English and American Literature (BA)

Department Website

Program Description

The study of English and American literature provides the kind of training that is central to a liberal arts education and useful in all professions. By learning to read critically and write with analytical precision, students who major in English prepare themselves to participate actively in their culture while forging a lifelong, enriching relationship with literature.

The department offers two tracks in the major: the literature track and the creative writing track. Students take courses in a variety of historical periods as well as in a variety of topics and areas (such as literary history, critical theory, and literary culture). The major also provides opportunities for specialized research through seminars, independent study, and an honors program that culminates in the writing of a scholarly thesis during the senior year. In the major’s creative writing track, seniors can produce a special creative project in poetry, prose, or a hybrid genre. The department also offers its majors and minors a credit-bearing internship seminar for placements at magazines, publishers, literary agencies, and other organizations.

Honors Program

The requirements for graduating with honors in the major in English consist of:

  • A 3.65 GPA, both overall and in the major.
  • A senior capstone seminar chosen from ENGL-UA 950-955, ENGL-UA 960-965, and ENGL-UA 970-976 (which serves as a prerequisite to both the Honors Thesis and Colloquium)
  • Enrollment for two consecutive terms in ENGL-UA 925 Senior Honors Thesis and completion of a thesis (on a topic of the student’s choice) under the direction of departmental faculty.
  • Concurrently with ENGL-UA 925: enrollment for two consecutive terms in the Senior Honors Colloquium for thesis writers (ENGL-UA 926)

December graduates begin the concurrent ENGL-UA 925 Senior Honors Thesis and ENGL-UA 926 Senior Honors Colloquium sequences in the spring term and complete them in the fall; May graduates begin the sequences in the fall and complete them in the spring. Applications and deadlines are available on the department’s undergraduate website and at the department offices.


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