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Program Requirements

Prerequisite to the major: Students who wish to major in English must elect as a prerequisite English 298, Introduction to Literary Studies. English 298 does not count toward the 30 English major credits.

English 298 introduces students to the discipline of literary study. There are three key learning objectives of this course:

  1. Develop an understanding of foundational practices of interpretation, including the practice of “close reading” (that is, analysis focused on how words and other verbal cues build specific and nuanced meaning in a text), a facility in reading across a variety of genres (such as, for example, fiction, poetry, graphic novel, film), and an ability to use a range of key analytical categories (such as, for example, form, audience, media/mediation, metaphor).
  2. Become aware of distinct scholarly methods and critical approaches used in literary study and become attentive to the way that they yield different interpretations. This class will help you understand how an interpretation emerges from choices about method or approach, and how a single text can sustain many interpretations depending on those choices.
  3. Develop your abilities both to write and to speak about literature, as well as develop your skills as a writer in general. Complex literary texts offer a rich and challenging site for honing techniques of explanation, persuasion, and reasoning. The capacity of literature to sustain multiple interpretations also makes it an ideal forum for the collaborative intellectual project of class discussion and for sharpening your skills in oral self-presentation. Interpersonal communication, debate, and consensus-building are essential skills far beyond the university classroom. Important writing and speaking skills you will practice include:
    • how to develop a question or topic about a literary text that will lead to a strong argument
    • how to cast an interpretation as an argument
    • how to use textual evidence and literary analysis effectively 
    • how to articulate the stakes of your argument to your audience
    • how to present your ideas orally and respond to ideas presented by others. 

 Students in the General Program must successfully complete 30 credits in post-English 298 coursework. These courses must include at a minimum:

  • Three courses on literature written primarily before 1900, at least one of which must be on literature written primarily before 1830, and at least one of which must be on literature written primarily before 1642 (students are urged to elect a course in Shakespeare, such as English 367)
  • One course in American literature
  • One course of Poetry
  • One course designated Identity and Difference
    Identity and Difference courses: "These courses ensure that English majors will study literary, rhetorical, and cultural productions originating outside of dominant social groups and formations. Focusing on matters of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, gender, sexuality, and disability, “Identity and Difference” courses raise questions important to a diverse and democratic society about representation, publicity, canonicity, inclusivity, separatism, pluralism, dissent and political struggle."


  • English Majors may count two creative/expository writing courses toward the major.  These courses include WRITING 300, (all Secondary Education students must take WRITING 300 for their composition requirement) English 323, 324, 325, 327, 328, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428 or any transferred writing course.
  • Two, 200-level courses may be used toward elective credits.  200-level classes will not count toward any of the core major requirements.  Approved courses are: 201, 203, 215, 216, 221, 230, 232, 235, 240, 242, 245, 250, 258, 260, 267, 270, 274, 275,280, 282, 285, 290, 292, or 293.

Click here for a complete listing of courses fulfilling the major requirements


Graduation Procedures

English majors and minors preparing to graduate need to have a release completed by an English department advisor. Departmental advisors will confirm that students have met all of the major/minor requirements for graduation.  Students who are double-majors or who have departmental minors will also need to obtain a release from each department in which they are also majoring and/or minoring.

Students must also take the step of officially applying to graduate. This is done using the Student Center in Wolverine Access and officially indicates to the college that a student is planning to graduate.

Students are also encouraged to meet with their LSA (or other college advisor) to confirm that they have met the degree requirements for their specific school or college.