Dec 08, 2023  
Catalogue 2023-2024 
Catalogue 2023-2024

English Major

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Required Units

Total number of units required for major, excluding any required Intensive(s): 10

Required Intensive units, if any: 1

Total units required: 11

Distributional Content Area Units Required

  • One unit of literature written before 1800 at the 200- or 300-level
  • One unit of literature written before 1900 at the 200- or 300-level
  • Alternatively, students may take two units of coursework in literature written before 1800 to satisfy the historical requirement
  • One unit that focuses on race, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexuality at the 200- or 300-level 

Note: Consult the departmental web page for a guide to which courses satisfy historical requirements. Intensives are ungraded and may not be used to satisfy historical and breadth requirements.


  • Three graded units at the 300 level with at least one seminar taken during senior year
  • A total of 10 graded units, inclusive of required classes


One unit of intensives


Pathways are designed to articulate coherent plans of study that build on a foundation in introductory and intermediate courses to greater depth and complexity in advanced courses. Students are advised to take the courses in sequence, beginning with ENGL 101  and either ENGL 105  or ENGL 170 , moving on to 200-level courses, and concluding with 300-level seminars. Intensives may be taken at any point. Each pathway offers a number of courses from which the students must elect at least six, including ENGL 101  and/or ENGL 105  or ENGL 170 . Only two units of 100-level work will be counted toward your major. Intensives may be substituted for courses where appropriate.

Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity

Though grounded in lived experience, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity sustain themselves by powerful acts of imagination–beliefs regarding the self and its relation to others–and thus constitute a significant province of literary studies. This pathway explores literatures that interrogate identity, explore its social function and value, and contemplate its undoing and re-making. Courses examine common tropes like noble savages, tragic mulattoes, transracial adoptees, and terrorist threats and particularly track debates about ethnic traditions in English writing.

Gender, Sexuality, and the Body

Gender, Sexuality, and the Body offers students a powerful lens through which to study literature. Embedded in all social, cultural, and political relationships, gender and sexuality are key categories of analysis across historical periods, national boundaries, and literary traditions. Students choosing the Gender, Sexuality, and the Body pathway can take courses that range historically from the medieval period through postmodernism, and that feature a variety of genres and critical approaches (e.g., historical, biographical, psychoanalytical). The Gender, Sexuality, and the Body pathway challenges gender and sexual norms often upheld as “natural,” introducing students to the crucial insights of feminist, queer, and transgender studies, and asking students to reflect upon the way that gender, sexuality, and the body intersect with categories of power such as race, class, nation, religion, and ability. 

Literary Geographies

Every literary work presupposes a geography: not only a physical space within which it was conceived (a landscape, a horizon, a city, a nation state, a site of arrival, occupation, bondage, or exile), but also a space it imagines (a heaven or hell, a fictional elsewhere, a regionalized immersion, a world in miniature, a wasteland or homeland). Framing literary analysis in terms of spatial systems and metaphors allows us to cluster and compare texts in a synchronic fashion without losing sight of the historical forces that shaped human geographies in the first place. This track invites various scales and vectors of geographic organization: environmental, global, transnational, settler-colonial, post-colonial, territorial, archipelagic, regional, and urban, including spaces of myth and allegory, quest and pilgrimage, voyage and travel, diaspora and migration, utopia and dystopia.

British and American Literary History

British and American Literary History offers a historicist rather than great books approach to two national literatures. Organized chronologically and presented comparatively, this concentration facilitates an understanding of the process of canonization, the gradual assimilation of extraterritorial traditions, and how culture contributes to the formation of national identity.

Requirements: 2 units before 1800, 1 before 1900, and a REGS unit.  

Creative Writing and Literary Forms

This track supplements required creative writing classes with a selection of non-creative writing courses that foreground considerations of craft and form. Students may pick from the following list.

At least three literary courses: 1 before 1800, 1 before 1900, and a REGS unit.

Correlates in English

English offers five correlates modeled on the pathways. Students electing correlates are obliged to take six classes from the proffered lists, including one-300 level seminar, but they do not have to fill any historical or breadth requirements. In addition, students undertaking a correlate in Creative Writing and Literary Forms are required to take two literature-based classes at either the 200 or 300 level.

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