Department of English Language and Literature

Literature Concentration

Requirements, for Students Declared before Fall 2019

General 3000-level requirements

These courses are offered at least once a year.

  • ENGL 3600: American Literary Traditions OR ENGL 3610 British Literary Traditions
  • Introduction to the history of literature in each country.
  • ENGL 3790: Foundations of Literary Study
  • An overview and introduction to the discipline of literary study, its history, its methods, and its specialized languages.
  • ENGL 3670: Literature of Postcolonial, Diasporic, and Non-white Communities
  • Studies of the impact of racial and ethnic diversity, and the experience of diaspora, on literature.
  • ENGL 3810: Shakespeare
  • An introduction to Shakespeare as a dramatic artist through close analysis of selected plays.

Specific concentration requirements

Some of these courses are offered in alternate years. A list of courses to be offered in the upcoming semester, including detailed course descriptions, is available at this link and in the English Department office (Field House 1500).

  • One 4000-level course in British literature before 1800, which can be any of the following:
    • ENGL 4400: British Literature: The Medieval Period
    • ENGL 4420: British Literature: The Renaissance
    • ENGL 4310: British Drama to 1642
    • ENGL 4440: Early 17th-Century Literature
    • ENGL 4460: British Literature: Restoration and 18th Century ENGL 4200: British Fiction 18th Century
  • One 4000-level course in British literature after 1800:
    • ENGL 4500: British Literature: The Romantic Period
    • ENGL 4220: British Fiction: Early 19th Century
    • ENGL 4520: British Literature: The Victorian Period
    • ENGL 4230: British Fiction: Late 19th Century
    • ENGL 4540: British Literature: The 20th Century
    • ENGL 4560: Literature of the British Empire, 1850 to the Present
    • ENGL 4240: British Fiction: 20th Century
  • One 4000-level course in American literature:
    • ENGL 4690: Native American Literature and Culture
    • ENGL 4600: Early American Literature
    • ENGL 4620: American Romanticism
    • ENGL 4630: American Literary Realism
    • ENGL 4650: African American Literature Before the 20th Century
    • ENGL 4640: Early 20th-Century American Poetry
    • ENGL 4280: American Fiction: 20th Century
    • ENGL 4680: American Literature Since World War II
    • ENGL 4660: African American Literature in the 20th Century
  • One 4000-level course examining a single author in depth:
    • ENGL 4800: Chaucer
    • ENGL 4810: Shakespeare II
    • ENGL 4820: Milton
    • ENGL 4850: Studies in the Work of a Single Author. Topic varies among British or world writers; examples in the past have included Edmund Spenser, Charles Dickens, W. B. Yeats, Zadie Smith
    • ENGL 4860: Studies in the Work of an American Author. Topic varies; examples have included William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Emily Dickinson

In some instances ENGL 4980: Special Topics, if appropriate, may be used to meet one of these four requirements. For example, ENGL4980: Salman Rushdie, offered in Fall 2009, meets the requirement for a course on a single author. Check with an advisor for more information.


Four 3-credit elective courses are required. These must be taken at the 3000- or 4000-level, and can include any English department courses. A course that meets a specific requirement but is not needed because a student has fulfilled that requirement can be used as an elective (for example, students frequently take more than one single-author course, or more than one 4000-level course in the same general area, to pursue a particular interest). Any Independent Study course in English must meet the department's Independent Study Policy.

Related fields

The major requires 18 total credit hours in related fields outside of English, half of which must be on the 3000- or 4000-level. These are usually chosen from the other humanities, the social sciences, and interdisciplinary programs. The related area requirement may also be satisfied by taking a minor.

Last Updated: 6/27/22