Course Majors and Minors

Note: For important information about which courses do or do not count toward the historical or general requirements for the major or minor, refer to Important things to know regarding credits toward an English Literature major or minor.

Course Major

All English Literature majors must complete a minimum of 9 credits in the department, including

  • at least one credit 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 literature (20th/21st c.)
  • English 096 Methods
  • English 099 Senior Course Majors’ Colloquium
    As a culmination of the course major, all seniors take English 099, which offers a structured and supportive environment for students writing their senior essays. The course features a mix of literature, criticism, theory, and methodology, plus guest visits and opportunities for students to discuss central issues in the field of literary and cultural history in preparation for their research and writing.

Under special circumstances, a course major may elect to write a longer research thesis. For more information, see the description for ENGL 098.

Based on their own interests and goals, all course majors are expected to identify a concentration of at least three English literature credits within the major . Students define this concentration, but are encouraged to discuss their course choices with a faculty member in the department. Sample concentration topics: one of the three historical periods; American, African-American, or Asian-American literature; theory; digital humanities; creative writing; or a particular genre, such as fiction or poetry. Students define their potential concentration within the major as part of their sophomore plan, but may modify their plan as needed during junior or senior year.

Course Minor

All English Literature minors must complete a minimum of 5 credits in the department, including at least one credit 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.)


Important things to know regarding credits toward an English Literature major or minor
  • First Year Seminars (English 008 and 009A – 009Z), Writing ('W') courses, and Creative Writing courses count toward the major or minor but do not fulfill historical requirements.

  • Academic Writing courses (ENGL 1F, G, etc. or C, Writing Pedagogy) and Journalism classes do not count towards the major or minor.

  • AP credit in English Literature and Composition, with a score of four or five counts toward the major or minor, but it does not satisfy a historical requirement. 

  • AP credit in English Language and Composition does not count toward the major or minor.