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Electives, Free and Otherwise

How many Electives Am I Allowed?

In total, you're allowed 7 courses beyond the Core. Some of these, of course, must be Advanced Seminars, and you must take at least one version of English 200, the Junior Seminar.  

How many entirely Free Electives Am I Allowed?

English majors need to take a total of 13 courses for the major. Six of these courses must be in the core; how many of the remaining 7 may be entirely free electives depends on what track of the major you choose, since different tracks require different numbers of seminars.

Within the Standard Curriculum, for example, at least four courses must be seminars. The English Majors emphasizing Creative Writing and Cinema Studies, however, each require six core courses and five seminars (since they effectively contain their own concentrations). How many Free Electives you will have left, therefore, depends entirely on your chosen track of the major, and on how many seminars you double count in the core.

For the Standard Curriculum, then, the formula is pretty simple. If you do not double-count any seminars in the core, then you need to take two Electives, because 6 core + 4 seminars + English 200 = 11 courses, leaving 2 entirely Free Electives to make a total of 13 courses.

But if you double-count one seminar in the core, then you can complete your core and seminar requirements in only 10 courses, leaving you with 3 Free Electives to make it up to 12 courses. And if you double-count two seminars, then you can take 4 Free Electives, and so on.

Because the requirements are different for Creative Writing and Cinema Studies, it's best to look to the specific requirements of your particular track of the major.

If this happens to make your eyes glaze over, don't worry. We've set up the Worksheets on Advisor-in-Touch so that you won't have to worry about it.

Can I count Courses Outside of English as Free Electives?

With the approval of your Faculty Advisor, you may count up to 2 courses outside of English towards the major. Courses in Linguistics and in Foreign Literatures not in English always count; in the case of Foreign Literatures, however, your courses must be 5th-semester proficiency or higher. Beyond these courses it will depend on whether you have chosen a Concentration. For example, a student who has chosen to concentrate in Medieval and Renaissance Literature may count a course in Renaissance Art History toward the English Major. Similarly, a Law and Literature concentrator may count certain Legal Studies courses, while a Literature, Journalism, and Print Culture concentrator may count a number of media and communications courses. To see which outside courses count in a given concentration, see the List of Concentrations.