Students majoring in English at the University of Minnesota have the opportunity to study literature, literary criticism, literary history, linguistics, critical theory, publication/editing, and expository and creative writing.
Courses offered by the department explore a wide range of discourses written in English—from around the globe—including poetry, drama, fiction, film, popular culture, and electronic media. Students examine the cultural, social, political, and economic contexts that condition a variety of texts. Majors write extensively and learn to express themselves effectively, both orally and in writing. The English major at the University of Minnesota offers many small classes to encourage class discussion and active participation.
Students must complete at least 120 degree credits to graduate, including at least 35 credits in the major (32 credits from EngL/W 3xxx or higher courses). Credits are distributed among textual interpretation, historical surveys of literature, Shakespeare, English language or theory, elective courses, a seminar or writing workshop, and a senior paper.
All English major courses must be taken A-F and completed with grades C- or better. The minimum G.P.A. for the English major is 2.00.
Independent Study: Maximum 12 semester credits at any number level Directed Study, Directed Instruction, or Directed Reading, or Independent and Distance Learning (IDL) courses.
AP and IB credits are not included in the major.
Prospective majors are encouraged to complete at least one introductory course in literature, creative writing, and/or English language before officially declaring the major. They may choose from EngL 1001-1701 and EngW 1101-1104. To declare a major, the student schedules an appointment with an academic adviser in the Undergraduate Studies Office (227 Lind; 612-625-4592; email@example.com), and completes a Major Program form which is filed in CLA, the department, and with the student. Please allow 30 minutes for the meeting and bring with you a current unofficial transcript (and APAS report if you have transfer credits).
Foundation Courses (22-23 crs)
Students begin their studies, ideally in their sophomore year, with the department's methods course (English 3001) and concurrently begin taking Shakespeare (English 3007 or a department-approved Shakespeare course in England or other country), one of the following paired literature survey sequences -- ENGL 3003W British Literature I and ENGL 3006W American Literature II, or ENGL 3004W British Literature II and ENGL 3005W (3005V) American Literature I -- and one additional survey course from the ENGL 3003W-3006W sequence (4 cr) or an upper division EngL literature or film course organized with an historical perspective (3-4 crs) selected from a list approved by the English Department. The methods course, Textual Analysis, Methods, provides majors with skills in close and critical reading, a background in history and culture, and multiple approaches to literary works that will guide their continued studies. Shakespeare, the British and American Literature surveys, and the historical perspective literature course situate literary works in historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives. The English Language/Literary Theory Requirement allows students to deepen their understanding of the English language or to concentrate on theoretical questions that shape readers' understanding of texts.
Students should complete these courses by the end of their Junior years.
In addition to the foundation requirements, students choose at least three electives (3-4 crs of 1xxx, and 6 crs of 3xxx or higher), which are generally devoted to in-depth studies of particular authors, topics, periods, or genres. They often involve supplementary readings and library research in preparation for writing the senior paper.
Creative writing electives enable students to explore the intricacies and intimacies of the creative process and see for themselves some of the ways in which prose and poetry are created and read.
The program of study culminates in a senior paper completed either in a rigorous and intensive seminar in which students produce an extended, scholarly essay (EngL 3960W, 4 crs), or in an advanced creative writing workshop (EngW 3960W, 4 crs) in which students produce a substantial manuscript of poetry, literary fiction, or literary nonfiction. Honors summa cum laude degree candidates complete an Honors Thesis (EngL 3883V, 4 crs) in lieu of EngL/W 3960W. Readiness for the senior seminar/workshop is demonstrated by completion of the foundation courses including the English Language/Literary Theory requirement. Advisers advertise the seminars/workshops and mandatory information sessions to rising senior majors, and students apply for admission according to prerequisites and criteria noted on the Senior Paper Procedures page.
Students take EngL 3001W Textual Analysis, EngL 3007 Shakespeare, two historical surveys (selected from EngL 3003W-3006W), and one Eng 3xxx (or higher) elective for a minimum of 18 credits. All minor courses must be graded C- or higher with a minimum GPA of 2.0. To declare the English minor, call English Undergraduate Studies, 612-625-4592 to schedule an advising appointment.
Students transferring courses from other colleges and universities must complete five University of Minnesota–Twin Cities three- or four-credit English courses in residence to include EngL or EngW 3960W (the Senior Seminar) or EngL 3883V and at least four other upper division courses (3000-level or higher).
As a student intending to major in English, you will be required by the College of Liberal Arts to attend a Transfer Student Orientation. At that orientation, you may receive an overview of the major requirements for English, after which you will be required to schedule a major declaration advising appointment in the English Undergraduate Studies Office.
If you took English courses outside the University of Minnesota and you wish to have them applied toward your major requirements, you should discuss this with the undergraduate adviser when you come to fill out your major program form. If the course(s) you'd like to have applied toward your major have previously been evaluated and approved by our department, the adviser will include these courses on your major program form. Note: All English courses completed at 2-year community colleges are accepted as equivalent to UM lower division (1000-level) courses, regardless of content.
If the course(s) have not been previously evaluated and approved by our department, you must submit information to our department that our faculty can use to determine whether the courses are suitable for your major. At a minimum, you'll need to provide a syllabus for the course(s) you took; you should also provide a copy of the English major requirements at your previous school(s) and as much additional information as you can: textbooks, class notes, papers/exams, and anything else that indicates the topics, breadth, and requirements of the course. In general, the more information you provide for this evaluation, the better informed our faculty can be in making their recommendations.
This process of evaluating transfer courses takes at least two weeks.
For previously approved courses, see the Minnesota Course Applicability System (CAS), a free, web-based source for accurate, up-to-date information about how your courses will transfer and apply to a degree program at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. The UMTC transfer admissions site or UMTC – CLA Transfer Student Guide may also be of help.
To complete an Honors Program in English, students must first apply for admission to the program (20 Nicholson Hall) and plan a program with the Director or the Associate Director of English Undergraduate Studies (227 Lind Hall 612-625-4592).
Eligibility to graduate with honors is based on the GPA in the student's final 60 graded credits (the full semester in which the 60th credit is received will be included) at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus (transfer credits are not included). There are four honors graduation levels: cum laude, 3.50 GPA or higher; magna cum laude, 3.66 GPA or higher; summa cum laude, 3.75 GPA or higher. Students must complete the honors requirements for their degree within two years of the term in which they apply for graduation. All honors courses must be graded A-F.
CLA Honors Standards also require satisfactory completion of at least four upper division honors opportunities after completion of the 60th semester credit. One of the four honors opportunities must be outside the major field, a second is achieved through the honors thesis or project, and at least two of the four must be honors classroom experiences. In addition, most major departments in CLA have specific departmental requirements that students must satisfy in order to graduate with honors. The Department of English requires that one of the two honors classroom experiences be a 3xxx level English Honors course.
The senior paper can be completed in EngL 3960W or EngW 3960W for cum laude or magna cum laude degree candidates, or in EngL 3883V for summa cum laude degree candidates (PDF).
Complete one 3xxx level English Honors course