Degree Requirements

English Major

Students who major in English must choose an advisor in the English Department to assist them in selecting and sequencing classes to meet their academic and professional goals. All students who major in English must complete a minimum of ten classes in the department, excluding W 101 - First-Year Writing Workshop. The English major and minor each have two options: the literature emphasis and the creative writing emphasis. The two courses of study overlap and complement one another. Both literature and creative writing students should graduate from Denison with a strong knowledge of the history and practice of literary studies.

Each semester, students who want to take classes in English should read the semester's course descriptions, available online and from the English office, which provide more detailed information about specific classes than what appears below.

Literature Emphasis

Students who major in English with the Literature emphasis must take ten courses. All students with the Literature emphasis are strongly urged to begin their coursework with the required "four-of-five" 200-level core courses that provide useful historical and theoretical contexts for subsequent, more focused study in the 300-level seminars. However, because specific seminars are probably not offered every semester, students are encouraged to take seminars, even before they have completed the required surveys, if they are interested in the topic.  ENGL 400 - Senior Seminar is the English capstone course offered every year on a specialized topic. Students who major in English with the Literature emphasis may choose to do a year-long senior research project in literary studies (ENGL 451 - Senior Research - ENGL 452 - Senior Research), which can replace one 300-level seminar requirement. 

English majors with the Literature emphasis must take four of the following five core courses:

  • ENGL 202 - Literary Theory and Critical Methods
  • ENGL 213 - Early British Literature
  • ENGL 214 - 18th and 19th-Century British Literature
  • ENGL 230 - American Literature Before 1900
  • One 200-level 20th-century survey course (either ENGL 219 - 20th-Century Poetry, ENGL 220 - 20th-Century Fiction, ENGL 221 - Literary Nonfiction, ENGL 240 - 20th-Century Drama, or ENGL 250 - Special Topics in 20th-Century Literature)

English majors with the Literature emphasis are also required to take the following:

  • Four 300-level English seminar courses (or three with a year-long senior research project)
  • One elective at any level
  • ENGL 400 - Senior Seminar

Creative Writing Emphasis

Students who major in English with the Creative Writing emphasis must take ten courses. English majors with a Creative Writing emphasis will read and write extensively, learn from practicing published writers, and hone their skills while studying a wide range of literary texts. Students majoring with an emphasis in Creative Writing will choose from a variety of courses divided among workshops and literature courses. The core of the creative writing courses is the workshop. Writing students take a series of increasingly advanced workshops to culminate, in the senior year, in a year-long writing project conducted on campus. The senior capstone is ENGL 453 - Senior Writing Project - ENGL 454 - Senior Writing Project in which students complete a collection of their work (poetry, stories, drama, and/or nonfiction) by year’s end.

English majors with the Creative Writing emphasis must take three of the following five core courses:

  • ENGL 202 - Literary Theory and Critical Methods
  • ENGL 213 - Early British Literature
  • ENGL 214 - 18th and 19th-Century British Literature
  • ENGL 230 - American Literature Before 1900
  • One 200 level 20th-century survey course (either ENGL 219 - 20th-Century Poetry, ENGL 220 - 20th-Century Fiction, ENGL 221 - Literary Nonfiction, ENGL 240 - 20th-Century Drama, or ENGL 250 - Special Topics in 20th-Century Literature)

English majors with the Creative Writing emphasis must take three 300-level English seminars. ENGL 400 - Senior Seminar can count as one of these advanced seminars.

English majors with the Creative Writing emphasis must take four courses in the series of Creative Writing workshops:

  • ENGL 237 - Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENGL 383 - Fiction Writing, ENGL 384 - Creative Nonfiction Writing, or ENGL 385 - Poetry Writing: students choose either Fiction Writing, Nonfiction Writing, or Poetry Writing. (Students may, if their schedules permit, take more than one of these advanced workshops.) Students may not take any of these courses concurrent with the Senior Writing Project.
  • ENGL 453 - Senior Writing Project and ENGL 454 - Senior Writing Project

English 453-454 serves as the capstone experience for English majors with the Creative Writing emphasis; this 8-credit course consists of weekly group workshops, individual tutorials, a monthly colloquium and practicum, as well as a series of master classes and workshops with visiting writers. Students must submit a writing sample and show reasonable progress in creative writing courses at the end of their junior year to get permission to take the year-long senior project to complete the major with a Creative Writing emphasis.

English Minor

The English minor consists of six courses:

To minor in English with a Literature emphasis, students must take three of the five required core 200-level courses (see above) and three courses at the 300 level (one may be at the 400 level). A year-long senior research project may replace one 300-level course.

To minor in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, students must take ENGL 237 - Introduction to Creative Writing, one advanced writing workshop (ENGL 383 - Fiction Writing, ENGL 384 - Creative Nonfiction Writing, or ENGL 385 - Poetry Writing), two of the five required core 200-level courses, and two courses at the 300 level. ENGL 400 - Senior Seminar can count as one of these advanced seminars.

Off-Campus Study

Students partaking in off-campus study during their Denison career can transfer that coursework as part of their major or minor requirements. Typically, an English literature or creative writing major studying abroad for one semester or for a summer term may transfer up to two courses as part of their degree requirements, while a minor studying abroad for one semester or a summer term may transfer one course toward their minor requirements. An English literature or creative writing major studying abroad for a full year may transfer up to three courses as part of their degree requirements, while a minor studying abroad for a full year may transfer up to two courses toward their minor requirements.

English creative writing majors and minors must complete their required workshop sequence (ENGL 237; one of ENGL 383, 384, or 385; and the year-long senior writing project, English 453-454) at Denison. Similarly, English literature majors must complete their required senior seminar (ENGL 400) at Denison. Students should consult with their academic advisors and the department chair regarding their off-campus study coursework.

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