The Department of English offers both a major and a minor in English.


The major in English requires 10 courses and 30 credits as follows:

Requirements of the English Major

Foundation Courses

  • 1 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies (ENGL-090)
  • 1 Literary History I (ENGL-091)
  • 1 Literary History II (ENGL-092)

[NOTE: Foundational Courses do NOT fulfill the HALC requirement]


  • 2 Level I Electives (ENGL-100–299) [Prerequisite: WRITI-015 or its equivalent; the majority of Level I Electives fulfill the HALC requirement]
  • 2 Level II Electives (ENGL-300–459) [Prerequisites: Students must take ENGL-090 (“Methods”) or ENGL-091 (“Literary History I”) or ENGL-092 (“Literary History II”)]
  • 2 Free English Electives


  • 1 Senior Seminar (ENGL-460–499)

Period requirement: At least one of the six electives (Level I and Level II) must be focused on literature written before the nineteenth century.

Foundational Courses should be taken as early in one’s career as a major as possible. The Senior Seminar should be taken in either semester of the senior year.

Description of the Courses and Levels of the English Major

Foundation Courses

  • ENGL-090 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies. This course aims to give students a coherent understanding of various theoretical and critical tools used to interpret texts by introducing them to strategies of close reading and to larger discussions regarding textual analysis. Although the course will not necessarily encompass the entire history of literary and cultural criticism, it will examine a range of schools and methods. These schools and methods will be grounded historically and will be situated and contextualized within larger critical conversations that have developed over time. This course will NOT fulfill the HALC requirement.
  • ENGL-091 and ENGL-092 Literary History I and Literary History II. A two-semester survey of Anglophone literary and cultural history. Literary History I focuses on texts from the medieval period through the eighteenth century; Literary History II focuses on texts from the nineteenth century to the present. These courses will highlight a number of critical and/or representative texts, debates, developments, and crises illustrative of the time periods studied. These courses do NOT fulfill the HALC requirement.

Electives and Senior Seminar

  • Level I Electives (ENGL-100–299). Level I electives serve as the primary means of immersion into various fields of study in English. No prior knowledge of the field is expected. These courses aim to provide instruction in close reading and textual analysis, to introduce students to the field and its terminology, to models of close reading of primary texts, and to secondary sources, and to engage them in the larger critical conversations within the field. There is an emphasis on writing; students should expect several short papers (5-7 pages) and, possibly, exams. The majority of these courses count toward the HALC requirement.
  • Level II Electives (ENGL-304–459). Level II electives provide a more intense understanding of a particular field of study. They assume students are proficient at close reading and are able to engage with secondary sources. These electives aim to provide an intensive focus in a particular field. Assignments and work will be more individualized, and there will be longer papers or research papers (10–15 pages).
  • Senior Seminar (ENGL-460–499). These small seminars (capped at 18) are open to senior English majors only. They offer substantial engagement in a particular topic and assume students’ ability to apply critical methodology. These seminars include more freedom in terms of projects and discussions and more opportunities for independent work. They will require longer projects (20–25 pages).

English majors are encouraged to consider, in consultation with their faculty adviser, the following areas during their junior and senior years. By choosing electives from different areas, students will be able to experience further the wide diversity of texts, topics, and methodological approaches that characterize English studies today. By choosing courses from a single area, students will be able to concentrate their field of study in an area of special interest to them.

Suggested areas of interest:

  • British and American Literary Periods and Authors
  • Postcolonial, Ethnic, and Critical Race Studies
  • Genre Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Studies in Gender and Sexuality
  • Cultural, Media, and Performance Studies

Additional Information

Except for extraordinary reasons and upon petition to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English by the individual student, electives offered by other Georgetown departments will not count as electives toward the English major, unless they have already been approved for crosslisting.

AP Credit. For members of the classes of 2015 and beyond, WRIT-015 (formerly HUMW-011) does NOT count toward the English major; however, WRIT-015 (or WRIT-012 or HUMW-011 or its equivalent in AP credit) is a prerequisite for any Elective course. COL students with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP English Literature and/or the AP English Language exam will receive 3 credits for WRIT-015.

Integrated Writing Requirement: Writing is a core component of the English major at every level of our curriculum, but especially in our Level I and Level II Electives and in our Senior Seminars.

Transfer Students

During the August orientation, transfer students meet with departmental advisers. At that time and in subsequent meetings, students have the opportunity to discuss their individual programs. Students must fulfill all requirements for the English major and take at least seven courses in this department.

STUDY Abroad

Students must fulfill all requirements and take at least six courses in this department. Transfer of credit from study abroad toward the English major requires the approval of the DUS. Students are strongly encouraged to have their program of study approved before they go abroad. Except in extraordinary circumstances, classes abroad will count for Level I Elective credit only.

Summer School

Students taking summer courses elsewhere must fulfill all requirements and take at least seven courses in this department. Transfer of credit from summer programs outside Georgetown toward the English major requires the chair’s approval or the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Honors in English

To graduate with honors in English, a student must earn a grade of A- or better (as determined by two members of the faculty) for a thesis project produced under the mentorship of an English Department faculty mentor. Admission to candidacy for Honors is competitive and usually occurs in the spring of the student’s junior year. Details and the application are on the department website. In their senior year, students take a special capstone course and one additional course. One course is a thesis research tutorial; the other is a one credit course independent study with the student’s mentor and a colloquium in which students present their finished work to each other and to the Department.

Accelerated AB/MA Program in English

The English Department’s AB/MA program allows qualified undergraduate majors to enroll in up to two graduate-level English courses during each semester of their senior year. Up to two of these courses will count toward the undergraduate Major in English in addition to a prospective graduate degree. The Graduate School considers AB/MA students part of the Master's program, and they are automatically admitted following their undergraduate graduation, though they are not obligated to continue.

To apply, undergraduate students should follow the standard application procedure for the MA program during their junior year. The GRE requirement will be waived. Additionally, admitted AB/MA students should prepare an updated application the following year so that they may be considered for funding when they enter the MA program proper. Students should direct questions about both the AB/MA and the MA programs to the current Academic Coordinator and/or the current Director of Graduate Studies.

Minor in English

The English minor consists of six courses: two Foundation course (ENGL-090 AND ENGL-091 or 092) and four electives (either Levels I or II). At least four of these courses must be ENGL courses taken in this department.

(For course listings for English see http://courses.georgetown.edu)