Major Requirements

English majors must complete a minimum of nine courses in the department. We strongly advise that ENG 275 Theory & Methods of English Studies be completed early in the major sequence, ideally as the student’s second course in the major preceded by one 200-level course from the specific category listings below (Reading X, Genre, etc). The three approaches courses (Genealogies, Texts/Contexts, and Transformations) should also be taken as early in the major program as possible. Students may not count any of the ENG 100 level courses toward their requirements in the major or minor.

Core Requirements: 6 Courses

1. ENG 275 Theories and Methods of English Studies plus (as a pre-requisite) any
     other 200-level English course or permission of the instructor: 2 courses
2. One course in each of the three designated Approaches – Genealogies,
     Transformations, Texts/Contexts – at either the 200 or 300-level: 3 courses
3. CUE:  Senior Seminar taken in the senior year: 1 course

Additional Requirements: 3 Courses

Majors would take at least 3 additional courses, 2 of which may be Creative Writing courses. Within the 9-course minimum required of majors, no fewer than 5 courses must be taken at the 300-level or above. (This number includes the senior seminar.)  Students may take one of these 300-level literature courses in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures.

Courses in Study Abroad, Summer School, and the Wescoe School

Typically, students may count no more than two Summer School and/or Study Abroad courses toward the major. These courses must be approved in advance by the Department Chair. Day students may count courses taken through the Wescoe School toward the major only with permission of the Department Chair. Ordinarily, students will be expected to take the courses for which there are Wescoe School equivalents during the day session.

Each major must maintain a 2.000 grade point average in English courses to remain in the department. A 3.300 grade point average in the major is expected of those who desire unconditional recommendations for graduate schools or for teaching positions. Students who are planning to attend graduate school in English would do well to enroll several courses in excess of the minimum course requirement for majors and should seek the advice of their faculty advisor as early in their undergraduate career as possible.

Reading X

A set of offerings at the 200 level, the “Reading X” series, is designed for fledgling English majors and minors.  These courses are also appropriate for students seeking their L requirement who may desire greater focus than a typical survey course provides.  The “Reading X” courses immerse students in a specific author, text, or literary topic, focusing on areas of controversy and debate in contemporary literary and cultural studies. With the senior seminar, the “Reading X” courses will bookend the major with experiences of depth. They will be taught as writing intensive and will be concerned less with literary theory and criticism than with the experience of reading widely in an author or topic and learning a set of basic close-reading skills. In addition to teaching modes of analysis, these offerings will often make classic works of literature relevant to our time by studying them in relation to their modern adaptations.


As students develop their majors, they should incorporate at least one course in each of the three approaches: Genealogies, Transformations, and Texts/Contexts. These courses model different approaches to literary history, and are intended to heighten student awareness of literary traditions of the past, of the continuities between and among literary epochs, and of the variety of methodological and theoretical modes used to understand both literary and nonliterary texts. Approaches courses should be taken as early as possible in the major sequence and through any appropriately designated course at or above the 200 level.

It is important to bear in mind that although many twentieth and twenty-first century courses are not listed under a specific approach, they still count as essential experiences in the major/minor. Students are encouraged to take courses from various genres (poetry, fiction, drama, etc.) and various time periods.

Genealogies:  Foundational texts and periods.

These courses consider periods throughout the literary histories of various nations and cultures that came to shape the practices of English-language writers.

                ENG 216 Reading Romance
                ENG 247 or 248 Shakespeare
                ENG 277 or 278 Nationalism, Romanticism, & American Renaissance
                ENG 313 or 314 Medieval Literature
                ENG 315 or 316 The Renaissance Imagination
                ENG 317 or 318 Lyric Traditions
                ENG 323 or 324 Renaissance Plays in Process
                ENG 325 or 326 Milton & the Age of Revolution
                ENG 329 or 330 Nineteenth Century British Fiction:  The Marriage Plot
                ENG 331 or 333 English Romanticism
                ENG 352 or 353 Modern Poetry I:  1889-1945

Tranformations:  Readings and rewritings.

These courses focus on instances of change or contestation in the development of literatures in English, including movements that seek to replace established conventions with new or remodeled forms of expression. They consider modern and contemporary adaptations, appropriations, and revisions of the literature of the past. These courses explicitly address how readers and writers continue to engage traditions and conventions, remaking them not only within but also outside the academy.

                ENG 206 Reading Austen
                ENG 208 Reading Alice in Wonderland
                ENG 211 Reading T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land
                ENG 212 Reading Frankenstein
                ENG 271 or 272 Ethnicity in US Literature
                ENG 321 or 322 Shakespeare Reproduced
                ENG 328 Staging the Restoration
                ENG 343 or 344 Irish Literature
                ENG 345 or 346 Contemporary Irish Drama
                ENG 354 or 355 Modern Poetry II:  1945-2000
                ENG 375 Postcolonial Literature
                ENG 397 or 398 Gender, Sensation, & the Novel

Texts/Contexts:  Interdisciplinary approaches.

These courses attempt to put literary works of a particular moment in history in the context of other systems of meaning current at the time, including science, psychology, sociology, and religion.  Consequently, these courses often include substantial engagement with ostensibly non-literary texts as well as with other cultural products from the visual and performing arts and from the marketplace.

                ENG 214 Reading Whitman's America
                ENG 217 Reading India
                ENG 218 Reading the South
                ENG 257 Literature & Evolution
                ENG 263 or 264 Postwar British Theatre & Film
                ENG 338 or 339 City, Frontier, & Empire in American Literature
                ENG 349 or 350 Modern American Fiction
                ENG 356 or 357 Native American Literature
                ENG 373 or 374 The Literary Marketplace
                ENG 378 or 379 The Death of the Sun: Energy, Elegy, & Empire in
                                                 Victorian Literature
                 ENG 391 or 392 Decadence: Literature of the 1890s
                 ENG 395 or 396 Literature & Film of the Cold War

English Minor Requirements: (5 courses)

English minors must complete a minimum of five courses in the department. These include ENG 275 Theories and Methods of English Studies, two courses that treat approaches – one Genealogies and either a Texts/Contexts or Transformation – and two additional courses, one of which may be in creative writing. A minimum of 2 courses in the minor must be taken at the 300 level or above. Students may not count 100 level English courses toward the minor.