG 141, 151, 171, 181, 191); one course at the 200-level; three courses in writing at the 300-level; one course in literature at the 300-level; and one cultural competency course at any level (AFST 240, ENG 171, 263, 265, 266, 268, 269, 398 or other topics course designated by the instructor). Note: students must take at least one English course with this designation, but it cannot be for a course that is being used to meet their university-wide PPD requirement.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Six (including 3 writing courses, one literature course, ENG 349 and ENG 412)
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of the completion of ENG 412 with a grade of C or better, as well as a thesis.
Additional information Students must complete a course in the fine arts or performing arts (.25, .5 or 1.0 credit). One off-campus study course may be counted for the English (Writing) major.
Recent changes in major For students declaring the English (Writing) major after January, 2022, a cultural competency requirement must be satisfied with one of the courses listed above, or with a topics course designated by the instructor. English 232 (News Writing and Editing) no longer qualifies as one of the three required upper-level writing courses (but may count toward the 200-level course requirement). A literature survey course is no longer required and has been replaced by any 200-level course.
Writing in the Major

The English Writing Major prepares students to write in multiple genres, including fiction, poetry, journalism, nonfiction, and dramatic writing, as well as analytical prose such as interpretive essays and essays on craft. In writing workshops, students assist and critique one another as they develop their own writing. In the senior year, majors create a senior thesis in a particular genre accompanied by an artist's statement that serves as an introduction to their work.

By the end of senior year students should:

  • have ample experience in writing in at least three of the following genres: poetry, fiction, journalism, creative nonfiction, playwriting, or screenwriting
  • begin to master a particular genre of creative writing or journalism
  • be adept at critiquing peers' work to assist their fellow writers and improve their own revisions
  • write clear, precise prose--both creative and analytical
  • write convincingly about the art of creative writing--how it is made and why it endures.

In addition to developing their craft in specific writing genres, writing majors learn to write analytically about their discipline. Building on the writing done in first-year seminar and the sophomore W class, students take English 349: Form and Genre, a literature class taught by creative writers, in which they engage in modeling exercises and analyze narrative structure, story and poetic forms, and creative techniques employed by master writers. In this class, students write papers that break down and synthesize their craft, examining how stories and poems are made, and how various effects are created. After their initial exposure to poetry, fiction, and dramatic writing and/or nonfiction in English 149, Introduction to Creative Writing, students take three 300-level genre courses in the writing workshop model. Majors also take one of five Reading Literature courses and three additional literature courses (or two literature and one hybrid literature/writing course or journalism course), where they write interpretative, scholarly papers about the texts they read and/or work on craft. Finally, in senior year, as part of their capstone seminar, students compose an artist's statement (a thoughtful summary of their ideas about writing in general and their own writing in particular) and a project of significant length in the genre of their choice. Students will fulfill the writing in the major requirement when they successively complete senior seminar.

Requirements for a minor

English Writing

Total courses required Five
Core courses
  • One Literature course (at any level)
  • ENG 149
  • ENG 349
Other required courses

Two 300-level writing workshops (from): ENG 232, ENG 301, ENG 302, ENG 311, ENG 312, ENG 321, ENG 322, ENG 331, ENG 332, ENG 341, ENG 342, ENG 343

With permission of the department and associate chair, a course in a related department could count towards one of the minor requirements.

Number 300 and 400 level courses Three


Total courses required Five literature
Core courses One course that stresses writers before 1830. One course that stresses writers after 1830.
Other required courses ENG 197 may be counted toward a minor. (April 2010)
Number 300 and 400 level courses Two