The English Major
Students may take one of two paths into the major.
- In the recommended path, students complete one 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.
- 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 ENGL 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 ENGL 2000-level prerequisite course.
- Two courses in the “History of Literatures in English” sequence: ENGL 3001 and 3002.
- One course in literature before 1700 and one course in literature 1700-1900.
- One 4000-level seminar in literature.
- Elective courses to bring the total number of courses to ten. Most students will need five electives, including the single ENGL 2000-level course, in addition to fulfilling the requirements above.
- 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.
- 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.
- No more than three courses in total may fall under the writing program rubrics (ENWR and ENCW).
- 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.
- Independent study: Only one semester of independent study, in literature or writing, may be counted toward the 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 3.30. Both ENGL 4993 (critical projects) and ENCW 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. To request an independent study course, students (and their faculty advisors) should apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the semester prior to that in which they wish to pursue their project.
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
- A second 4000-level seminar in literature.
- 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.
The department offers five area programs. Two programs are interdisciplinary in focus: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Modern and Global Studies (MGS). 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 fifth 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, english.as.virginia.edu.
The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Concentration in English
Students in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Concentration in English take at least 30 credits for the major. These must include:
- ENGL 3002 History of Literatures in English II (3 credits). ENGL 3001 is encouraged, but not required. Beyond ENGL 3002, further courses in 18th and 19th century English are encouraged, but not required.
- At least four other courses (12 credits) in English literature written before 1700, excluding ENGL 3001. At least two of these courses should be at the 4000 or 5000 level.
Outside English: We warmly support Concentrators taking Medieval and Renaissance studies courses in other departments, for example, in Art History, History, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and in literatures in other languages. Consequently, in consultation with the Director of the Concentration, 3 such courses (9 credits) may be counted toward the 30 credits required of the Concentrator. We strongly encourage language acquisition, especially the study of Latin. Thus, language courses taken in excess of the UVa Foreign/World Language Requirement (http://college.as.virginia.edu/competency-requirements) may also be included in the up-to-9 credits students may present towards the major from outside the English Department. Here follows a partial list of courses that qualify for presentation as part of the 9-credit allowance; students should consult the Director of the Concentration about approving others that might enhance their particular plans of study. Courses in the medieval and early modern cultures of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa change topics too often to be included here but are highly recommended.
We encourage students in the Medieval and Renaissance Concentration to consider an independent study project with relevant faculty in order to develop specialized research ambitions and, if they are qualified, to consolidate their work by writing a thesis in the English Department’s undergraduate Distinguished Majors Program (http://english.as.virginia.edu/distinguished-majors).
Concentration in Modern Global Studies Requirements
Take at least 30 credits of English and other approved courses. These must include:
- ENGL 3002.
- Either ENGL 3001 or a pre-1700 literature class.
- One course in literature published between 1700-1900.
- Two ENGL 4561 seminars.
- Up to four courses outside the department, determined in consultation with the program director, that relate to a particular area of interest concerned with the study of modern and global literature and culture. GDS 3030/ENGL 3610: Global Cultural Studies (previously ENGL 3030) may be counted as one of the four interdisciplinary courses; students interested in global issues are especially urged to take it. All electives from other disciplines will normally have to be at the 3000- or 4000-level but some 2000- level courses can also count (usually ones in other language departments, when the literature is offered in translation).
Students are strongly encouraged to write a thesis in the independent study (ENGL 4993) or, if they are qualified, to enter the Distinguished Majors Program (ENGL 4998 and 4999).
Area Program in Literary Prose Requirements
Take 30 credits of coursework. These must include:
- ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002.
- On pre-1800 course at the 3000-level or higher.
- Four upper-level workshops that must include both fiction and nonfiction and could also, with approval, include poetry.
- Two ENCW 4550 Literary Prose seminars.
- One ENCW 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:
- ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002.
- 12 hours of upper-division (3000-level or above) ENCW poetry writing courses or independent studies. Students may count one fiction or creative non-fiction course at the 3000-level or above to fulfill this requirement.
- Two Poetry Writing Area Program seminars (ENCW 4820).
- One course in literature published before 1800 at the 3000-level or above.
- The Capstone Course (ENPW 4920), offered in the spring semester of the fourth year.
When offered, a prosody or other poetic forms class is also recommended.
English Literature and Language for Secondary School Teaching Requirements
Take at least 24 credits of English courses. These must include:
- An advanced (higher than ENWR 1510) undergraduate writing course.
- ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002.
- A Shakespeare course at the 3000 level or higher.
- A course in language and/or literacy (ENGL 3030 or another option approved by the track director.
- ENGL 5900/EDIS 5500 (the Counterpoint Seminar)
- An additional elective in English at the 3000 level or above.
Take in addition:
- EDIS 3400 (Teaching English in Secondary Schools).
- One relevant course either in or outside of English as approved by the track director.
The English Minor Students wishing to minor in English must complete 18 credit hours of English courses. With the exception of a single ENGL 2500-level course, all courses must be upper-division (numbered 3000 and above). These must include:
- The survey sequence ENGL 3001 and ENGL 3002.
No more than six credits may be in either ENCW or ENWR.
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 ENCW 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; english.as.virginia.edu.
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.
Note: With the exception of ENWR 3800 and ENWR 3900, all writing courses at or above the 3000 level require writing samples and permission of the instructor before registering.
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.
Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature
Nineteenth Century British Literature
Modern and Contemporary Literature
Special Topics in Literature