The Undergraduate Program
Studying English at Penn
As an intellectual discipline, the English Major provides students the opportunity to study literature and language while cultivating their reading and writing skills with care and assiduity. Our faculty are among the most decorated in the university for their excellence in teaching.
Designed to allow students flexibility and choice while insuring a comprehensive grounding in literary history, the English Major consists of 12 courses, divided into a Core of 6 courses and the rest Electives. Along the way, majors must take 4 advanced Seminars; usually, some of these may be counted in the core.
Majors can choose one of three emphases:
For those students adopting the Standard Curriculum, English offers sixteen distinct Concentrations, including the option of an individualized concentration. It also is the only department in which one can major with an emphasis in Creative Writing or Cinema Studies. Our course offerings seek to go wherever the English language is or has been, and our students this year will study everything from medieval and renaissance culture to romanticism, modernism, literary theory, and cinema.
Making Appointments, Getting Advice
If you are interested in Majoring or Minoring in English -- or in simply taking a few good English courses -- you should consult the information we provide here, and should make an appointment to meet with the English Undergraduate Chair (Emily Steiner) or the Associate Undergraduate Chair (Deborah Burnham). Just call Loretta Williams at 898-7343 to do so.
Students who have declared the major and have questions about individual courses and requirements should meet their English Faculty Advisor. They also should consult the Requirements for the Major. If you have been unable to meet with your advisor, you should call to make an appointment with Professor Deborah Burnham, who is the Associate Undergraduate Chair.