1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

The English Major

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Professor Brad Pasanek, bmp7e@virginia.edu

Declaring the major: If you have completed most of the area requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, and you have enrolled in the prerequisite course(s) for the major as detailed below, you may declare your English major at any time. Detailed instructions for declaring the major are available here.

The prerequisite: Students may take one of two paths into the major.

1) In the recommended path, students complete one ENLT (or ENGL) 2000-level course with a grade of C- or better. This course prepares students for upper-division departmental coursework, and also provides three hours of credit toward the major.

2) In the alternative path, a student who takes any two upper-division courses in the department (3000-level or above, in literature not creative writing), with an average grade of B across those courses, may declare the major without enrolling in an ENLT 2000-level course. Again, these courses provide credit toward the major.

The program of study: The degree in English requires ten courses (30 credits), as specified below. All courses must be at the upper-division level (numbered 3000 or above), with the exception of the single ENLT 2000-level prerequisite course.

1. Beginning in AY 2015-16, the ENGL sequence becomes two courses (ENGL 3810 and ENGL 3820). Information for students who have already started the sequence is available here.

2. One course in literature before 1700 (usually ENMD or ENRN) and one course in literature 1700-1900 (usually ENEC, ENNC, or some ENAM). (If you declare the major before August 2015, your SIS Academic Requirements will reflect the old requirement for "two courses in literature published before 1800, only one of which may be in Shakespeare," and you may choose to fulfill your distribution requirement under that old rule. If you want to fulfill your distribution requirement under the new rule instead, see the instructions here.)

3. One 4000-level seminar in literature.

4. Elective courses to bring the total number of courses to ten. Most students will need four electives, including the single ENLT 2000-level course, in addition to fulfilling the requirements above.

Additional rules: 1. The “eight course rule”: Eight of the ten courses for the major must be taken in the English department at UVa. With permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, up to two major electives may be taken either in other departments on campus, or as transfer credit from other institutions, including study abroad programs. Courses taken outside the department may not fulfill distribution requirements.

2. One of the two courses from outside the department allowed to count as a major elective may be in the literature of a language other than English, taught either in that language or in translation. These courses may be taught at the 2000-level or above. Grammar and composition courses do not count. Examples of such courses include CPLT 2010 or 2020, ITTR 2260, RUTR 3910, SATR 3000.

3. The “three course rule”: No more than three courses in the major course of study may fall into any single mnemonic category (ENMD, ENRN, ENEC, ENNC, ENMC, ENAM). As well, no more than three courses in total may fall under either of the main writing rubrics (ENWR and ENCW). Exceptions to this rule include students participating in the Distinguished Majors Program, who must take five courses in the ENGL category; and students enrolled in one of the area programs, who may take additional courses within appropriate rubrics as specified.

4. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in major courses is required. Courses in which a student receives a grade lower than C- will not count toward the major.

5. Independent study: Only one semester of independent study, in literature or writing, may be counted toward the major. Students may apply to take an independent study only if they have completed four 3000- or 4000-level courses in English and they have achieved a major GPA of at least 3.30. Both ENGL 4993 (critical projects) and ENWR 4993 (creative writing projects) allow considerable flexibility, with no formal limitations on the project’s nature, as long as a faculty member is willing to direct the independent study. To request an independent study course, students (and their faculty advisors) should apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the semester prior to that in which they wish to pursue their project. The application form may be accessed here or in Bryan 236.

English Students Association

The English Students Association is a new organization on Grounds that seeks to bring English majors and prospective majors together socially, creatively, and academically as we navigate our time together at UVA and begin to prepare for the future. The group is structured around monthly main meetings, which include food, presentations given by featured students, department announcements, and programs geared toward career development. The organization also runs a mentorship network, to connect undergraduates in a peer advising system and alumni to undergraduates for career counseling. The English Students Association seeks to foster the already vibrant English community, inspiring and equipping its members to cultivate relationships, build dreams, and bring about new realities at UVA. For further information and upcoming events, check out the English Students Association website here.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.