English Major

In lower-division courses, students improve essential skills needed to understand and interpret literature and to express their ideas in writing. Emphasizing poetry as well as prose, these courses invite students to read literature within a variety of social, cultural and ethnic contexts.

Upper-division courses encourage a sense of literary history and tradition as well as an understanding of adaptation and change in cultural and literary conventions. With the freedom afforded by upper division electives, students can explore a broad range of world literatures to examine different genres and historical periods, or to nurture a specific interest through a series of related classes.

The Senior Project option provides a further opportunity for in-depth study in the student's chosen area.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2016-2017, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on October 1, 2016. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Major Requirements (45 units)

Students majoring in English must satisfy the core curriculum requirements as set forth in this course catalog and complete all major requirements as presented in the following schedule:

Lower Division (12 units)
ENGL 250Literary Foundations3
ENGL 260Critical Reading3
Select 6 units from the following:6
Studies in Genre
Studies in Literary Traditions
Studies in United States Literature
Studies in World Literature
Upper Division (33 units) 1
ENGL 410Advanced Writing in the English Major3
Literary Histories - Select two of the following courses:6
Genres and Traditions
Literary Periods
Topics in Literary Histories
Literary Cultures and Theories - Select two of the following courses:6
Literature of Race, Gender and Sexuality
Literary Theory
Topics in Literary Cultures and Theories
Upper-Division Electives (18 units, including at least two Literature courses)
Upper-Division Literature courses 26
Additional Upper-Division electives 312

The department recommends that Majors and Minors complete the lower division Literary Foundations and Critical Readings requirement before beginning upper division work. We also recommend that the Advanced Writing course be taken in the junior year.


Literature courses include ENGL 300, ENGL 311, ENGL 315, ENGL 319, ENGL 321, ENGL 325, ENGL 329, ENGL 330, ENGL 331, ENGL 333, ENGL 335, ENGL 337, ENGL 338, ENGL 340, ENGL 341, ENGL 342, ENGL 343, ENGL 344, ENGL 348, ENGL 352, ENGL 355, ENGL 356, ENGL 357, ENGL 358, ENGL 359, ENGL 360, ENGL 362, ENGL 364, ENGL 366, ENGL 367, ENGL 368, ENGL 370, ENGL 372, ENGL 374, ENGL 377, ENGL 420, ENGL 495.


Additional Upper-Division Electives may be fulfilled with any literature course or creative writing course. Up to 6 units may be  or Southeast San Diego Tuting Program (ENGL 492) or Writing Center Tuts (ENGL 493), or Internship (ENGL 498).

The Emphasis in Creative Writing

The creative writing emphasis in poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction builds upon the foundation established in ENGL 301 and prepares students for courses in the genre they choose to explore. More specifically, the creative writing courses help students realize the daily discipline, diligence, and concentrated attention required of the serious writer. They promote writing as an art, craft, and ultimately a vocation—one not to be entered into lightly. All students who continue from the introductory to intermediate and advanced levels also become more discerning readers.

Emphasis Requirement (12 units)
ENGL 301Introduction to Creative Writing3
Intermediate and Advanced courses in a single genre6
Intermediate Poetry Writing
and Advanced Poetry Writing
Intermediate Fiction Writing
and Advanced Fiction Writing
Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing
and Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing
Select 1 "crossover" course in a genre other than the student's specified genre from the following choices*:3
Intermediate Poetry Writing
Intermediate Fiction Writing
Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing
Topics in Creative Writing
Advanced Composition

*Other upper-division creative writing courses students wish to substitute for their “crossover” course must be approved by the program director and English department chair.

Recommended Program of Study

Fulfill the lower-division requirements in your first and second years. The lower division introduces you to foundational works (ENGL 250) and to critical approaches (ENGL 260), and allows you to explore among electives. In the upper division, it is recommended that you take ENGL 410 early on, as preparation for advanced work. You will study Literary Histories and Literary Cultures and Theories, and in the rest of your upper-division studies you may pursue your interests among a variety of literature courses, creative writing courses, and internships and research opportunities. All students should consider taking the English capstone, Senior Project.

Distributional requirements can also be fulfilled by certain sections of ENGL 494.  See the department chair.

Upper-Division Electives

English majors take a total of 18 units of upper-division electives. Any course in the 300s or 400s counts as an elective - students are encouraged to explore. In the Creative Writing Emphasis, 12 units will be in creative writing, and the remaining 6 units must be in literature courses (see list above). Majors may take a maximum of 6 units in tutoring and internships (ENGL 492, ENGL 493, ENGL 498).

Advanced Writing Courses

All English majors must take ENGL 410, which fulfills the Core requirement for Advanced Writing. Majors may not fulfill the Core Advanced Writing requirement with ENGL 304, although they may take this course as an upper-division elective.