The English Major
Links to Additional Resources:
Why be an English major? See our FAQ!
Handout: Internships and Professional Development Courses in English and Writing
The English Department offers a wide array of courses in every major field of British and American literary studies. Our dynamic program strikes a balance between traditional and emerging approaches to the study of literature. We are attuned alike to literary history and literary theory, close reading and cultural context, aesthetics and politics. We teach and publish scholarly works on subjects ranging from Anglo-Saxon poetry to post-colonial film, from Shakespeare to Hemingway, Austen to Morrison, aesthetic analysis to queer theory, epic to epigram, and everything in between.
Our small class sizes encourage vigorous discussion of literature and make it possible for faculty members to work closely with students on their writing. In addition to being a foundation of a liberal arts education, the English major or minor provides an excellent platform for post-graduate study in fields including law, medicine, literature, business, and the creative and performing arts. Our majors and minors have careers in publishing, business, finance, accounting, human resources, consulting, social work, civil service, film, the arts, education, and more.
Major Requirements (33 Hours)
Click here to see the major requirements checklist for your declaration year.
Three major gateway courses (9 hours):
- ENG 265, British Literature before 1800
- ENG 266, British Literature 1800 to the Present, or ENG 275, American Literature (select one)
- ENG 290, Foundations in Literary Criticism
21 hours of English, Creative Writing, and Writing courses at the 300 level:*
These must include courses that satisfy the major’s “overlay” requirements: two 300-level courses in pre-1800 literature, one 300-level American Literature course, and one 300-level Race, Racialization, and Racial Formation course.
- Some courses may satisfy more than one overlay requirement, but combining overlays will not reduce the 21 hours of 300-level courses required for the major.
The overlay designation for a particular course number may vary from one semester to the next, depending on the instructor and topic; please consult the course descriptions posted on the English department website each semester to confirm the overlay designation for a specific course.
- Majors may count up to two 300-level Creative Writing or Writing courses toward the major.
3 hours of major electives at the 100 level or above:
- Three hours of any ENG course at the 100, 200, or 300 level
- Or any Creative Writing or Writing course at the 200 level or above.
*Majors who declared the major before Fall 2022 are required to take upper-level courses from four major groups (Genre & Aesthetics, History & Intellectual History, Culture, and Single Author). Please see the Undergraduate Bulletin and our major checklists for each declaration year’s specific requirements.
Majors and their advisers plan individual programs to meet these requirements; majors are encouraged to take their gateway requirements as early as possible in their college careers.
Minimum GPA and other requirements:
- No more than two courses (six hours) taken elsewhere may be counted toward the major. This limitation applies to courses taught in approved non-Wake Forest programs, not to courses in programs offered or sponsored by Wake Forest.
- A minimum grade-point average of 2.0 in courses which comprise the major or minor is required for graduation with any major or minor this department offers.
- Students may take only one version of a given course for credit, with the exception of a few generalized course numbers like ENG 301, ENG 302, ENG 326, ENG 340, ENG 344, ENG 345, and ENG 346, which may be repeated when offered on different subjects.