Major Requirements

To access the latest official major requirement sheet for the current catalog year, please visit the College of Letters & Science website.  The major requirements below are provided with additional supplementary information pertinent to English majors.

The English major requires 56 units in English, at least 44 of which must be upper-division, distributed in the manner outlined below. In addition, students must complete the Foreign Language requirement.

Preparation for the Major

English 10: Introduction to Literary Study, lower division, 4 units

This is required for English majors and will also satisfy Writing Area A of the General Education Program requirement. (English 10AC, 10EM, and 10LC are also applicable to this area.)

English 15: Introduction to Shakespeare, lower division, 4 units

Students entering the major with upper-division standing may substitute English 105A or 105B for the English 15 requirement. Students electing this option may not apply their English 15 substitute toward the minimum 44 upper division units.

Elective lower division English course, lower division, 4 units (optional; excluding English 18)

Students may optionally elect to take one of their elective courses for the major as a lower division course. For example, English 38A, English 50, or English 65AA-ZZ would be considered lower division electives for the major. At most four units may count towards the lower division elective requirement.

Foreign Language Requirement

The ability to read a foreign literature in its original language gives valuable insights into the operations of the English language itself and into the difference between reading a translation and the original. There are two ways to satisfy the foreign language requirement for the English major: Option 1 or Option 2. Option 1 is the recommended way to fulfill this requirement for all majors.

Option 1 develops the ability to read in a foreign language at an advanced undergraduate level (as defined below). Students who intend graduate work in literature are well advised to take Option 1. In addition, election to Phi Beta Kappa requires a foreign language at an advanced level.

To fulfill Option 1, students can either complete the fifth quarter in any foreign language taught at UCSB or demonstrate equivalent ability at the prescribed level by taking a placement exam. (Consult the General Catalog and language departments for information on placement examinations; consult the English department undergraduate advisor about other means of satisying the requirement that may apply to a student's individual situation). Foreign languages other than those taught at UCSB may be considered by petition. Language classes taken in fulfillment of Option 1 may be taken P/NP through the fourth quarter, but the final quarter must be taken for a letter grade.

Option 2 complements the English major with the study of foreign literature in translation taught by those who are expert in the original language.

To fulfill Option 2, a student needs to complete the third quarter (or its equivalent in a placement exam) in any foreign language taught at UCSB; and also complete three upper-division foreign-literature-in-translation courses to be selected from a list available in the English department office. The third quarter of courses in a foreign language, as well as all three literature-in-translation courses, must be taken for a letter grade.

A list of all approved foreign literature in translation courses, as well as offerings identified for the upcoming quarter, can be obtained at the Engilsh Department office or via the following links:

Approved Literature in Translation Courses 2016-17

Fall 2016 Foreign Literature in Translation Courses

Winter 2017 Foreign Literature in Translation Courses

Spring 2017 Foreign Literature in Translation Courses

Summer 2017 Foreign Literature in Translation Courses

Fall 2017 Foreign Literature in Translation Courses

Upper Division Requirements in English

44-48 upper division units in English are required, as follows.

Four Courses Offering a Broad Overview of British and American Literature (16 units)

  1. English 101: English Literature from the Medieval period to 1650
  2. English 102: English and American Literature from 1650-1789
  3. English 103A: American Literature from 1789-1900 OR English 103B: British Literature from 1789-1900
  4. English 104A: American Literature from 1900-Present OR English 104B: British Literature from 1900-Present

English 197 - Upper Division Seminar (4 units)

This seminar is designed as a small class limited to fifteen students in which there will be opportunity for in-depth discussion and a more advanced level of scholarship. Because enrollment is strictly limited to fifteen per class, students may only take this seminar once, and it must be taken during the junior or senior year.  It is recommended that students be selective about their choice of 197 seminar, since each year will see many different topics and instructors.  The range of available 197 seminars each quarter is posted on the English Department website throughout the year.

Electives and Specializations (24-28 units)

Twenty-eight units of English electives are required, of which at least 24 must be upper division. 108PM, and 108AP may not apply. Upper division Comparative Literature courses taught by English department faculty may apply toward these electives.

The English Department encourages upper-division students with particular literary/critical interests to pursue them formally by selecting an area of Specialization. The English Department offers Literature and Culture of Information, Early Modern Studies, American Cultures in Global Contexts, Literature and Environment, Literature and Mind, Modern Literature and Critical Theory, and Medieval Literature specializations. To complete a specialization, students must take a minimum of four English department elective courses constellated around a specific area of study. For instance, a student interested in the interrelation between literature and digital technology might elect to pursue the Culture of Information Specialization. Or, a student interested in Renaissance and Eighteenth Century literature could study that subject within the Early Modern Studies Specialization. Or a student interested in how different aspects of American cultures interact in their regional, hemispheric, and global contexts could choose the American Cultures Specialization. The fundamental idea informing the Specializations is that students should be enabled to explore particular areas of interest through a disciplined itinerary of courses. In addition, each specialization will encourage the sense of a collaborative community of research by offering certain extra-curricular events—e.g., conferences or colloquia involving undergraduates, field trips to scholarly or other resources, etc.

Additionally, students are encouraged to develop their own particular Independent Specialization in consultation with a faculty advisor. Working together, the student and faculty advisor would tailor a Specialization from already established course offerings.