Major Options and Requirements

The English major requires a minimum of 30 credits in intermediate or advanced courses. All students must take English 241 and 242. All major courses are taken for 3 credits. Students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. All level courses numbered 204 and above count toward this requirement.

Students can choose one emphasis amongst three possible tracks in the Department:

       Undergraduate Major Tracks

Additionally, qualifying students may consider adding Honors in the Major or pursuing a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL). You can read more about specific requirements for each of these tracks and specializations under the appropriate tab below.

Have questions about the major beyond what's covered here? Check out our list of frequently asked questions or contact our undergraduate adviser, Karen Redfield.

Literature Emphasis

Description: Literature serves as the general emphasis for most majors in English. Your coursework will expose you to a wide range of English, American, and Anglophone literature from the medieval era to the present.

Requirements: Minimum of 30 credits at the intermediate or advanced level, for a total of 10 courses.

Course Breakdown:

Credits 
 Courses

 3

English 241: Literature and Culture to the 18th Century 

 3

English 242: Literature and Culture from the 18th Century

 3

One course in American Literature

 6

Two pre-1800 courses, one of which can (but needn't be) Shakespeare

 3

English 214: The English Language OR one course in Composition and Rhetoric

 3

English 245: Seminar in the Major

 9

Three additional electives

 

Creative Writing Emphasis

Description: Undergraduate with a particular interest in creative writing may combine a background in literature with a concentration of courses in fiction or poetry writing.

Requirements: Minimum of 30 credits at the intermediate or advanced level, for a total of 10 courses. Students must also complete three creative writing workshops and a capstone directed writing course across four different semesters.

You can find out more about the program on the Creative Writing website.

Course Breakdown:

 Credits
 Courses 

 3

English 241: Literature and Culture to the 18th Centur

 3

English 242: Literature and Culture from the 18th Century

 3

One course in American Literature

 3

English 245: Seminar in the Major

3

English 214: The English Language OR one course in Composition and Rhetoric

 3

One English elective numbered above 300

9

Three creative writing workshops numbered above 300

3

English 695: Directed Creative Writing

 **Note: Workshops numbered 301-307 may be repeated for credit. Students are allowed to take only one creative writing workshop a semester. All three required workshops must be completed prior to taking the Directed Creative Writing course (English 695).

Honors in Creative Writing (post-August 2014):

English 241

English 242

English 243 or any American literature course

English 381 or 245

English 214 or 204

English 481

4 Creative Writing workshops

English 695

Language & Linguistics Emphasis

Description: Undergraduate who wishes to combine a background in literature with a concentration of courses in the history and structure of the English language should consider this emphasis. Beyond core coursework in English literature, students will also receive training about the structure of English, phonology, and related topics.

Requirements: Minimum of 30 credits at the intermediate or advanced level, for a total of 10 courses. Students must also complete five courses (see below) in the field of language and linguistics.

Course Breakdown:

 Credits
 Courses 
      3
English 241: Literature and Culture to the 18th Century
      3 English 242: Literature and Culture from the 18th Century

 3

One course in American Literature

 3

English 245: Seminar in the Major

 3

English 214: The English Language

 3

English 314 Structure of English

 3

English 516: English Grammar in Use OR English 514: English Syntax

 3

English 315: English Phonology

 6

Six more credits from the following: English 316, 318, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 514, 516, 520, 522 or 204

Honors Degree in English

Description: Honors allows you to work closely with a professor on an independent project, deepening your scholarship and writing skills. Students wishing to complete Honors in the Department of English should meet with the Honors Coordinator or the Undergraduate Advisor to discuss the application process and their personal plan to complete the honors curriculum. We suggest that, if possible, students begin the honors curriculum in their sophomore year. Students wishing to earn Honors in the Major must first declare the English major and then apply for admission to the honors program.

Entrance Requirements: In order to gain entrance to the Honors program in English students must (1) declare the English major, (2) complete six credits of English coursework in English 241, 242, OR 243 AND one additional course in the major, and (3) maintain a 3.5 GPA in English courses.

Graduation Requirements: In order to graduate a Honors in the English major, students must (1) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5 in major courses, (2) achieve a minimum GPA of 3.3 in all University coursework, and (3) have taken at least 12 credits in English for honors credit.

Notes: For the current (pre-August 2014) Honors in the major, you must take 5 Honors classes. For the new (post-August 2014) Honors, you must take 4 Honors classes. Some classes are listed as Honors or Honors-option in your student center. Other classes may be taken for Honors if you receive permission from you professor in his/her course. This may involve some extra work for the course.

Creative Writing Students: Please see the Creative Writing tab for the specific requirements for Honors in the Creative Writing track.

Course Breakdown:

 Honors Courses
English 241: Literature and Culture to the 18th Century 
English 242: Literature and Culture from the 18th Century
One course in American Literature
Two pre-1800 courses, one of which can (but needn't be) Shakespeare
English 245 (seminar) OR English 381
English 214: The English Language OR English 204
English 481
English 680: 1 semester Honors project - If you choose this option you must take one more H-designated class
English 681 (1st semester of thesis)
AND
English 682 (2nd semester of thesis)

 

TESOL Certificate

Description: A Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is available to undergraduate students who wish to teach English as a foreign or second language, normally in positions abroad.

Requirements: The student must: complete a 21-credit program of prescribed upper-division courses, including a practicum, with a minimum GPA of 3.0; (if a native speaker of English) have satisfactorily completed at least four college-level terms (or the equivalent) of a modern foreign language, including its spoken form; and demonstrate the ability to speak and write English at a level commensurate with the role of language model. (Course listings and information here.)

This certificate records a course of study at UW-Madison; it is not necessarily equivalent to professional certification by other bodies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Read more here on the English as a Second Language page here.