English Literature Major
Students who choose to become literature majors enjoy reading, analyzing how meaning is made, sharing insights, and writing about their views. You will learn about yourself and others, become a more sophisticated reader and writer, and discover how the literature major develops skills for both employment and personal enrichment. Many of our students combine a literature major with a second major.
The literature major is built around several groups of courses. These stress the fundamental issues and questions of the discipline, provide a background in the historical development of American and British literature, and also provide opportunities to study in depth a particular author, genre, or topic. All literature courses include writing, but you may also choose to take a specific English writing course as an elective.
Ideally, you should complete Human Values in British and American Literature (220) and Introduction to Literary Scholarship (230) before enrolling in any of the "Cultural Context" courses (300's) or "In-depth" courses (400's). You may take these two introductory courses to the major in any order.
The content of English 380: Special Topics, 410: Individual Author, and 421: Traditions in Literary Genre varies from year to year. Students will receive advance notification of the areas to be covered.
The department suggests following the general sequence of courses given below for fulfilling course requirements.
- Take English 220 and 230 as soon as possible. These courses will introduce concepts in the study of literature and the practice of theory that instructors in later courses will assume you have had.
- Take three credits in the "Cultural Contexts" category next, which will give you further experience with specific genres and authors in their specific time, place and cultural position. Please note that the British Literature courses (326, 336, 346) are each offered only once every three semesters. If you are interested in a particular one of these courses, you should probably take it at your earliest opportunity.
- Build on what you learn in the 300-level courses by choosing two credits of "In-depth" study. These courses allow you to spend a longer time studying one author, genre, or theoretical approach with greater focus and analysis.
- Finish out your major in the spring of your senior year with the capstone. As part of a community of scholars, integrate and apply all that you have learned while producing an exciting research project.
- As you plan a semester schedule, keep in mind the amount of reading in each individual class and the total amount of reading to which you may be committing yourself.
Reap the full bounty of the English major by taking advantage of out-of-class opportunities:attend department-related lectures and readings, watch films and videos based on literature, English Department travel courses, socialize with fellow English students and faculty members. And of course, read voraciously.
Download the literature major checklist here.