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English Department

English Major Requirements

“English” is a complex field with a variety of applications and intellectual approaches. The
successful student of English must be versed in texts from across historical periods and national
traditions, and familiar with different methods of producing and interpreting works in varied
forms and genres.

All English majors at Spelman begin with a required pair of foundational courses that advance their knowledge of the latest critical methodologies (ENG 280 and 285).

Majors must also meet core distribution requirements that ensure broad familiarity with forms of
cultural expression from various historical periods and in different parts of the English-speaking
world. All students take one course in Shakespeare (ENG 310) and Seminal Writers in the
African-American Tradition (ENG 375).

Beyond these, students have considerable leeway in completing their distribution requirements: they may take traditional survey courses in American and British literatures, or they may choose special topics courses informed by faculty interests and expertise — e.g., “Emmett Till,” Postcolonial Women’s Literature, Images of Women in the Media, Law and Literature, or Race in Television, Film and Media. At least two courses must be above the 300-level, and one of these must be a Capstone seminar.


Download Requirements (PDF)

Class of 2018 and Beyond

The English major consists of at least 11 four-credit courses and two one-credit workshops.

Two entry-level courses and one workshop are required to begin the major.

  • * ENG 200: Sophomore Workshop (This is a two-semester course)
  • * ENG 280: Introduction to Literary Studies
  • * ENG 285: Introduction to Critical Studies in English
Five Foundation Courses at the 300-Level.
Two of the courses are required and of the remaining three, two of them must cover the time periods before 1900.
  • * ENG 310: Shakespeare (May not be used to satisfy the period requirement.)
  • * ENG 375: Seminal Writers in the African American Tradition
  • One course in Global and/or Interdisciplinary Studies
  • One course in U.S. Literature
  • One other course in British Literature

Plan of Deep Study

By Jan. 31 of the English major’s junior year, a plan of Deep Study must be submitted to the adviser and the chair of the English Department. The student may choose an area of deep study in Textual or Writing Studies. One of the courses taken to fulfill the plan must be designated as the capstone seminar. At least one of the areas of Deep Study courses should be at the 400-level and taken prior to or concurrent with the capstone seminar.

Area of Deep Study(4-5 more courses)
  • Textual Studies (Literature, Film and Visual Culture, Cultural Studies)
  • Writing Studies (Creative, Professional, Technical)
ENG 400: Senior Workshop (one-semester course)
The final workshop course is offered only in the fall semester.

Up to Class 2017

The English major consists of 11 courses or 44 hours.

Two entry-level courses are required.  
  • * ENG 280: Introduction to Literary Studies
  • * ENG 285: Advanced Exposition
The remaining nine courses in the major are offered in the following three categories.

Category I. African American and U.S. Literature (2 courses)
  • * ENG 375: Seminal Writers in the African American Tradition (This course is required for all students).
  • The second course must be selected from the U.S. literature category, either surveys or seminars.
Category II. British Literature (2 courses)
  • * ENG 310: Shakespeare (This course is required for all students)
  • The second course must be selected from the remaining British category, either surveys or seminars.
Category III. Gender Studies, Critical Theory, and International Literature (2 courses)

English Major Electives (3 courses)
300 or 400 level literature courses. Do not select courses in the Writing Minor. Consult your major adviser if necessary. 

The 44 hours of the major may be completed through major electives which complete the following distributional requirements:
  • Complete at least three major electives
  • Complete at least two seminar courses in the 44 hours
  • Satisfy a requirement in chronological periods: one course covering the period before 1800; one course in the period between 1800 and 1900; and one course in the period after 1900. Shakespeare may not be used to satisfy the early period requirement
* Required Courses