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The English Major

Most new Majors will pursue our General English Curriculum, designed to provide students with considerable flexibility while introducing them to a range of literary periods, genres, and national literatures.

Majors adopting the General Curriculum have the option of adding a different Concentration at any time. Rather than increasing the total number of courses required, students build the Concentration from courses already taken to fulfill the Major. 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, Latinx, Caribbean, South African, or other literatures in English).

The General English curriculum is intentionally of flexible design, consisting of 13 courses distributed as follows:

  • The Core: six courses which form the foundation of the English Major
  • The Junior Research Seminar: a seminar designed to develop research methods and skills, offered in 6-12 different versions each year (with the course number range ENGL 4950-4998)
  • Advanced Seminars: four courses which offer in-depth analyses and explorations led by faculty in their active research and writing areas; for the General Curriculum, one of these Seminars must be focused on Literature before 1700, and one on Literature before 1900
  • Electives: courses which give students the flexibility to pursue their unique interests

Note that the Creative Writing and Cinema & Media Studies Concentrations have distinct sets of requirements.