Programs of Study

In addition to the major requirements, please see declaring and advising for other important information. 

Undergraduates who declare their English major will progress towards the degree under the following requirements. However, students declaring the English major with the Creative Writing will need to allot one extra slot for their fourth 100-level Creative Writing course, as there will now be only 3 electives in the English major.

  1. For general information concerning requirements leading to the B.A. degree in Columbian College see the current Undergraduate Bulletin, including the General Curriculum Requirements. Strictly speaking, the Bulletin for the year in which you were admitted to degree candidacy in Columbian College defines the requirements for your degree. Exceptions to English requirements are made only by petition to the Director of Undergraduate Advising.
  2. Prerequisite courses: English 1050, 1310, 1320, 1330, 1340, 1351, 1410, 1411, 1510, 1511, 1710, 1711, 1712, 1830, 1840, but not 1210.  A score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in English Literature, or of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB Exam English A1, will fulfill this requirement. For additional questions about the applicability of credits earned outside GW, see the DUA.
  3. Required for the major: 33 hours of upper-level courses [numbered 2000 or above] offered by the Department. Most of these courses will involve literary and cultural studies, but up to 3 upper-level courses in expository or creative writing may be included as electives. With the approval of the DUA, up to 2 courses in a foreign literature, in the original language or in translation, may be used as electives. For the purpose of the English major, literature not initially published in English will be considered “foreign” literature--whether studied in the original or in translation, at GW or elsewhere--unless it qualifies as “postcolonial” literature.

Students must now register for the following classes in English and American literature:

  1. Two courses in literature written before 1700
  2. Two courses in literature written between 1700-1900
  3. One course in literature post-1900
  4. English 2800 (Critical Methods)
  5. One additional course in cultural studies or critical theory
  6. One additional course in minority or postcolonial literature
  7. Three English Department courses of the student’s choice as electives

Practically speaking, this means that English department courses now fall under the following rubrics:

Literature in English before 1700:

  • 3410 Chaucer
  • 3420 Medieval Literature
  • 3430 English Renaissance 1515-1625
  • 3441 Shakespeare #1 (fall)
  • 3441 Shakespeare #2 (spring)
  • 3450 Special Topics in Shakespeare
  • 3460 Milton
  • 3810W Epic and Romance: When Worlds Collide
  • 3810 Renaissance Drama 
  • 3910  Identity and Disability in Medieval Culture
  • 3470 English Drama to 1660 (fall)
  • 4135 Folger Seminar

“Before 1700” OR “1700-1900,” but not both:

  • 3490 Early American Literature

Literature in English between 1700 and 1900:

  • 3480 18th Century #1 (fall)
  • 3481 18th Century #2 (spring)
  • 3530 The Romantic Movement
  • 3540 Victorian literature #1 (fall) 1830-1865
  • 3541 Victorian literature #2 (spring) 1865-1900
  • 3550 English Novel #1: 18th Century
  • 3551 English Novel #2: 19th Century
  • 3520 American Romanticism
  • 3560 American Realism
  • 3570 19th-Century Black Literature
  • 3620 American Poetry #1 (fall): beginnings through early 20th Century
  • 3640 American Novel #1 (fall): beginning through 19th Century
  • 3820 Melville and Whitman

“Between 1700-1900” OR “After 1900,” but not both:

  • 3510 Children’s Literature

Literature in English after 1900 (See also minority/postcolonial list):

  • 3660 Irish Literature #1
  • 3661 Irish Literature #2
  • 3710 Contemporary Drama, since 1960
  • 3621 American Poetry #2 (spring) Early 20th century to present
  • 3630 American Drama #1 (fall) 19th century through 1950s
  • 3631 American Drama #2 (spring) 1960s-present
  • 3641 American Novel #2 (spring) 20th century
  • 3850 Ethnicity and Place
  • 3650 Short Story
  • 3730 Selected Topics in Postcolonial Literature
  • 3720 Contemporary American Literature #1 (fall)
  • 3721 Contemporary American Literature #2 (spring)
  • 3810 Jewish Literature Live
  • 3810 Modernism and the "lost generation"
  • 3810 Latino Literature
  • 3826 Morrison and Faulkner
  • 3920 U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture
  • 3915  Madness in Literature 
  • 3930  Topics in U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture  
  • 3960 Asian American Literature

“After 1900” or “Theory & Cultural Studies,” but not both:

  • 3610 Modernism

Theory & Cultural Studies

  • 2800 Critical Methods
  • 2240 Play Analysis
  • 3830 Aesthetics
  • 3840 Gender and Literature
  • 3860 History of the English Language
  • 4040 Senior Honors Seminar (fall) by application in spring of junior year only
  • 4250 Senior Honors Seminar (spring) by application in spring of junior year only
  • See also courses listed below.

Theory and Culture Studies OR Minority/Postcolonial, but not both:

  • 3910 Disability Studies
  • 3930 Topics in U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture
  • 3950 Cultural Theory and Black Studies
  • 3965 Topics in Asian American Literature and Culture
  • 3980 Queer Studies

Minority or Postcolonial Literatures:

Each of the following courses may count in the minority postcolonial category OR another category, but not both:

  • 3570 19th-Century Black Literature (may count as Literature in English between 1700 and 1900)
  • 3660 Irish Literature #1 (may count as after 1900)
  • 3661 Irish Literature #2 (may count as after 1900)
  • 3850 Ethnicity and Place (may count as after 1900)
  • 3730 Selected Topics in Postcolonial Literature (may count as after 1900)
  • 3810 Latino Literature
  • 3826 Morrison and Faulkner
  • 3850 Ethnicity and Place (may count as after 1900)
  • 3920  U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture
  • 3930  Topics in U.S. Latina/o Literature and Culture
  • 3940 Topics in African American Literature Studies (19th or 20th century depending on the section)
  • 3960 Asian American Literature (may count as after 1900)
  • 3970 Jewish American Literature (may count as after 1900)


  • 3471 English Drama #2 (spring), 1660-present
  • 3820 Major Authors
  • 3810 Selected Topics in Literature (periods TBA for individual sections)
  • 3940 Topics in African American Literature Studies (19th or 20th century, TBA for individual sections)
  • Look for complete details in the most recent University Bulletin.

The application deadline for acceptance into the English and Creative Writing Major is usually at the end of February.

This 39-hour major combines the 24 hours of required specific-category courses of the regular English major with 15 hours in Creative Writing, including a Senior Thesis (Engl 194, a project involving the completion of a manuscript of poetry or fiction under the close supervision of a member of the full-time creative writing staff).

Admission to the major, restricted to a small number of students, is determined before the senior year, typically in the second semester of a student’s junior year. Students interested in applying for this major should speak with the Director of Creative Writing, currently Professor Thomas Mallon, at their earliest opportunity. Students interested in this program should probably declare an English major and a Creative Writing minor, hoping to gain entry into the combined major during their junior year.

Students may select as many courses in Creative Writing as they wish, starting with Engl 1210, Introduction to C.W. For 100-level courses in C.W., both two semesters of literary study, preferably in English or American literature (e.g., Engl 1410, 1411, 1510, 1511), and Engl 1210 are prerequisite. Note that C.W. courses are arranged in hierarchical sequences: 2460 is prerequisite to 2560, which is prerequisite to 3360; 2470 is prerequisite to 2570, which is rerequisite to 3370; 2250 is prerequisite to 3250; and any 100-level C.W. course is prerequisite to 181. Engl 116 and 117 may be repeated for credit, as may Engl 181 (so long as it is taught by a different instructor). Those pursuing a minor in C.W., or a major in the new field of English and Creative Writing, take a pattern of courses designed to encourage significant development of their skills as writers. The Director of Creative Writing serves as official advisor for these programs, although individual students work closely with and may seek advice from all members of the faculty. Engl 4470, the Internship course, is available to students pursuing the new English and Creative Writing major.

Either ENGL 1310 or one of the following two-course introductory sequences: ENGL 1410-1411, 1830-1840, 1510-1511, 1710-1711; HMN 1001-1002, and five 2000-level or higher literature courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor in the department.

ENGL 1210, either ENGL 1310 or a two-course introductory sequence (see "The Minor in English," above), and five upper-level [generally courses numbered 2000 or higher] English courses, of which four must be in creative writing, including at least three in poetry [ENGL 2470, 2570, and 3370 or 3380], at least three in fiction [ENGL 2460, 2560, and 3360 or 3380], or at least two in playwriting [ENGL 2250, 3250].

In addition to meeting the general requirements stated under University Regulations, candidates for graduation with Special Honors in Dramatic Literature must have a grade point average of 3.4 in the major and complete TrDa 4599, Honors Thesis with a grade of A. They must consult with a faculty advisor at the beginning of the second semester of the junior year to determine eligibility, area of study, and the director of the research or creative project.