3.1. The Major

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, and are current as of 2011-12.

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 foriegn language requirement.

3.2. Preparation for the Major

3.2.1.  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.)

3.2.2. 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.

3.2.3. 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.

3.3. Upper Division Requirements in English

Forty-eight units in English are required, as follows.

3.3.1. 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

3.3.2. 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, do not wait until the last quarters of your senior year to enroll.

3.3.3. Electives and Specializations (28 units)

Twenty-eight units of English electives are required of which at least 24 must be upper division.  Four may be lower division. English 10, 108, 108T and 117E 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 Creative Writing, 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.

3.4. Planning Your English Major

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 104A 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