Jul 16, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English Major

The major consists of a minimum of 11 full courses (or the equivalent) and language competency.

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.

arrow View the catalog page for the English department.  

The English major is designed to meet the needs of students with various goals, including those seeking a foundation for postgraduate work or study in fields related to English (e.g., education, communications, media, editing and publishing, law, theater, etc.) and those who want a humanistic base in reading, thinking, and writing for a liberal arts education without established career plans. The English major has proven to be valuable training—in attentiveness, complex thinking, interaction, communication—for virtually all professions. Many students realize that English is a complementary second major, given that it aims to educate a person broadly, rather than train for a specific path.

Note(s) on Requirements

  • Students must complete a minimum of eight English courses (i.e., courses with the ENGL prefix, including those cross-listed with English courses).
  • FYSP courses do not apply to the major.
  • A maximum of one 100-level ENGL course may count toward the 11 full courses required for the major, but is not required.
  • A maximum of three literature and critical studies courses outside of ENGL are allowed.
  • In lieu of taking courses outside of English, students can complete additional 200-level, 300-level, and/or 400-level English courses to meet the minimum number of courses required for the major.
  • Application for a 400-level course will be required of rising seniors in the second semester of the junior year.

Declaring the Major

Before declaring the major in English, students must complete the following, in consultation with an advisor (a faculty member in the department):

  • a one-page Plan for the Major, including a brief narrative explaining the student’s motivations and goals; and
  • the declaration of major form (available from the AARC/Registrar’s Office).

These plans are important and will be revisited and revised across the student’s career at Oberlin. There is not a single English major sequence. Instead, students, in consultation with their advisors and other faculty, are asked to co-create a customized track through the major. The plan will be updated regularly, giving the student a chance to articulate choices, goals, and to refine both over time.

Transfer of Credit Toward the Major

No more than three full courses of transfer credit in English literature may be applied to the Oberlin English major. (Note: “English literature” generally excludes basic composition, creative writing, and more than one course in literature not written in English.) To have transfer credit approval toward the major and/or toward meeting prerequisites for upper-level courses, students should consult the faculty member in charge of transfer of credit (inquire at the department office), with relevant materials in hand.

Note: AP/IB transfer credit received for ENGL 600 does not count toward the English major.

Course of Study

The department offers a flexible major that can be customized to student interest, within certain limits of course type and level. Students interested in graduate work in English should consult with their advisors about crafting a pathway to that goal.

Honors in English

The Honors Program in English is an intensive year-long program that will also fulfill the requirement for a 400-level course for the major. The two-semester program will include supervised research with a faculty member, submission of a 35-page essay (or equivalent project), and an oral examination on that project. During the fall semester, honors students may meet in a seminar to discuss their projects and common issues in literary criticism and theory. Successful work in the honors program will render a student eligible for consideration for honors at graduation, but it does not guarantee such honors.

Students hoping to do honors are advised to complete the majority of their major requirements and to have done significant work at the advanced level (in 300-level courses) by the end of their junior year.

Qualified students may apply for the honors program during the second semester of their junior year on the basis of their previous record in English. Students should confer with potential faculty supervisors to design a project proposal. Acceptance into the honors program will be based on a minimum major GPA of at least 3.33, the availability of faculty supervisors, the coherence and feasibility of the proposal, and a strong writing sample.

Detailed Major Requirements

English Major Course Lists

200-Level Courses

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300-Level Courses

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Approved English Major Courses

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Note: Students can complete additional 200-level, 300-level, and or 400-level English courses to meet the minimum number of courses required for the major.

Literature and Critical Studies Courses Outside of ENGL

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Note: A maximum of three Literature and Critical Studies Courses outside of ENGL are allowed.

Hispanic Studies Courses

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