English Literature Major, Creative Writing Specialization

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 30


E Lit 2151Literature in English: Early Texts and Contexts3
E Lit 2152Literature in English: Modern Texts and Contexts3


24 units of upper-division (300- and 400-level) work (at least 6 units must be at the 400 level), distributed as follows:

1. Four required courses

  • E Lit 3552 Introduction to Literary Theory
  • Three historical courses, covering three of the following five historical periods in American, British, or Anglophone literature and including at least one course from each of the following two groups:

Group 1

  • Medieval
  • Early Modern

Group 2

  • The 18th Century
  • The 19th Century
  • The 20th Century and Later

2. Four electives

3. One course centered on either global or minority literatures

At least one 300- or 400-level literature course must be taken in one of the following areas:

  • Global literatures in English, defined as the Anglophone literatures of Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and other non-British or non-U.S. territories
  • Minority literatures of the United States or the United Kingdom, which include Anglophone African American, Asian American, Native American, Latinx, and Black British writing

Each semester, official course listings will designate the courses selected by the English Department Curriculum Committee that may be chosen to meet this requirement. Courses applied to this requirement may also satisfy other English major requirements involving historical range (requirement 1) and the need to complete two 400-level courses (requirement 4).

4. Eight upper-division courses in all (including two 400-level courses)

  • All courses must be taken for letter grades.
  • The student must receive a grade of C or better in all courses.
  • Only one cross-listed course not home-based in English may be counted toward the 24 units required. The two required 400-level courses must be home-based in English.
  • A maximum of 6 units from the School of Continuing & Professional Studies and/or Summer School courses may count toward the major. These selections require English department approval.
  • Study abroad students are expected to complete the 200-level prerequisite courses and at least two upper-level courses in English literature before going abroad.
  • 3 units of 300- or 400-level courses in the literature of a language other than English may be counted toward the English major.
  • Before the end of their junior year, majors are encouraged to consult with advisors regarding the fulfillment of major requirements.

5. Portfolio capstone

All majors are required to complete a portfolio capstone project, for which the student provides a 200-level paper, a 400-level paper, and a brief essay (two to three pages) that reflects on the student's overall learning experience in the major. 

Creative Writing Specialization

There is the option of completing an English Literature major with a creative writing specialization. To do so, students must take five creative writing courses, including at least three upper-division courses. Students will specialize in one particular genre — poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction — and, ultimately, take a three-course sequence (200-, 300-, and 400-level courses) in that genre while taking at least one course outside of the chosen genre. The specialization requirements will not change the requirement structure for the English major and, thus, requires 6 additional credit units to complete as compared with a regular English Literature major. For more information, please consult the description of the major on the English department website.

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