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Many options exist within the English major. We offer two main tracks: our General English Major and the Creative Writing concentration. Within the General Major structure, you can explore a series of concentrations devoted to historical period, genre, or critical approach -- you can discuss a concentration with your advisor. 

Concentrations that follow the General Major structure consist of four courses. They do not increase the total number of courses for the major; students instead build the concentration from courses already taken to fulfill the major. A student choosing a concentration in Poetry and Poetics, for example, would still complete the major in the same number of courses. On the way, the student would need to take four poetry courses: usually two at the intermediate (ENGL 1000-1999) and two at the advanced level (0051; 0500-0599; 0700-0799; 2000-2999; 4000-4998; 5000-5999) -- but exceptions can be made if the course holds the relevant concentration attribute.


First, we recommend you write to your Major advisor (or to the Undergraduate Chair or the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies) to discuss why you'd like to add or switch your concentration. Then, once you are ready, you must initiate the process in Path@Penn by using the “Declare/Update Field of Study” form:

  • Go to the Path Forms page:
  • Click on the "Declare/Update Field of Study" link. A pop-out page should bring you to a page with clear Instructions to follow.
  • Select the appropriate request: either "Add an additional Major/Concentration or Minor" or, if you are switching between concentrations, then select "Change a Major/Concentration or Minor" and complete the form. English majors can only complete one concentration. (the regualr or standard concentration is listed as "General").
  • In the Comment bubble, briefly explain the rationale behind your selection.

Once you complete the form it will be sent to the department for approval and then to the College Office to update your official profile.