The Major Course of Study
The English Department offers courses that foster critical thinking about the relationships among literature, culture, and history. Students of English become adept critics of poetry, novels, essays, and plays. As they develop their knowledge, students in English hone their skills as critical writers and explore their potential as creative voices. At Wesleyan, English faculty and students work together to produce new knowledge about literature and to create new literary texts.
Courses for Non-Majors
The Department offers several FYS courses designed for first-year students. First-year students may also be admitted to many other departmental courses; please check individual listings for details. ENGL130 is a writing course intended for students whose native language is not English, but it is also open to others.
Admission to the Major
Potential majors must take ENGL201: Ways of Reading. Students who have taken the course and received a grade of B- of better will be admitted as majors during the spring term of their sophomore year. Students who take the course during that term will be admitted provisionally, pending the receipt of a grade of B- or better.
The English major at Wesleyan consists of 10 credits in courses at the 200-level or higher, all but three of which must be taken at Wesleyan or at the Department’s Sussex Program. (Students who believe that courses they have taken or that they will take at other universities should fulfill core course requirements may "petition" the Department for an exception to this rule.) As part of those 10 credits, all majors fulfill five core requirements as well as a four-course concentration.
Nota bene: An individual course may fulfill up to two core requirements, and it may be counted toward both a core requirement and the concentration.
- Core courses: These courses must be taken in the Department or at the Department’s Sussex Program.
- ENGL201: Ways of Reading
- Literary History I
- Literary History II
- Literatures of Difference
- The Concentration: four courses at the intermediate and advanced level in any one of these specialized areas of study: American Literature, British Literature, Creative Writing, Race and Ethnicity, and Theory and Literary Forms.
- Students may count toward the major any other 200-level or higher courses taken in the English Department or at Sussex. They may also count up to three courses taken at other universities provided that the course(s) focus on literature in English or on subjects that often appear in the Department’s curriculum.
- One course in a related area of study taken may be taken outside the Department, whether at Wesleyan or at another university. This elective course is normally in literature in translation or in another language, and may be counted toward the major only with the permission of the major advisor.
Honors thesis tutorials do not count toward the English major.
English majors may undertake capstone experiences in several ways. Students who are eligible for Honors and wish to may write two-semester Honors theses. More information about the Department’s Honors Program is available here. With the approval of a faculty advisor, students who are not candidates for Honors may pursue a one-semester Senior Essay project. In addition, each concentration requires a 300-level seminar.
Study Abroad: For information about study abroad and the department's Wesleyan-Sussex Exchange Program click here.
Prizes: For information about English and Writing Program prizes click here.
Transfer Credit: For information about credit transfer click here.
Students with AP scores of 4 or 5 in either English Literature or English Composition, or with scores of 5-7 on an English A1 or English A2 International Baccalaureate exam, will receive one course credit. No extra credit is given for taking more than one exam. This credit may not be used to fulfill major requirements.