Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Concentrations and Foci

Many options exist within the English major for students, from the Standard Major to more specialized versions, which are called concentrations. Below we list the available concentrations in the major; in addition, you'll also find a list of foci, or new approaches within literary study that our faculty are presently cultivating.  

Any time before graduation, students doing the Standard English Major may add one of the following concentrations. English concentrations consist of four courses (with the exception of the Historical Concentration, which has its own worksheet). 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: 2 at the intermediate and 2 at the advanced level (see the concentration worksheet for precise requirements).


  • Create a new worksheet in Penn-in-Touch. Add an English major and choose your concentration. (You also can just delete your existing major in your current worksheet and then add the new one if you wish).
  • Meet with your Faculty Advisor and fill in the bubbles on your worksheet. Have your Faculty Advisor change the status of your new worksheet over to "Official."
  • Send an e-mail to Loretta Williams. Explain that you have met with your advisor, and request that she change your major designation to include the Concentration.

Current concentrations include:



Since the study of English goes anywhere the language has gone or is likely to go, our own faculty are developing new interests, or foci, which take the form of new courses and even new concentrations. We list some of these foci below: