|Here's a picture of me demonstrating my love of English by sitting proudly on a throne of books.|
I've always loved reading and writing, so coming into college I knew I wanted to major in English. I was familiar with Shakespeare, Dickens, and the like, but I had no idea how many centuries of literature I'd have to cover in order to fulfill my major. When I read up on the English major, I was overwhelmed by the number of required courses and I didn't know where to begin so I just picked a course blindly: American Fictions taught by Stephen Railton. I absolutely loved the course and soon asked Professor Railton to be my advisor, but to those of you who'd like a little more direction than I had right off the bat, here are some fast facts about the English major:
- Before you declare your English major, you must do one of two things: either take one ENLT or ENGL 2000-level course OR take two upper-level English courses (3000-level or higher). I took an ENLT with Professor Railton called Contemporary American Drama in which the class read about eight different plays, writing two papers on any two productions of our choosing. Not only did I enjoy reading the plays, but watching select scenes in lecture offered a neat perspective to the written works that helped strengthen my arguments in my essays.
- Of the 30 required credits in the English major, six must come from two "survey" courses: ENGL3810 (literature from the Anglo-Saxon era to 1800) and ENGL3820 (1800 - present).
- You will also be required to take one course in literature before 1700. For this requirement I highly recommend the Shakespeare Courses taught each semester by Katherine Maus. Her lectures are incredibly interesting and Professor Maus's enthusiasm for her subject is contagious. I took the course offered last semester, Tragedies and Histories, and I recommend it to everyone - English majors and others!
- Another requirement is a course in literature from 1700-1900. I took Eighteenth-Century Women Writers with Alison Hurley and loved it! The reading was pretty heavy, but Professor Hurley is a wonderful lecturer and grades pretty fairly. Also, there are plenty of opportunities to raise your grade if you don't do well on the papers because of weekly quizzes which are often open book!