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Undergraduate Program in English

The English Major at Emory has three fundamental emphases: the study of literatures written in English (including literature of the Americas, the British Isles, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean); the development of critical skills in interpreting texts; and the cultivation of effective and elegant writing. By studying English, you will expand your understanding of your own and others' cultures and will gain practical linguistic skills that can serve you in a variety of professional and academic settings.

We offer coursework across virtually all traditional periods and genres of literary study, as well as in innovative areas such as digital humanities, applied literary research, and interdisciplinary fields such as literature and science, disability studies, and studies in race, gender, and sexuality. The Rose Library’s world-class archival holdings in fields including African American literature, Irish literature, and 20th-century poetry offer unrivaled opportunities for students to make new discoveries that will change the way we see our world.


The English major has flexible and individualized requirements. The only course required of all majors is English 205, Poetry. This course emphasizes critical reading and writing about poetic art and prepares students for work in more advanced courses. It is capped at 15-18 students.

Advanced courses (300-level) are capped at 25 students and seminars (400-level) at 12-15 students. Majors thus have the opportunity to get to know their professors and work closely with them. A description of undergraduate course offerings and schedules can be found here.


English is an excellent major for pre-professional students, but it is something more than a pre-professional program. It gives you a wider and deeper perspective on your education and your choices in life. English majors enjoy the beauty and creativity of great works of art and they ask tough questions about meaning and value.

The English major is thus an excellent gateway to a variety of professional careers and graduate programs. It provides foundational skills for areas as varied as business, law, journalism, medicine, teaching, public service, and, indeed, any other career that requires critical thinking and clear writing.

In an era of globalization in which information has become a crucial commodity, English majors enter the marketplace with a decided advantage. Emory's English major also prepares interested majors for graduate study in English.

Teaching and Research

Students who wish to dedicate their lives to teaching and research receive the training in literary history and analysis they need to pursue academic careers at leading institutions. Majors interested in pursuing graduate work may also apply to the 4+1 BA/MA program. Additional academic opportunities include Honors and summer study abroad at Oxford University.

Beyond the Classroom

The English Department at Emory encourages a sense of literary community that extends beyond the classroom. Poets, novelists, playwrights, and scholars come to campus every year to read their work and deliver lectures.

Campus Speakers

Recent visitors brought to Campus by the Program in Creative Writing have included a Nobel Prize Winner, ten Pulitzer Prize winners, four winners of the National Book Award, four winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award, two Tony Award winners, one Booker Prize winner and four Poet Laureates of the United States; Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, Rita Dove, and Mark Strand.

Other visitors have included Gwendolyn Brooks, Pearl Cleage, Athol Fugard, Jorie Graham, Ernest J. Gaines, David Henry Hwang, Mario Vargas Llosa, Salman Rushdie, and Ellen Bryan Voigt.

Photo: Poems, first edition by W.B. Yeats, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library.