Majors and Minors

Department Information

English Program Major and Minor Requirements

Written Declaration of Focus for Majors: Literature and Writing

Upon declaration and acceptance into the English major, either with a concentration in Literature or Writing, a student begins to work closely with her or his advisor to define an area of Focus that connects the field of English studies with courses in other disciplines, whether taken to fulfill General Education requirements, a minor or second major, or as elective courses. Within one semester of acceptance into the major, the student must submit to the Department a written Declaration of Focus defining a field of inquiry structured around Literature and/or Writing and no fewer than three courses outside the English department, as well as the most relevant ENG courses.

The Declaration of Focus statement is a preliminary articulation of the student’s understanding of how ENG courses and the named other courses cohere in a field of emphasis, to develop the professional and intellectual goals the student establishes for her/his education. In consultation with the advisor, the statement of focus is regularly reviewed and may be revised to accommodate shifts of emphasis in the student’s curricular choices. Possible foci are almost infinite in number, and might develop (for example) around questions of language, translation, visual culture, gender, race, class, identity politics, representation, cultural or regional studies, material culture, quantitative analysis in the humanities, new media and digital humanisms, journalism and media, SLIS, literacies in English, or other themes of the student’s choosing. Courses relating to the Focus need not all come from the same program or department, but they must form a coherent group. Courses with the ENG rubric will not count as courses outside the major. An updated focus statement and a reflection on the success and evolution of the collateral focus must be included in the English Portfolio, which is also signed by the advisor and submitted to the Department in order to complete a major in English.

Statement of Portfolio Requirements*

Minimum required writing in the Portfolio [note: exceptions and substitutions to these requirements can be made by permission of your instructor in ENG 485]:

  1. Your Declaration of Focus statement, as written shortly after you were admitted into the major, or as revised since then.
  2. An essay from ENG 110 that you feel represents your most substantial achievement in that course.
  3. At least one piece of writing from ENG 124 that you feel represents your best work in that course.
  4. A research paper from an ENG course. This essay must be at least six pages long, demonstrate mastery of research and MLA documentation methods, and make use of at least four scholarly secondary sources. Choose an essay that best demonstrates your ability to engage with secondary critical sources, to situate a text within its historical, literary, and/or cultural context, and that is well-written.
  5. Between one and three other self-selected pieces of writing (creative or academic scholarly) that you feel represent your best work.
  6. The reflective essay assigned early in ENG 485, Seminar in English, on your major and your interdisciplinary Focus.
  7. Your major research, writing, or creative project from ENG 485.

*Students who were admitted to the major prior to 2014 should speak with their advisors to clarify portfolio requirements.