English Major

The goals of the English major are to develop:

  • an ability to write clear, coherent, organized, and persuasive prose
  • an ability to read closely and interpret literary and other cultural texts (including poetry, fiction, and drama)
  • an ability to connect the analysis of texts to appropriate historical and other contexts
  • a knowledge of literary genres and appropriate use of critical terminology
  • a knowledge of literary theory and its relevance to literary analysis
  • an awareness of different periods of literary history, from the medieval period to the contemporary
  • an awareness that there are a variety of critical approaches to literary and cultural texts 
  • an awareness of the range of perspectives and aesthetic traditions within English literature, including ones previously considered marginal to the canon

The English major consists of a total of ten required courses:

Course Title Credits
One Texts and Contexts course 1
One Literary Theories course
ENGL 3000Literary Theories4
or COLI 3000 Literary Theories
Eight electives, including 2
Three Historical Distribution courses
One Race and Social Justice course
One Departmental Seminar course
Three additional electives 3
Up to two electives may be Creative Writing or Public & Professional Writing courses

A list of courses fulfilling the Texts and Contexts requirement can be seen on the core curriculum page. Texts and Contexts courses have the TC attribute.


Any course with the ENGL subject code or the ENGL attribute code counts as an elective, with the exceptions of ENGL 1102 Composition II and ENGL 2000 Texts and Contexts.

Students may count no more than one course from the following towards the major: FITV 2511 Screenwriting IJOUR 3723 Interviews and ProfilesJOUR 3727 Writing for MagazinesJOUR 3783 Theater Journalism


Because some electives will double or triple count as Historical Distribution courses, Race and Social Justice courses, and/or Departmental Seminar courses, majors may end up being able to take more than three additional electives.

Requirements in Detail/Supplementary Information


Courses in which a student receives a grade of D or F will not count toward the major.

The English Major and the Core Curriculum

English majors are required to fulfill the first-level core English requirement (ENGL 1102 before beginning the major; ENGL 1102 does not count toward the major. Additionally, majors may count English electives taken to meet the following core requirements toward the major: Advanced Literature Core, ICC, EP3, Values/EP4, American Pluralism, and Global Studies.

Literary Theories Requirement

All majors are required to take Literary Theories (ENGL 3000 or COLI 3000). This course is usually taken during a student's junior year, but sophomores may also enroll. Literary Theories introduces students to debates in literary and critical theory. The goal of these courses is to reflect on reading strategies, textual practices, and language itself. Students will engage with a range of critical, theoretical, and social issues shaping the field of literary studies today.

Historical Distribution Requirement

At least three of the courses that students take for the major must cover literature from a historical period before 1850. The goal of the Historical Distribution requirement is to encourage students to learn about a diverse range of historical periods and literary forms. The department suggests that students consult regularly with their advisers to ensure that their Historical Distribution course choices are covering a wide variety of literatures written before 1850. Historical Distribution courses have the ENHD attribute code and are included in departmental course listings.

Race and Social Justice Requirement

English majors in the Class of 2023 and beyond are required to take one course with the Race and Social Justice designation. These courses will introduce students to literatures from minority, ethnic, diasporic, postcolonial, colonial, and/or global traditions. They also aim to examine issues of race through the lenses of ethics, social justice, respect for human dignity, and the sustainability of the world in which we live. These courses have the ENRJ attribute code and are included in departmental course listings. 

Departmental Seminar Requirement

English majors in the Class of 2023 and beyond are required to take one 4000-level departmental seminar. These seminars can be taken in a student's junior or senior year. Departmental seminars are capped at 15 students each and will provide students with a chance to delve deeply into the study of a particular subject. As part of the seminar, students will also work closely with their instructor to complete a final research project or comparable assignment that allows them to develop their skills as thinkers and writers. These courses have the ENSM attribute code and are included in departmental course listings.

Creative Writing and Public and Professional Writing Courses

English majors may apply up to two creative writing or public and professional writing courses toward their elective requirements. Majors who wish to take additional creative writing and/or public and professional writing courses should consider the creative writing minor, the English major with a creative writing concentration, and/or the public and professional writing minor. These courses have the CVW attribute code (for creative writing courses) or the PPWF or PPWD attribute codes (for public and professional writing courses) and are included in departmental course listings. ENGL 3003 Introduction to Professional Writing also counts toward this two-course maximum.

Additional Information

  1. English majors will receive credit toward the major for certain courses offered by other departments and  programs if they carry an ENGL attribute or an ENGL course number. Up to two additional cognate courses in other departments or programs that are deemed relevant to the major may be counted with permission of the associate chair. A list of courses offered in other areas can be found in the Bulletin
  2. Up to two courses may be double counted between major and major. That is, each of the two courses may be counted for both an English major and another, related major. Only one course may be double counted between major and minor. 
  3. Up to two courses taken abroad with content clearly related to literary study may be considered for credit toward the major. 
  4. For students who transfer from another school to Fordham, the department will consider counting up to two courses taken prior to arrival at Fordham toward the major.
  5. Credits earned for internships do not count for credit toward the English major. Internship credits do count for general credits toward graduation. In order to receive academic credit for an internship, you must have completed 60 academic credits, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and register for a tutorial with a faculty member who agrees to serve as your academic adviser. Depending on the amount of academic work involved in the tutorial, your faculty mentor will suggest that you register for a one- or two-credit tutorial. Internships are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. 
  6. Advanced Placement credits in English Literature and in English Language count toward a student’s total number of credits in the college but not within the major. A score of 4 or 5 in AP English Literature will count toward college elective credits. 
  7. Courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis cannot be counted towards English major requirements.


The major in English is available at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and Fordham's School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Rose Hill, Lincoln Center, and Westchester. 

Fordham College at Rose Hill students: The requirements above are in addition to those of the Core Curriculum.

Fordham College at Lincoln Center students: The requirements above are in addition to those of the Core Curriculum.

Professional and Continuing Studies students: The requirements above are in addition to those of the PCS Core Curriculum and any additional electives that may be required to earn a minimum of 124 credits.