The Department of English offers a major in English, a minor in English, and a minor in Creative Writing

Major in English

Requirements for the A.B. Degree in English 

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

Foundation Courses

  • 1 Critical Methods (ENGL 1090)
  • 1 History of Literature, Media, and Culture I (ENGL 1091)
  • 1 History of Literature, Media, and Culture II (ENGL 1092)

[NOTE: Foundation courses do NOT fulfill the HALC (Humanities: Arts, Literature, Cultures) requirement. ENGL 1090, 1091, and 1092 fulfill the foundation course requirements with their previous as well as their current titles.]


  • 6 English electives total
  • 2 out of the 6 electives need to be upper-level electives (ENGL 4030–4300). [Prerequisites: Students must take one foundation course (ENGL 1090, 1091, or 1092) to register for an upper-level elective]
  • The other 4 electives can be fulfilled by any ENGL course (ENGL 1100–4300).


  • 1 Senior Seminar (ENGL 4960–4969)

Period requirement: At least one of the six electives or the senior seminar must be focused on pre-1800 literatures.

Foundation courses should be taken as early in one’s career as a major as possible. The senior seminar can be taken in either semester of the senior year.

Description of the Courses and Levels of the English Major

Foundation Courses

  • ENGL 1090 Critical Methods —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, media, 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 1091 History of Literature, Media, and Culture I and ENGL 1092 History of Literature, Media, and Culture II—A two-semester survey of Anglophone literary, cultural, and media history. History of Literature, Media, and Culture I focuses on texts from the medieval period through the eighteenth century; History of Literature, Media, and Culture 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

  • Lower-Level Electives (ENGL 1100–2990)—Lower-level 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.
  • Upper-Level Electives (ENGL 4030–4300)—Upper-level 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). [Prerequisites: Students must have taken one foundation course (ENGL 1090, 1091, or 1092) to register for an upper-level elective.]
  • Senior Seminar (ENGL 4960–4969)—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 of study 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, Film, 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. All approved cross-listed courses will count toward general English elective credit and not toward foundation courses, upper-level electives, or senior seminars.

AP Credit: WRIT 1150 or AP credit do NOT count toward the English major.

Integrated Writing Requirement: Writing is a core component of the English major at every level of our curriculum, but especially in our electives and senior seminars.

Transfer Students

During the August orientation, transfer students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the English department and determine which courses taken at the previous institution can count toward the English major at Georgetown. 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 six courses in the English department.

Study Abroad

Transfer of credit from study abroad toward the English major requires the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are strongly encouraged to have their program of study approved before they go abroad. Except in extraordinary circumstances, classes abroad will NOT count toward foundation courses, upper-level electives, or senior seminars. They will ONLY count toward general English elective credit. Students must fulfill all requirements and take at least six courses in the English department.

Summer School

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

Honors in English

Admission to the Honors Program is competitive and by application in the spring of the student’s junior year. Details about the program and application process are listed on the department website. Students admitted to the Honors Program are required to take a two-semester, six-credit sequence (ENGL-4989 and 4940) in their senior year, the first semester of which replaces and fulfills the standard senior seminar requirement in the major. Students present their finished work to the public at a colloquium at the end of their senior year. In order to graduate with honors, a student must earn a grade of A- or better in ENGL 4940 for a thesis project produced under the mentorship of an English Department faculty mentor. The grade for ENGL 49401 will be an assessment of the thesis itself as an average of the assessments of the mentor, the second reader, and the Director of Honors.

Accelerated AB/MA English Program

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. Students should direct questions about both the AB/MA and the MA programs to the current Program Administrator and/or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Minor in English

Requirements for the Minor

The English minor consists of six courses: two foundation courses (ENGL 1090 and either ENGL 1091 or 1092) and four electives at any level. At least four of the six minor courses must be ENGL courses taken in this department.

Minor in Creative Writing

The Department of English offers a minor in Creative Writing, drawing on the strength of its faculty and programming in the literary arts and related fields. The minor is designed to be progressive, moving from an introductory multi-genre course through a series of genre workshops, and then culminating in a Creative Writing senior seminar (or independent study project) in which students produce and revise a well-developed manuscript of poetry, fiction, or creative prose. The minor is also interdisciplinary, in that three of the six courses will draw from forms, disciplines, and materials outside the student’s chosen genre of writing. Students may choose relevant course offerings in related departments and programs (e.g., Journalism). Other enriching and broadening experiences will come through our Lannan Program’s visiting writer reading and seminar series, the annual Lannan Symposium, the Caine Prize Writer residency, and the various writers who visit classes each year.

The minor in Creative Writing requires six courses: an introductory multi-genre course, an introductory genre course, an advanced genre course, two electives, and a Creative Writing senior seminar or independent study project. 

Requirements for the Creative Writing Minor

  • One introductory multi-genre course: Intro to Creative Writing, ENGL 2800
  • One introductory genre course: ENGL 2810–2900, ENGL 4500, or a selected MHUM course that is x-listed with Creative Writing
  • One advanced genre course: ENGL 4510–4590
  • One English elective: ENGL 1090–4990
  • One additional elective in the student’s field of interest: ENGL 1090–4990, JOUR 1000–4999, or other courses as approved by program director
  • Creative Writing Senior Seminar* (ENGL 4910–4940) or independent study project** 

*Students who have fulfilled all other requirements for the minor may take the senior seminar earlier (i.e., in junior year) with permission of the director.

**Students interested in pursuing an independent study project in place of the senior seminar should discuss with the director no later than the end of junior year. 

Note: Course substitutions to any of the above requirements must be reviewed and approved by the program director. Minors are encouraged to discuss their interests with the director and plan their course choices accordingly. 

The minor in Creative Writing is by application, capped at 20 students per year. Application process: before fall or spring registration periods, students who have taken (or are taking) at least one creative writing workshop or equivalent may apply for the Creative Writing minor by submitting a brief statement of purpose, a short writing sample, and an unofficial transcript to the Director of the Creative Writing Minor. Exceptions can be made for junior transfer students with a strong background in creative writing. 

For more information and exact deadlines, please visit the Creative Writing webpage on the Department of English website.

For course listings for English see the Schedule of Classes