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Major in English


(Applies to all students who have declared their major in Fall 2022 or after; students who have previously declared their major may choose to follow either these new requirements or the old ones.)

The English Major at Emory reflects the long history and wide range of global English literatures. We value a variety of approaches to the study of English, and our major creates a framework within which multiple perspectives can flourish. Literature in all its profusion both bears witness to the past and looks forward to the future. Through its study we revisit the familiar and encounter the unfamiliar in ways that may challenge and provoke or solace and delight.

All students must take ten courses and a minimum of 36 credit hours in English for a letter grade. At least five of these courses must be taken at the 300- or 400-level. Up to two courses taken in Creative Writing (ENGCW) and/or the Writing Program (ENGRD) may count toward the English major.

Coursework must fulfill the following:

[Note: with the exception of ENG 205, individual courses may fulfill up to two requirements. See “Notes” below for examples.]

CLOSE READING AND LITERARY FORM

  • One section of English 205: Poetry

Poetry exists in all cultures, in forms as varied as song lyrics, epic narratives, sonnets and spoken word.  But how do we recognize it when we see or hear it?  And what tools of interpretation do we need in order to understand its creation and potential meanings?  Studying the internal dynamics of poetry can help us learn to interpret texts of all kinds with an especially careful eye and ear.

LITERARY AND CULTURAL HISTORIES

  • One course in literature/culture before 1700
  • One course in literature/culture between 1700-1900
  • One course in literature/culture of the 20th and/or 21st centuries

Literary works and other cultural artifacts are always situated in multiple dimensions of time: the time of an author’s lived experience, the time of a work’s composition, and the time of readers’ encounters with it.  And each work both creates and responds to its own predecessors: those earlier works with which it conducts an imaginary conversation.   Studying these historical dimensions of literature can deepen our appreciation for particular standpoints in time and place, including our own.

THEORIES AND METHODS

  • One course focusing on theories/methods of research, interpretation, and analysis (e.g., ENG 368, 370, 384, 385, 483, or 485, or special topics course featuring theories/methods)

Human beings are always interpreting their experiences, and nowhere is the act of interpretation more necessary and complex than in an encounter with a book, artwork, or cultural phenomenon.  But what makes an interpretation convincing, original, and illuminating?  Studying methods of analysis and research can open up interpretive possibilities that lead us into broader conversations about how we understand particular texts and the worlds they represent.

DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES

  • One course focused on race, ethnicity, and/or postcolonial/decolonial perspectives in literary and cultural study. Any course in English that fulfills the GER requirement in Race/Ethnicity will fulfill this requirement.
  • One course focusing on historically marginalized writers, cultures, or social perspectives: for example, courses on gender, sexuality, disability, environmental concerns, and/or class. A second course focusing on race, ethnicity, and/or postcolonial/decolonial perspectives could potentially fulfill this requirement, if the course substantially foregrounds and centers a second form of historical marginalization: for example, a course on Black women writers or a course on literary representations of the environmental impact of empire-building and colonial exploitation. 

Literature connects people across distant times and places, and it draws readers emotionally into circumstances unlike their own.  Yet English as a discipline has historically marginalized many important perspectives by reinforcing certain forms of privilege and power: traditions associated, for example, with European lineage, colonialism, the construction of whiteness, patriarchal and heteronormative power, and human dominion over other living things.  Reading writers whose histories and perspectives call those hierarchies into question provides a more capacious and diverse view of literary and cultural history. Studying these diverse perspectives can show how literature responds to areas of social concern, how it participates in both the construction and the critique of social identities, and how it can open up new imaginative and cultural pathways.   Courses fulfilling this requirement will be listed before each semester’s registration.

ELECTIVES
  • Three additional courses originating in English or cross-listed in English, with course selection guided by the student’s interests

As you select your remaining courses for the English major, we encourage you to follow your curiosity. Deepen your engagement with writers, texts, and traditions that have already excited you, and branch out into new territory in order to challenge and broaden your literary and cultural awareness.

NOTES

  • Individual courses (with the exception of ENG 205) may fulfill up to two requirements. For example, a course on Early African American literature would count in the pre-1900 literature category and in the “Diverse Perspectives” category; a section of ENG 385 focusing on works from the Romantic period would count in both the 1700-1900 category and in the “Theories and Methods” category.
  • 300- and 400-level courses are usually more focused on a particular subject, period, genre, or area of study than 200-level courses, and they frequently include exposure to critical and/or theoretical methods of analysis. Unless otherwise noted, there are no pre-requisites for enrollment. We encourage those majoring or minoring in English to explore such courses early, and we welcome all other students who are interested. If you have any questions about your readiness to take a particular course, please contact the instructor.
  • Students must maintain at least a 2.0 senior year GPA for all work in the senior year combined and a 1.9 cumulative GPA (students who transferred to Emory College need to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA).
  • Important: No courses at the 100-level may be counted for the major. ENGRD 223 (Rhetorical Grammar) and ENG 496R (Internship in English) also do NOT count for the major.

Old Requirements

All students except those in the 4+1 Bachelor's/Master's Program must take ten courses and a minimum of 36 credit hours in English for a letter grade. These courses must incorporate the following plan:

  • English 205
  • Four English courses in an area of concentration developed by the student with guidance from a faculty advisor. The concentration should include at least two 300- or 400-level English courses
  • Five electives

Included in these ten courses must be four courses other than ENG 205 that meet the following distribution requirements:

  • One course in British literature before 1660
  • One course in post-1660 British, Irish or other non-American Anglophone literature
  • One course in American literature
  • One course having a theoretical or interdisciplinary component

Two of the four courses satisfying these distribution requirements must be at the 300 or 400 level.

Up to two courses taken in Creative Writing (ENGCW) and/or the Writing Program (ENGRD) may count toward the English major.

Students must maintain at least a 2.0 senior year GPA for all work in the senior year combined and a 1.9 cumulative GPA (students who transferred to Emory College need to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA)

Important: No courses at the 100-level may be counted for the major. ENG 223 (Rhetorical Grammar) and ENG 496R (Internship in English) also do NOT count for the major.

Students in the 4+1 Bachelor's/Master's Program are subject to the above requirements except such students may count up to four graduate seminars toward their ten-course requirement. Two of these graduate seminars may be taken pass/fail and any may be counted toward the area of concentration. 

Ordinarily, a maximum of eight credit hours (two courses) earned off-campus may be applied toward the major and at least two of the courses included within an area of concentration must be taken at Emory University. Under extraordinary circumstances, the Director of Undergraduate Studies may approve petitions for exceptions to this rule.


Photo: Little magazines edited by Ted Berrigan, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library.