Department of English

Major in English


The primary track to major in English consists of at least 30 semester hours in English above the 100 level (including 15 hours at the 300 level or above). The required courses are:

ENGL 300 English Literature to 1800 3
ENGL 302 English Literature since 1800 3
or ENGL 308 American Literature
ENGL 380 Departmental Seminar 3
One of the capstone courses which are designated in SIS by a C–e.g. 331C, 372C (see “New Capstone” below) 3
One of the following: 3
ENGL 310
History of the English Language
ENGL 312
ENGL 320
Renaissance Literature
ENGL 323
ENGL 324
Shakespeare: Histories and Tragedies
ENGL 325
Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances
ENGL 327
Eighteenth-Century Literature
ENGL 328
Studies in the Eighteenth Century
ENGL 329
English Literature, 1780-1837
Fifteen additional hours of English courses, at least 3 of which must be at the 300 level 15
Total Units 30


(For a downloadable checklist of requirements, especially useful when meeting with your advisor, download the English_Major_Requirements.)

Because of the flexibility of departmental requirements and the variety of career paths to which the major may lead, all students should confer frequently and closely with advisors. No courses outside the department are required for the major (although a language course is required for the Honors track–see below), but the department recommends courses in comparative literature, history, philosophy, history and criticism of the fine arts, theater, and literature in other languages. Students planning to go to graduate school are reminded of the importance of foreign language study.

Completion of the university composition requirement (ENGL 150 Expository Writing or SAGES First Seminar) is a prerequisite for most English courses at the 200 level and above.

 Major assessment portfolio

As part of the university’s federally mandated program for assessing student progress, every English major must assemble a portfolio of written work. The portfolio is meant to help the department understand how well it is doing in helping to educate you and how it might do better;  it is NOT an assessment of your abilities and achievements.

The portfolio consists of four items:

1. one graded paper from ENGL 300 (files of such papers are kept in the department office)
2. one graded paper from ENGL 380
3. an essay of 3-5 pages reflecting on one’s experience in the major (see prompt)
4. the graded capstone project/paper from your capstone class

The four required papers listed above should be emailed to Susan Grimm in the English department office ( She will create the actual portfolio (a Blackboard function closed to students) from the listed materials.

The New Capstone Plan:
Under the SAGES Capstone structure in English, the department will offer a choice of cross-listed capstone courses each semester. These courses will be structured much like 300/400 split-level courses, with capstone and non-capstone students enrolled in the same course, but pursing different kinds of writing projects. Each school year the department will offer cross-listed capstones in different fields of literary and cultural studies, as well as fields such as creative writing, journalism, and film.

Students who register for these cross-listed capstone courses (which are designated with a “C” after the regular course number) will be required to complete the same readings, attend the same classes, take the same quizzes and exams, and participate in the same class discussions as the students registered for the regular course. Capstone students, however, will not complete all the same writing assignments as non-capstone students. Instead, capstone students will  develop an independent research topic in the field of study covered by the course (though not limited to the books on the syllabus), and produce a research paper of approximately 25pp. (or in the case of an advanced creative writing or journalism course, a comparably ambitious independent project with an accompanying critical introduction). Capstone students will also be required to design an oral report on their project, delivered with the other capstone course projects for that semester as a separately scheduled public presentation at the end of the semester.

Prerequisites and other enrollment conditions for the proposed cross-listed capstone courses:
All capstone courses have ENGL 380 as a prerequisite, and all require “Permission of Instructor” for registration. Some of the capstone courses (such as those in film, creative writing, and Renaissance studies) have an additional prerequisite to ensure that students have enough background expertise to complete a capstone project in that specific area of study. Students should plan ahead and speak with their major advisor about the prerequisites (which are listed in the English Course Descriptions and University General Bulletin) and about capstone planning in general.

With the exception of the Creative Writing courses, students will not be able to repeat a course for capstone credit if they have taken that exact same course before in its regular version (i.e. with the same syllabus and subtitle).

How to enroll in an English capstone:
If you are planning to complete your capstone in English, look over the list of fall capstone offerings and projected spring capstone offerings and determine which ones best fit your interests and schedule. You should then make sure you have the required prerequisites for the capstone you have chosen and that you are eligible to enroll. Discuss your capstone choice with your major advisor and request permission to enroll with the faculty instructor listed for the course. Then, once you have received permission of instructor, you may enroll for the capstone “C” section of that course.

These capstone classes are also open to non-majors who have taken ENGL 380 (departmental seminar) and who have met any additional prerequisites that may be required for the capstone course in which they wish to enroll..

English majors who wish to fulfill the capstone requirement in another department should petition the department chair and as part of the petition assemble the major assessment portfolio, including the reflective essay.

Students minoring in English, creative writing, or film may take their capstone in English, but must fulfill the prerequisites to enroll.

 Departmental honors

To qualify for honors, English majors follow a track consisting of at least 36 hours above the 100 level, including the general requirements for the major (see above); ENGL 387 Literary and Critical Theory, or approved substitute; at least 18 hours of approved electives in literary and cultural studies; and one of the following language courses, or an equivalent in a language for which 300-level literature courses are available:

FSCH 202 Intermediate French II 4
GREK 202 Introduction to Greek Poetry 3
GRMN 202 Intermediate German II 4
JAPN 202 Intermediate Japanese II 4
LATN 202 Vergil 3
SPAN 202 Intermediate Spanish II 4


(For a downloadable English_Major_Honors_Track_Requirements. The award of honors requires a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses taken for the honors program.