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.

The major emphasizes the historical reach of literary study through its historical distribution requirement. The theory requirement introduces influential concepts and debates underlying the study of language, literature, and their cultural impact. The range of electives and seminars that make up the bulk of the curriculum allows for flexibility in designing individual majors while ensuring a comprehensive grasp of the varieties of literary study.

The English major consists of a total of ten required courses. Courses in which a student received a grade of D or F will not count toward the major or minor. 

Students may alternatively pursue an English Major with a Creative Writing concentration, whose requirements are listed separately.

The English major and the Core Curriculum: All English majors are required to fulfill the first-level core English requirements (ENGL 1102 and ENGL 2000) before beginning the major, but neither ENGL 1102 nor ENGL 2000 counts toward the major. However, if an English elective is taken toward the core requirement in Advanced Disciplinary Courses in Literature, History, and Social Science, that elective will count as one of the ten courses in the major.

Course Title Credits
Junior Theory Requirement
Select one of the following courses
THEORY FOR ENGLISH MAJORS
THEORY OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Historical Distribution Requirement
Select at least three courses from the following list of courses covering a historical period before 1800 2
ENGLISH LITERATURE: BEOWULF TO 1660
CREATIVE WRITING CAPSTONE
MEDIEVAL MONSTERS
MEDIEVAL LITERATURE
APOCALYPTIC REPRESENTATION BEFORE 1800
MEDIEVAL DRAMA
EARLY ENGLISH DRAMA
CHAUCER
ARTHURIAN LITERATURE
MEDIEVAL ROMANCE
INTRODUCTION TO OLD ENGLISH
MEDIEVAL WOMEN WRITERS
THE PEARL POET AND HIS BOOK
BEOWULF IN OLD ENGLISH
DREAMS IN MIDDLE AGES
MEDIEVAL TOLERANCE AND INTOLERANCE
MEDIEVAL CHIVALRY
LOVE IN THE MIDDLE AGES
MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: 1000-1330
MEDIEVAL MYSTICS
MYTH OF THE HERO: MEDIEVAL MEMORY
VISIONS AND MEDIEVAL LITERATURE
SHAKESPEARE
MILTON
SHAKESPEARE AND THE ANCIENTS
SHAKESPEARE'S HISTORY PLAYS
SHAKESPEARE AND POPULAR CULTURE
STAGING THE MEDITERRANEAN
STAGE VENGEANCE
EARLY RENAISSANCE POETRY
FOPS AND COQUETTES IN 18TH CENTURY LITERATURE
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
THE RISE OF THE NOVEL
DEVILS, FOOLS, MADMEN
JONATHAN SWIFT AND THE ART OF SATIRE
OPENING HEADS: WRITING ABOUT MINDS AND BRAINS BEFORE 1800
LAUGH. CRV. HUM. QUAKE
EARLY WOMEN NOVELISTS
PLAYS AND PLAYERS: 1600-1700
SLAVERY AND 18TH CENTURY LITERATURE
PLAYS AND PLAYERS, 1700-1800
CAPTIVES, CANNIBALS AND REBELS: (ADVANCED LITERATURE CORE)
EARLY MODERN POETRY AND DRAMA 1579-1625
EARLY AMERICAN NOVEL
ROMANTICISM AND CONFESSION
ASIAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE 1
AGE OF ROMANTICISM
JANE AUSTEN IN CONTEXT
POEMS OF SHAKESPEARE AND OTHERS
SATIRE, SEX, STYLE: THE AGE OF THOMAS NASHE
AMERICAN LITERATURE TO 1870
EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE
ONE BIG BOOK
SATIRE BEFORE 1800
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
17TH CENTURY TEXTS: SKEPTICISM AND AFFIRMATION
THE MEDIEVAL TRAVELER
SEMINAR: MILTON
SEMINAR: NOVELS BY WOMEN: JANE AUSTEN TO TONI MORRISON
LOVE AND SEX IN EARLY MODERN LITERATURE
BIBLE IN ENGLISH POETRY
DEATH IN THE MIDDLE AGES
SHAKESPEARE: TEXT AND PERFORMANCE
FOOD AND GLOBALIZATION
MEDIEVAL DRAMA IN PERFORMANCE
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND OCEANS
SHAKESPEARE'S CONTEMPORARIES
ROMANTICISM AND REVOLUTION
English Electives

Junior Theory Requirement

All majors are required to take ENGL 3045 THEORY FOR ENGLISH MAJORS or ENGL 3000/COLI 3000 THEORY OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE. Usually taken during the junior year, these courses introduce the English major 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

From the nine remaining elective courses, at least three must be designated in a historical period before 1800. While the English curriculum grants students considerable freedom to pursue their individual interests, the department urges majors to consult regularly with their advisors in selecting their electives in order to ensure historical diversity in their course of study.

Creative Writing Courses

English majors may apply up to two writing courses (either English creative writing courses at the 3000-level or above, or communication courses cross-listed with English) toward their elective requirements. Majors who wish to take more writing courses should consider the creative writing minor or the English major with a creative writing concentration.

Recommendations and additional information

  1. ENGL 3045 THEORY FOR ENGLISH MAJORS should ordinarily be taken during the junior year, but sophomores may also enroll.
  2. English majors should take a seminar (4000-level course) during their senior year.
  3. English majors will receive credit toward the major for certain courses with an interdisciplinary or comparative literature focus if they carry an ENGL attribute or an ENGL course number.  Up to two additional "cognate courses" in other department or programs that are deemed relevant to the major may be counted with permission of the associate chair. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Up to two courses taken abroad with content clearly related to literary study may be considered for credit toward the major. 
  6. Credits earned for internship do not count for credit toward the English major, the English major with a Creative Writing Concentration, the English minor, or the Creative Writing minor. 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 you must register for a tutorial with a faculty member who agrees to serve as academic advisor. 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 internship. Internships are graded on a pass/fail basis. 

Availability

The major in English is available at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and Fordham 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.