Mar 05, 2021  
Undergraduate Record 2017-2018 
Undergraduate Record 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


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The English Major

The prerequisite:  Students may take one of two paths into the major.

  1. In the recommended path, students complete one ENLT (or ENGL) 2000-level course with a grade of C- or better. This course prepares students for upper-division departmental coursework, and also provides three hours of credit toward the major.
  2. In the alternative path, a student who takes any two upper-division courses in the department (3000-level or above, in literature not creative writing), with an average grade of B across those courses, may declare the major without enrolling in an ENLT 2000-level course. Again, these courses provide credit toward the major.

The program of study:  The degree in English requires ten courses (30 credits), as specified below.  All courses must be at the upper-division level (numbered 3000 or above), with the exception of the single ENLT 2000-level prerequisite course.

  1. Two courses in the History of Literatures in English sequence:  ENGL 3810 and 3820.
  2. One course in literature before 1700 (usually ENMD or ENRN) and one course in literature 1700-1900 (usually ENEC, ENNC, or ENAM).
  3. One 4000-level seminar in literature.
  4. Elective courses to bring the total number of courses to ten.  Most students will need five electives, including the single ENLT 2000-level course, in addition to fulfilling the requirements above.

Additional rules:

  1. Eight of the ten courses for the major must be taken in the English department at UVa.  With permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, up to two major electives may be taken either in other departments on campus, or as transfer credit from other institutions, including study abroad programs.  Courses taken outside the department may not fulfill distribution requirements.
  2. One of the two courses from outside the department allowed to count as a major elective may be in the literature of a language other than English, taught either in that language or in translation.  These courses may be taught at the 2000-level or above.  Grammar and composition courses do not count.  Examples of such courses include CPLT 2010 or 2020, ITTR 2260, RUTR 3910, SATR 3000. 
  3. The “three course rule”:  No more than three courses in the major course of study may fall into any single mnemonic category (ENMD, ENRN, ENEC, ENNC, ENMC, ENAM).  As well, no more than three courses in total may fall under either of the main writing rubrics (ENWR and ENCW).  Exceptions to this rule include students participating in the Distinguished Majors Program, who must take five courses in the ENGL category; and students enrolled in one of the area programs detailed below, who may take additional courses within appropriate rubrics as specified.
  4. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in major courses is required.  Courses in which a student receives a grade lower than C- will not count toward the major.

Special Programs in English

The Distinguished Majors Program

Majors who wish to be considered for a degree with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction in English must have a GPA of 3.600 in the major and 3.400 overall by the spring of the third year, and must submit a formal application to the Director of the Distinguished Majors Program.           

In addition to the standard requirements for the English major, candidates for distinction must complete

  1. A second 4000-level seminar in literature. 
  2. The two-semester distinguished majors tutorial (ENGL 4998 and 4999), taken in the fourth year.  Each student in the tutorial produces a long essay (approximately 50 pages).

In awarding distinction, the departmental Honors Committee considers: two faculty evaluations of the thesis essay; the quality of the student’s work in all 4000-level English seminars taken; and the student’s overall performance in the major.

Area Programs

The department offers six area programs.  Three programs are interdisciplinary in focus:  Global English Literature and Culture (GELC), Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Modern Literature and Culture (MLC).  Two programs allow students to concentrate in the practice of writing:  the Area Program in Literary Prose (APLP) and the Area Program in Poetry Writing (APPW).  The sixth program, English Literature and Language for Secondary School Teaching, serves students considering a career in teaching, whether or not they are simultaneously enrolled in a degree program in the Curry School of Education.

Each area program modifies the English major program of study as specified below.  Some programs admit students by application only, while others are open to all interested.  If the area program is selective, students must apply for admission in the spring semester of their second year.  For more information about the area programs, including the names of their directors and application procedures, please consult the English department website,

Global English Literature and Culture requirements

Complete 33 credits of coursework.  These must include:

  1. Two of the following surveys:  ENGL 3810, 3820, 3830, CPLT 2010, 2020.
  2. GDS 2559, Global Humanities and Arts.
  3. Five additional courses within the English department, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, that have been designated as meeting the requirements for GELC.  Two of these courses must be in literature published before 1900.  One of these courses must be at the 4000 level.
  4. Two courses from outside the department, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, that have been designated as meeting the requirements for GELC.
  5. ENGL 4530, the GELC capstone seminar.

Medieval/Renaissance Studies requirements

Take at least 30 credits of English courses.  These must include:

  1. ENGL 3820.  ENGL 3810 is encouraged, but not required.
  2. ENRN 4530, the core seminar in Medieval and Renaissance studies, ideally in the fall of the third year.        
  3. At least three other courses in the ENMD or ENRN areas (literature written before 1700).  At least one of these courses should be at the 4000-level.
  4. In addition, take nine hours of coursework outside the department in areas that will complement and inform your Medieval/Renaissance literary studies.

We strongly encourage students in the Medieval and Renaissance program to work on an independent study project (ENGL 4993), or, if they are qualified, to consolidate their work within this field by writing a thesis in the Distinguished Majors Program (ENGL 4998 and 4999).

Modern Literature and Culture requirements

Take at least 30 credits of English courses. These must include:

  1. ENGL 3820.
  2. Either ENGL 3810 or a pre-1700 (ENMD or ENRN) literature class.
  3. One course in literature published between 1700-1900.
  4. Two ENMC 4530 seminars.

In addition, take four courses outside the department that relate to a particular area of interest.

Students are strongly encouraged to write a thesis in the ENMC independent study (ENMC 4993) or, if they are qualified, to enter the Distinguished Majors Program (ENGL 4998 and 4999).

Area Program in Literary Prose requirements

Take 36 credits of coursework.  These must include:

  1. ENGL 3810 and ENGL 3820.
  2. On pre-1800 course at the 3000-level or higher.
  3. One English literature seminar at the 4000 level or higher.
  4. Four upper-level workshops that must include both fiction and nonfiction and could also, with approval, include poetry.
  5. Two ENLP seminars.
  6. One upper-level course in a cognate filed in another department approved by the APLP director (such as, for example, MDST 3104 or ANTH 3490).
  7. One ENLP senior thesis course.

In the fourth year, students will embark on a directed project that will yield a thesis (40+ pages) of original literary prose.

Area Program in Poetry Writing requirements

Take 30 credits of courses in English.  These must include:

  1. ENGL 3810 and ENGL 3820.
  2. 12 hours of upper-division (3000-level or above) poetry writing courses or independent studies.
  3. Two Poetry Writing Area Program seminars (ENPW 4820).
  4. One course in literature published before 1800 at the 3000-level or above.
  5. Three hours of coursework in literature at the 4000-level or above.

When offered, a prosody or other poetic forms class is also recommended.

APPW students are not required but encouraged to participated in a year-long Capstone Course (ENPW 4910/4920) in the fourth year, which results in the creation of a collection of original poems.  Students may elect to apply, as well, to take part in the Distinguished Majors Program, a scholarly project that is separate from the APPW.

English Literature and Language for Secondary School Teaching requirements

Take at least 24 credits of English courses.  These must include:

  1. An advanced (higher than ENWR 1510) undergraduate writing course.
  2. ENGL 3810 and ENGL 3820.
  3. A Shakespeare course at the 3000 level or higher.
  4. A course in language and/or literacy (ENLS 3030 or another option approved by the track director.
  5. ENPG 5400/EDIS 5500 (the Counterpoint Seminar)
  6. An additional elective in English at the 3000 level or above.

Take in addition:

  1. EDIS 3400 (Teaching English in Secondary Schools).
  2. One relevant course either in or outside of English as approved by the track director.

Additional Information

The English Minor Students wishing to minor in English must complete 18 credit hours of English courses.  With the exception of a single ENLT 2000-level course, all courses must be upper-division (numbered 3000 and above).  These must include: 

  1. Any two semesters of the survey sequence ENGL 3810 and ENGL 3820.

No more than six credits may be in any one of the following distribution categories: ENMD, ENRN, ENEC, ENNC, ENMC, ENAM, and ENCW/ENWR. However, students may take all three parts of the core survey (ENGL 3810, 3820, 3830) and apply them to the minor. 

Independent Study Only one semester of independent study (in literature or writing) may be counted toward the English major.  Students may apply to take an independent study only if they have completed four 3000- or 4000-level courses in English and they have achieved a major GPA of at least 3.300.  Both ENGL 4993 (critical projects) and ENWR 4993 (creative writing projects) allow considerable flexibility, with no formal limitations on the project’s nature, as long as a faculty member is willing to direct the independent study and the proposed course does not duplicate what is already available in regular departmental offerings.  To request an independent study course, students should apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the semester prior to that in which they wish to pursue their project.

Contact For more information, contact Mr. Carl Stukenborg, Undergraduate Administrator, 236 Bryan Hall, P.O. Box 400121, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121; (434) 924-7887; Fax: (434) 924-1478;;

Course Offerings

Introductory Seminars in Literature

Note:  These courses are designed both for first- and second-year students interested in becoming English majors, and for non-majors at all levels. The ENLT seminars introduce students to the aims, methods, and skills involved in interpreting literature and critical writing. All ENLT courses fulfill the Second Writing Requirement.

Poetry Writing (Area Program)

Upper Division Courses in English

The following courses are designed primarily for English majors and for students who have some previous experience or special ability in reading and writing about literature; however, there are no prerequisites for these courses.