Guide to the English Literature Major

Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, the following changes have been made to the structure of the English Literature Major: the course in Literary Theory and Criticism and the two Related Courses have been eliminated. A new course that each English Literature Major is required to take is ENGLISH 397, a Research Seminar. In addition, English Literature Majors will be required to complete one course in Transnationalism and Textual Circulation and one course in Identities, Communities, and Social Practice. Finally, courses previously covering material pre-1798 and post-1798 have been altered to cover material pre-1830 and post-1830.

We are also very excited about two new categories of courses that all of our majors will have an opportunity to experience first-hand. Every Literature major will need to take one course in Transnationalism and Textual Circulation (TTC) that takes our narratives about American and British literary traditions in new directions. A major can meet this requirement in three ways: (1) a course that focuses on Anglophone (English-language) literature written outside the US or Britain for instance, in the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Rim nations, Ireland, or the Commonwealth nations; (2) a course that reads works not originally written in English, and that explores these writings in relation to their engagement with British or US literatures and cultures; (3) a course that emphasizes the movement of texts and peoples across national borders. Courses that fulfill the TTC requirement will always be clearly identified in English Notes, the undergraduate course listing, which you can find here.

All majors will also need to take one course to meet the new Identities, Communities, and Social Practice (ICSP) requirement. These courses ensure that all of our majors graduate with an understanding about the vast array of writings that have their origins outside dominant social groups and hierarchies. After all, such writings raise important questions about canonization, representation, and the inclusivity and viability of the nation as the organizing structure for thinking about literature. Courses meeting this requirement include topics in African American or Afro-British, Asian American, or US Latina/o literatures, sexuality/gender and its representation in literary discourses, disability studies, and green/eco-criticism. Once again, courses that fulfill the ICSP requirements will be listed in English Notes.

  • Major Courses: We encourage students to take the required courses for the major (English 210-1,2 or 270-1,2 and English 298) as early as possible.
    1. Complete either 210-1,2 (British Literary Traditions) or 270-1,2 (American Literary Traditions)
    2. English 298
    3. At least ten courses must be at the 300-level
    4. One additional course at either the 200- or 300-level
    5. At least nine must be English Department courses, literature courses offered by the African American Studies Department, or courses taught by members of the English Department through other departments or programs and that deal substantially with literary works originally written in English (not in translation).
    6. Three must deal substantially with texts written before 1830, and three must cover texts written after 1830.
    7. One must be a Research Seminar ENGLISH 397), in which majors will participate during their junior or senior year.
    8. At least one class must be in Identities, Communities, and Social Practice (ICSP).
    9. At lease one course in Transnationalism and Textual Circulation (TTC).
    10. At least one class must be in American literature.

  • Related Courses: This requirement has been eliminated

Declaring an English Literature Major

Effective Fall 2011, there are no prerequisite courses for declaring the major in English Literature.  As soon as you know that you want to major in English, and whether or not you have taken any English courses, see Dave Kuzel in University Hall Room 215 to complete your declaration form. 

After completing the Declaration of Major form (available in the Department Office, UH 215), take it to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Prof. Katharine Breen, UH 419) during stipulated office hours for approval.  Once your Declaration form has been signed, you must first return part of it to the Department Office (after which you will be added to the English listserv), and then take the remainder to the Office of Studies at 1922 Sheridan Road.


Pre-registration occurs during the week prior to Advanced Registration each quarter. During this time, all English majors can register for up to two English courses. Please note however that if you are a double major, or have a minor in another program, you are still limited to a maximum of two courses during pre-registration, regardless of how many departments. Appointment times are based on your year and social security number, with seniors beginning on Monday morning.  The Registrar's website will have the specific schedule of times.


Each quarter, all majors should meet with one of the designated English faculty advisors to plan their schedule and to address any other concerns the student may have. These advisors will hold extended office hours during Advising Week (the week prior to pre-registration). One calendar year prior to your anticipated date of graduation, you must have your Petition to Graduate and Major Worksheet signed by one of the English faculty advisors.

List of Current Literature Advisors

Back to Major in Literature

Upcoming Event

EMC Closing Reception
June 2, 20155:00 PM - 7:00 PM

November 18, 2014