Making the Most of the English Major

So you're a new English major. Welcome to the department! Here's how to make the most of your major:

  • Subscribe to the English Department Listserv.
  • See the Undergraduate Adviser for graduation information, progress checks, to enroll in the department Honors Program, for information about Independent studies, to find out about working as a Research Assistant in the department, to discuss problems with grades or coursework, to discuss graduate school, to plan English coursework, or to find out about internships.
  • Keep copies of all official documentation from UCSB, including new student profiles, petitions etc.
  • Keep all the papers you get back from your professors/instructors. Use the written comments as guidelines for future papers. E.g. did someone write, "Where is your thesis?" beside your introductory paragraph? Make it crystal clear next time. You should always thoroughly review all written comments.
  • Go and see your professors/instructors during their office hours, even if it is just to say "Hi". They like to know who is in their classrooms and it will be important when you need to ask for letters of recommendation. Do not worry if you don't know what to say because (trust us!) they will be able to keep the conversation going. See department website for faculty and graduate student office hours and location.
  • Consider a specialization. Check out the department website or see the Undergraduate Adviser to find out what classes you need to take in order to graduate with a degree in English with a specialization in Early Modern Studies, American Cultures, Literature and the Culture of Information, Literature and the Environment, or Literature and the Mind.
  • Get a progress check with the College of Letters and Science (Cheadle Hall, Room 1117) to make sure you have taken, and are planning to take, the right classes. The College of Letters and Science checks general education and unit requirements and it is important to make sure your records are correct. E.g. did you get credit for that class you took in the summer? Was that grade-change recorded?  Will you have enough upper-division units to graduate?
  • Think you have what it takes to be an honors student? If you have completed at least two quarters of your Junior year with a minimum GPA of 3.5 (overall and/or in the major) and would like to work towards an Honors degree in English, see the Undergraduate Adviser. Follow link for information about the College of Letters and Science Honors program.
  • If you think you might want to go to graduate school, start planning in your junior year. Begin researching where you want to go and choosing classes that give you a depth of knowledge in an area. Study for the GRE or other graduate school exams and go and see the Undergraduate Adviser for assistance.
  • Before the Fall quarter of your senior year, plan when you will take your senior seminar course, English 197, because professors usually only teach one of these courses each year. Therefore, if there is a professor with whom you particularly want to work with, find out which quarter he or she will be offering the seminar. See the course offerings page linked from the top menu of the Department website.