Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

About The Undergraduate Program

Students majoring in English explore language, literature, and culture across the globe and in a wide array of media. From books and manuscripts to theater, film, TV, and digital media, English majors go everywhere English goes in order to cultivate their critical and expressive skills.

Our faculty are among the most decorated in the university for their excellence in teaching. English Alumni pursue careers across the full range of professions, from law and medicine to consulting and teaching. For the past two decades, our graduates have especially thrived in the worlds of advertising and social media.

The English major consists of 13 courses, divided into a Core of 6 courses and the rest Electives. Along the way, majors must take The One Series seminar (formerly the Junior Research Seminar) and 4 Advanced Seminars, some of which may be counted in the core. The major was designed to allow students flexibility and choice while insuring a comprehensive grounding in literary history and interpretation. 

English Course Types and Course Number Ranges:

  • Introductory lecture courses: English 0010-0099
  • First Year Seminars: English 0300-0399
  • Intermediate courses: English 1000-1999
  • Advanced seminars: 2000-2999
  • The One Series (TOS): English 4500-4598
  • Benjamin Franklin Seminars: English 0500-0599
  • Critical-Creative Seminars: English 0700-0799
  • Creative Writing Seminars: English 3000-3999


English Course Attributes

  • AETP: Sector 1 Theory and Poetics of the Major Core
  • AEDD: Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora of the Major Core
  • AEMR: Sector 3 Medieval/Renaissance of the Major Core
  • AE18: Sector 4 Literature of the Long 18th Century of the Major Core
  • AE19: Sector 5 19th Century Literature of the Major Core
  • AE20: Sector 6 20th-21st Century Literature of the Major Core
  • AEB7: Pre-1700 Literature Seminar
  • AEB9: Pre-1900 Literature Seminar

In addition to the General Curriculum, English Majors may also choose among 12 different Concentrations, including Creative Writing, Cinema & Media Studies, as well as concentrations focused on distinct historical periods, Genres, or Critical Approaches.


Making Appointments, Getting Advice

Undergraduate Chair: Professor Nancy Bentley

Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Becky S. Friedman

If you are interested in majoring or minoring in English -- or in simply taking a few good English courses -- you are welcome to meet with the English Undergraduate Chair or the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. Drop by their daily walk-in hours or make an appointment via email.

Students who have declared the Major and have questions about individual courses and requirements should consult the Requirements for the Major and meet with their English Faculty Advisor. The Undergraduate and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies can also address any questions or concerns about progress in the Major.