Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

The Undergraduate Major

The English Major

Declaring an English major is simple. Just follow the Step-By-Step Checklist linked to this page.

Students deciding to pursue the English major at Penn study Literature and Culture across the full range of media, from books and manuscripts to film and digital media. The major is intentionally of flexible design, consisting of 13 courses distributed as follows:

Click on the links to find out more about each. Different versions of the major have slightly different requirements. 

Most new majors will pursue our Standard Curriculum, designed to provide students with considerable flexibility while introducing them to a range of literary periods, genres, and national literatures. Majors adopting the Standard Curriculum may add a Concentration if they wish. Those adopting the Creative Writing and Cinema Studies concentrations already effectively have concentrations. Students wanting the broadest historical range and coverage should elect the Historical Concentration. With this flexibility, our majors are able to construct courses of study that correspond to their own growing intellectual interests. Some decide to explore entire literary periods (from medieval to the present day), others individual genres (poetry, prose, drama, and cinema), and others specific literary cultures (whether British American, or African-American, Asian-American, Latina/o, Caribbean, Celtic, South African, or other literatures in English).