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Recommended academic plan for English majors

Explanation of major requirements

The descriptions below are taken from the list of English major requirements at University Park, which correspond to the requirements for the major at Penn State Greater Allegheny (see the complete course requirements description from the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin). The required courses do not have to be taken in the exact order in which they appear on the list. However, all courses are not offered every semester, so students should consult with their advisors to make sure that they are taking the necessary courses to complete the degree in four years. The English major consists of twelve courses (36 credits):

  • Two courses in English at any level: English majors should begin their course of study in English with courses at the 100 or 200 level. Students could take 100-level courses in areas such as American comedy, world literature, science fiction, literature and empire, the short story, and popular fiction. They could also take English 209, a course that supports students’ work with Absence, our literary journal. English 4, English 15, English 30, English 202, and the core courses listed below do not count toward this requirement.
  • English 200: studies a variety of literary texts in English that evoke different approaches.
  • English 201: explores the question “What is Literature?” through an examination of narrative, poetry, and drama.
  • English 221: examines masterworks of English literature before 1798.
  • English 222, 231, 232 or 235 (choose one): a survey course that examines particular historical periods in either American or British literature.
  • Pre-1800 English literature at the 300 or 400 level: examines pre-1800 English literature by authors such as  Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer.
  • Post-1800 English course in gender, ethnic and/or minority literatures at the 300 or 400 level: examines post-1800 literature in English that engages with issues related to gender, race, and/or ethnicity.
  • English 487W: seminar taken during the senior year. Seminars focus on specialized topics, such as masterworks by Mark Twain, American science fiction, monsters in literature and film, human rights and literature, etc.
  • Three additional English courses at the 300 or 400 level: Take at least three additional courses at the 300 or 400 level. For example, a student might take courses in literary and cultural theory, African American poetry, the world novel, modern drama, writing for the web, or advanced business writing.

A student must receive a grade of C or better in English major courses to complete a degree in English. Students must also complete the University’s General Education requirements, Bachelor of Arts requirements, and other requirements. For the B.A. degree, a minimum of 123 credits is required.

A useful resource for English majors is the Undergraduate Student Handbook published by the English Department at Penn State University Park: http://english.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/ENGL%20Handbook%202010.pdf