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. Neither ENGL 1102 nor ENGL 2000 counts toward the major; however, English electives taken toward the core requirement in Advanced Disciplinary Courses in literature, history, and social science do count as one of the 11 courses in the major.

Summary of Requirements

Course Title Credits
One Junior Theory Requirement course
Three Historical Distribution courses
Six Electives 1
Up to two may be Creative Writing courses

Requirements in Detail/Supplementary information

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.

ENGL 3045 THEORY FOR ENGLISH MAJORS should ordinarily be taken during the junior year, but sophomores may also enroll.

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.

These courses have the ENHD attribute code and are included in the departmental course listings.

Creative Writing Courses

English majors may apply up to two creative writing courses 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.

These courses have the CVW attribute code and are included in the departmental course listings.

Additional information

  1. English majors should take a seminar (4000-level course) during their senior year.
  2. 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. A list of courses offered in other areas are listed in the Bulletin
  3. 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. 
  4. Up to two courses taken abroad with content clearly related to literary study may be considered for credit toward the major. 
  5. 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. 


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.