Major requirements

Major Requirements

The English Major consists of no fewer than 12 courses, of which a minimum of 7 need to be upper-division (#100-199) :

  1. English 45A - Literature in English: Through Milton
  2. English 45B - Literature in English: The Late-17th through the Mid-19th Century
  3. English 45C - Literature in English: The Mid-19th through the Mid-20th Century
  4. A course in Shakespeare (17, 117A, 117B, 117J, or 117S)
  5. English 90 Practices of Literary Study (English 90 is a prerequisite for English 100)

  6. English 100 The Seminar in Criticism (English 90 and English 100 must be taken in sequence and in separate semesters prior to enrolling in English 190)

  7. English 190 The Research Seminar or H195A/B - The Honors Seminar 

Five English Department electives

   8. English elective: (Literatures in English) 

   9.  English elective: (Literature Before 1800)

   10. English elective

   11. English elective

   12. English elective

Of the 5 electives listed above, one must fall in the area of pre-1800 English Literature, and another in the area of "Literatures in English." For a list of course offerings this upcoming term in those areas, visit the classes page.

For the 3 remaining electives, choose any four-unit course in the English Department that is of interest to you (Note: no more than 2 English Creative Writing courses; see detailed requirements below). 

If you haven't declared the English major yet, see our Major Completion Sheet. This will help you plan your schedule. Once you declare, make sure to consistently check your Academic Progress Report (APR) to make sure you are on track for graduation.

Transfer Students

Articulated Coursework

It is important to review what classes transfer into UC Berkeley for your English major by viewing the articulation agreements on Assist.org. Not sure how to use Assist? View our Assist.org “How-To” document. Transfer students entering the third-year class may be able to apply credit for ENGLISH 90 by transferring qualified literature courses completed at their prior college. To ascertain which courses are already articulated with English 90, check ASSIST; if you think that another of your other upper-level community college courses might qualify, consult with an Undergraduate Major Advisor. (Composition courses are not eligible.) If you took an approved English 90 on ASSIST, then enroll in English 100 for your first term at Cal.

Detailed Requirements

Policies About Letter Grades, P/NP Courses, Summer Session and Creative Writing Rule, GPA etc.

  • Students majoring in English are expected to complete at least seven courses in the English Department here. Other courses counted toward the major can total no more than five and may not be taken concurrently while a student is enrolled at UC Berkeley. (Note, in other words, that students cannot take community college/ other UC/ Cal State courses towards the major English after they have enrolled here at Cal). For more about transferable courses, see the Extra-Departmental Work and Study Abroad tab at left.
  • English 45A, 45B, 45C, and Shakespeare are required of all majors and must be taken for a letter grade. 
  • Electives: Of the twelve courses required for the English major, 5 are elective courses in the English Department. Elective courses are those that you take based on your personal interest in the study of English; an elective course is any four-unit course in the English Department. Two of the five elective courses for the major may be taken P/NP. The P/NP option in English is subject to the regulations set forth in the L&S Announcement.
  • No more than two 4-unit English Department Summer Session courses taken at UCB may be counted toward the major 
  • No more than two Creative Writing courses may be counted toward the major (English 43, 141, English 143 A, B, C, E, etc). English 141 cannot be taken twice.
  • To graduate with a degree in English, a student must achieve at least a 2.0 GPA in: a) all work undertaken at the University of California (all campuses); b) all courses required for the English major, and; c) all upper-division courses in the English major.

Course-specific details​​​​​​​​

English 90: Practices of Literary Study

This course is a small, faculty-led seminar on the practice and discipline of literary analysis. It is meant for all students who seek an introductory literature course and would like to improve their ability to read and write critically, including those who may wish to major in English. Focusing on the close study of a few works, rather than a survey of many, the seminar will help students develop college-level skills for interpreting literature while gaining awareness of different strategies and approaches for making sense of literary language, genres, forms, and contexts. The seminar also will develop students’ ability to write about literature and to communicate meaningfully the stakes of their analysis to an audience.

For students who started at Cal their Freshman year, it is recomended to take English 90 your Freshman or Sophomore year. This will set you up to take English 100 your Junior year and English 190 your Senior year.

ENGLISH 90 and ENGLISH 100 must be taken in sequence prior to ENGLISH 190. Doing so will give you your best preparation for the capstone research seminar and, in fact, all your English Department courses. 

English 100: The Seminar on Criticism

This seminar is designed to provide English majors with intensive and closely supervised work in critical reading and writing. Although sections of the course may address any literary question, period, or genre, they all provide an introduction to critical and methodological problems in literary studies.

English 190: The Research Seminar

This seminar is an intensive examination of critical approaches, literary theory, or a special topic in literary and cultural studies. This course is research-oriented and designed for upper-division English majors who have completed their foundational courses and at least some exploration in their electives.  Students who complete additional sections of English 190 may use them as electives for the major.  Students pursuing honors in English take H195A/B instead of 190.

English H195A/B: The Honors Course

English H195A/B is a year-long seminar that always begins in the fall and may be taken instead of English 190. The successful completion of the Honors Course is required to obtain Honors in English. This course is an instructor-approved course open only to senior English majors with an overall G.P.A. of 3.51 or higher and a major G.P.A. of 3.65 or higher in courses taken at Berkeley towards the major.  In order to be considered for admission to the Honors Course, Junior students in their second semester must electronically apply, using the link on the course listing in the "Announcement of Classes" available beginning in early April.

Shakespeare

English 17, 117A, 117B, 117J, or 117S all satisfy the Shakespeare requirement. English 117T does not satisfy the Shakespeare requirement.

Literatures in English

  • One elective (or else an appropriate 90, 100 or 190) must satisfy the Literatures in English breadth requirement.
  • Standard course offerings that would meet this requirement include but are not limited to: 31AC, 33, 37, 53, 133A, 133B, 133T, 135AC, 137A, 137B, 137T, 138, 139, 166AC, 175. There also may be special topics courses (English 165 or 166) or seminar courses (English 100 or 90) offered in a semester that are designated as satisfying the "Literatures in English" requirement.
  • To see which courses satisfy this requirement in a given semester, see the link on the Classes page.

Literature Before 1800

  • One upper-division course in British, American, or Anglophone literature from an historical period before 1800. Standard course offerings that would meet this requirement include but are not limited to: English 104, 105, 110, 111, 112, 114A, 114B, 115A, 115B, 118, 119, 120, 125A, 130A.  Please note: there also may be special topics courses (English 165/166) or research seminar courses (English 190) offered in a semester that are designated as satisfying the Pre-1800 requirement.
  • To see which courses satisfy this requirement in a given semester, see the link on the Classes page.
  • English 107, any Shakespeare course, or a course outside the department that does not include a substantial amount of literature in English will not fulfill this requirement.

Remaining 3 Electives

  • Elective courses are those that you take based on your personal interest in the study of English; an elective course is any four-unit course in the English Department. Two of the five elective courses for the major may be taken P/NP. The P/NP option in English is subject to the regulations set forth in the L&S Announcement. The “Literatures in English” and “Literature Before 1800” courses must be taken for a letter grade. No more than two Creative Writing courses may be counted toward the major electives (English 43, 141, English 143 A, B, C, E, etc). English 141 cannot be taken twice. 

  • R&C and English 45 series courses cannot be electives 

  • See both the "Berkeley Connect, Independent Study, Decal" tab and "Extra-Departmental Work and Study Abroad" for possible exceptions for electives.