English Major Course Selection & Planning

The English department is aware that there are many constraints on a student's ability to plan and secure a coherent major, most especially when courses are available. However, planning in advance helps to make your undergraduate experience more successful, interesting, and hassle-free. In planning your major, try to keep in mind the following:

Sequencing of courses

In general, it is wise to complete required classes early on in your program. Classes specified as requirements mean that the department considers them to be fundamental to your major and therefore useful in providing you with important foundational material. You may want to take a course in literary or cultural theory early in your progress so you can apply it to your later course. Think, as well about taking courses that make a coherent and interesting quarter (and, ideally, year). That is, try to combine courses in a particular period of English literature with a course in history on the same period, with a course in art history on the same period, and/or with a course in another language (in translation or not) on the same period. For example, a course on Renaissance drama might be combined with a history course on the English Renaissance (or Italian, or French Renaissance), with a course on Renaissance painting, and/or a literature course on the Harlem Renaissance. Alternatively, try to take courses that vary historically but address similar questions, genres, styles. For example, a course on English romantic poetry might be paired with a course on revolutions (in history or political science), and/or with a class on feminist approaches to social change.

Balance in course selection

Where possible, give some thought to the kinds of course you are taking in a given quarter in terms of workload. In terms of courses within the major, you can assume that any course will be writing intensive, but different courses require different amounts and kinds of reading. When balancing English classes with classes outside your major, try not to take 4 reading/writing-intensive courses at once. Where possible, balance large lecture courses with smaller discussion classes. Think, too, about getting to know as wide a range of English professors as possible and as early on as possible. This helps you identify the kinds of professor with whom you might wish to study in a more concentrated fashion later on.

Below is a what a schedule of courses required for the English major might look like for a student who plans to graduate in four years. Other courses taken to satisfy General Education and University requirements would be taken in addition to these courses.







Foreign Language Quarter 4

English 10;
Foreign Language Quarter 5

English 15


English 101

English 102

English 103B

Lower Division English Elective


English 104B or

Upper Division English Elective

Upper Division English Elective toward Specialization

Upper Division English Elective toward Specialization


English 197

Upper Division English Elective

Upper Division English Elective toward Specialization

Upper Division English Elective toward Specialization