Department of Languages and Literature

The Major and Minor in English Language & Literature

Charles DickensDesigned to develop students’ appreciation and understanding of English and American literature, as well as writings of other nations in translation, the program in English Language & Literature offers introductory and advanced study of significant writers, periods, genres, literary techniques and the structure of language. Coursework in the major follows a progression that begins with Introduction to Literary Analysis (LITR 100) and culminates in the Senior Seminar (LITR 399), in which students complete a major research project. With the guidance of faculty advisors, students build upon these foundational courses by selecting a program of classes that provide exposure to a wide range of periods, authors, genres, and critical methodologies. Majors and minors alike develop their analytical abilities, strengthen their oral and written communication skills, and gain a heightened awareness of the literary legacy of diverse cultures and traditions.

An undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature prepares students to succeed in graduate or professional school; to teach at the elementary or secondary level; to enter the world of business, which highly values critical-thinking and communications skills; and to work effectively in the fields of publishing, writing, and electronic and print media. Combining the literature major with another major, such as education, biology, or communications, can make students stronger applicants for graduate or professional school and give them a leg up in a competitive job market.

Major Requirements

English Language and Literature majors must complete at least 39 hours within the program, with a grade of "C" or better, including the following: 

    • LITR 100 (Introduction to Literary Analysis) (3 hours)
    • three courses designated pre-1800 by the Department (9 hours)
    • three courses designated post-1800 by the Department (9 hours)
    • one "diversity" LITR course, as designated by the Department (3 hours)
    • LITR 399 (Senior Seminar) (3 hours)

Of the 39 credit hours required to complete the major, at least 15 credit hours must be taken at the 300 level.

English Language and Literature majors are also required to demonstrate competency in a second language by completion of at least one language course at the 202 level or by successful completion of a proficiency examination.

Young woman reading

Minor Requirements

The minor in English Language & Literature consists of at least 21 hours of courses with a grade of "C" or better, including the following:

    • LITR 100 (Introduction to Literary Analysis) (3 hours)
    • one course from the following: LITR 255, LITR 256, LITR 257, LITR 258 (3 hours)
    • two courses at the 300 level (6 hours)

Teaching Certification

Students desiring to be certified to teach English at the secondary level (grades 6-12) are to declare themselves as English Language & Literature majors and Education minors and register with the Education program as teaching certificate candidates. Students must complete the requirements for a major in English Language & Literature as well as the requirements of the Teacher Certification Program in Secondary Education, which includes an Education minor.

Advising is a joint responsibility of the Literature and Education programs. Students who desire a teaching minor in English should consult with the Education program to help plan their program of studies for certification.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours

– John Locke