English Literature

What options do I have for a first English Literature course?

Swarthmore’s English Literature Department offers two different types of introductory courses. The first are First-Year Seminars.  Only first-year students are eligible to take these seminar, which are available in the fall and the spring. We strongly recommend our First-Year Seminars to all first-year students looking for their first Swarthmore English Literature course.  All First-Year Seminars in English Literature count as a Humanities W [Writing] course.  Due to high demand, we ask that students take only one English Literature First-Year course.  First-Year Seminars pay special attention to one or more of the following: close reading, historical context, secondary (i.e., theoretical or critical) reading, or a variety of genres. They also emphasize improving your analytic essay-writing skills.  See the online course catalog for further details.

We also offer English Literature Gateway Courses, which are normally somewhat larger than seminars. Gateway Courses are designed to be excellent first (or second) English literature courses for any student; there are no prerequisites and they are open to first-year students through seniors.  Gateway courses pay special attention to one or more of the following: close reading, historical context, secondary (i.e., theoretical or critical) reading, or genre. Students are welcome to take more than one Gateway Course.

 

Requirements to apply to the English major

A First-Year Seminar or Gateway Course from English, plus any other upper-level course numbered 10 or above (except 070A-070K). A Gateway Course is especially recommended for a student's first or second English Literature course.

Prerequisites for admission to an upper-division English Literature course 

Gateway Courses and Creative Writing courses (English 70A-70Z) do NOT have any prerequisites.  All other English Literature courses numbered 10 or higher have a simple prerequisite depending on your class:

First-Years and Sophomore class: a W [Writing] course from any Swarthmore department. If you have taken an English FYS you have met this prerequisite.

Juniors and Seniors: no prerequisites.*  We recommend but do not require that juniors and senior non-majors take a English Gateway Course before enrolling in other upper-division English Literature courses.  

*It is assumed that under the new College requirements all juniors and seniors will have taken at least one W course somewhere on campus.

Classes and seminars for students doing advanced work.  Some upper-division English Literature courses (and all Honors seminars) are advanced classes geared toward students who have done strong work in previous English Literature classes.  See our course descriptions.

Note: First-Year Seminars (English 008 and 009 A-Z) and English 070A-Z courses may NOT be counted as part of the English Literature distribution requirements for majors and minors.  See below for more details on distribution requirements for the English major and minor.

 

 

Required for entrance to major and minor: at least 2 units of credit in English, other than Creative Writing or Journalism.

Course Major

The work of a major consists of a minimum of nine units of credit in the department, including

  • English 096 Methods (optional for the class of 2017, required for the classes of 2018 and 2019)
  • English 099 Senior Majors’ Colloquium (beginning with the class of 2017 will be offered spring only senior years)
  • at least  two units in each of the following historical periods:
    • Medieval and Renaissance literature (Med/Ren)
    • 18th and 19th century literature (18th/19th c.)
    • 20th and 21st century in literature (20th/21st c.)

First Year Seminars (English 008 and 009A through Z) and Creative Writing courses count toward the major but not toward the historical requirements.

AP credits count toward the major but do not satisfy historical requirements.

Journalism classes and Engl 1F, G, etc. or C (Writing Pedagogy) DO NOT count as part of the unit requirements.

Course Minor

The work of a minor consists of a minimum of five units of literature credit in the department including at least one unit in two of the following historical periods:

  • Medieval and Renaissance literature (Med/Ren)
  • 18th and 19th century literature (18th/19th c.)
  • 20th and 21st century literature (20th/21st c.)

First Year Seminars (English 008 and 009A through Z) and Creative Writing courses count toward the minor but not toward the historical requirements.

AP credits count toward the minor but do not satisfy historical requirements.

Journalism classes and Engl 1F, G, etc. or C (Writing Pedagogy)  DO NOT count as part of the unit requirements.

Honors Major

Majors in English who seek a degree with Honors will, in the spring of their sophomore year, propose for external examination a program consisting of four fields: three in English and one in a minor.

The three preparations in the major (constituting six units of credit) must include seminars from at least two of the following historical periodsI:

  • Medieval and Renaissance literature (Med/Ren)
  • 18th and 19th century literature (18th/19th c.)
  • 20th and 21st century literature (20th/21st c.)

If approved by the Department, one preparation may be a thesis or creative writing project.

Students must also complete English 096 Methods (optional for class of 2017).

Honors majors, as part of their overall work in the department, must meet the general major requirement of 9 credits in English Literature, including at least two units of credit in each of the three historical periods above.  Double-credit seminars count as two credits toward a given historical field.

First Year Seminars (English 008 and 009A through Z) and Creative Writing courses count toward the minor but not toward the historical requirements.

AP credits count toward the minor but do not satisfy historical requirements.

Journalism classes and Engl 1F, G, etc. or C (Writing Pedagogy)  DO NOT count as part of the unit requirements.

Honors Minor 

Minors must do a single, two-credit preparation in the department, normally by means of a seminar (or under special circumstances, a creative writing project); the thesis option is only available to majors.

Minors are required to do a total of at least five units of work in English (including their Honors preparation), with at least one unit in two of the following:

  • Medieval and Renaissance in literature (Med/Ren)
  • 18th and 19th century in literature (18th/19th c.)
  • 20th and 21st century in literature (20th/21st c.)

First Year Seminars (English 008 and 009A through Z) and Creative Writing courses count toward the minor but not toward the historical requirements.

AP credits count toward the minor but do not satisfy historical requirements.

Journalism classes and Engl 1F, G, etc. or C (Writing Pedagogy)  DO NOT count as part of the unit requirements.

 

Additional Program Options

INTERDISCIPLINARY PROGRAMS: Students interested in pursuing Honors within a faculty-approved interdisciplinary major, program, or concentration that draws on advanced English courses or seminars should see the Chair for early help in planning their programs.

DOUBLE MAJORS:  Students may with the Department’s permission pursue a double major as part of either the Course or Honors program.  Double majors must fulfill all the major requirements in both departments.  For a double major in Honors, one of the majors is used as the Honors major and the other is often used as the Honors minor.  See Chair for further details.

SPECIAL MAJORS:  Designed by the student.  If English is the central department, a minimum of 5 credits is required, with at least one course in two of the three historical periods.  Please see above notes for further information.

SPECIAL MAJORS:  ENGLISH & EDUCATION: Must have 5-6 credits in English, including at least one course in two of the three historical periods.  Please consult with the Department of Educational Studies for more information.  Please see the above notes in addition.

EDUCATION CERTIFICATION:  Students being certified in English must complete all the requirements for an English Literature major.  Certification candidates are strongly advised to choose a balanced program from a variety of authors, genres and periods.  Please consult with the Department of Educational Studies for further information.

CREATIVE WRITING EMPHASIS:  9 credits are required, which must include 3 units of creative writing in addition to two credits in each of the three historical periods.  Students may apply for this after some work in creative writing has been completed.  Please see above notes for further information.