2019-20 Catalogs

BA in English

The English degree provides a strong academic foundation for a variety of careers as well as graduate or professional school. Students are introduced to literary research and analysis and the masterworks of ancient and medieval literature before advancing to required courses in writing, theory, and literature, both past and present. English majors are encouraged to study abroad in the third year. All students engage in original research in the senior capstone seminar.

The minimum number of credits (exclusive of the University's Core curriculum) required for the major is 36. No more than 12 credits in 200-level courses may count toward the major.

English majors must meet the following English Department requirements. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or better and six hours with a grade of B or better. Prior to beginning the English major, students must complete ENG 100 College Writing (or an equivalent writing course) and ENG 140 Reading Literature.  After satisfying these prerequisites, students should take ENG 245 Introduction to Literary Studies before concentrating on more advanced work to complete the 36-credit major requirement. No more than six credits of the English major may be used to fulfill requirements for the minor in Writing, the minor in Public and Professional Writing, nor the Certificate in Public and Professional Writing.


Students must take the following courses before beginning study in the English Major.  These courses do not count as credit toward the English major.

  • ENG 100 College Writing (or an equivalent writing course)
  • ENG 140 Reading Literature

Courses in the Major

  • ENG 245 Introduction to Literary Studies (3 credits). This course is a prerequisite for the Capstone Seminar.
  • ENG 220 World Masterpieces I (3 credits)
  • At least one 300- or 400-level Theory course (3 credits)
  • At least one 300- or 400-level Writing course (3 credits)
  • Three 300- or 400-level historical period courses, one of which must be before 1800 (9 credits)
  • Capstone Seminar (3 credits) A Capstone seminar is a small class (limited to approximately 15 students) designed to encourage independent thinking, intensive student participation, and in-depth research on topics of the student's choice related to the seminar topic. Typically seminars allow a professor to teach a focused subject of special interest, one on which the professor has done recent research or scholarly writing. Each semester, detailed descriptions of seminars will be published in the English Department's Course Guide. Seminars satisfy the General Education Capstone requirement.  Though they may also fulfill requirements under other categories, seminars still count as only 3 credits toward the major requirements.
  • Electives (12 credits or as needed to complete 36 credit hours in the major)

For the best overall Financial Aid package, submit your USM application and complete your FAFSA by January 15. However, you can apply at any time. Undergraduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.  

Learn More about the Undergraduate Application Requirements & Process