Six of the courses you'll take as a major will constitute the "core" of your study of English. Most majors begin by taking a few core courses before mixing in more advanced seminars. Doing so is a good way to find out whether you wish to do advanced work within a specific historical period or kind of literature.
The core consists of six distributional sectors, as follows:
- Sector 1: Theory and/or Poetics (AETP), because we want all majors to take at least one course in those essentials of literary study, critical theory, and poetry and poetics.
- Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora (AEDD), because we want all English majors to understand the great diversity of literary experience: linguistic, ethnic, gendered, geographical, socioeconomic, historical, sexual. The sector thus encompasses a wide range of courses, including those on the history of the English language and on its many variant forms, on ethnic and diasporic literatures, on Anglo-Saxon and medieval cultures, and on gender and sexuality.
- Sector 3: Medieval/Renaissance (AEMR), for early historical coverage of the amazingly rich body of writing that constitutes medieval and renaissance literature and culture.
- Sector 4: Literature of the long 18th century (1660–1830) (AE18), to engage with this critical age of enlightenment, rebellion, and revolution.
- Sector 5: 19th Century Literature (AE19), to insure coverage of this essential century of social reform, literacy, political conflict, and popular culture.
- Sector 6: 20th Century and Contemporary (AE20), including cinema, television, and newer digital and mass media, to follow the historical sweep of literature in English through the recent past and down to the present day.