Major requirements, declared Fall 2021 or later

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

  • English 45A - Literature in English: Through Milton
  • English 45B - Literature in English: The Late-17th through the Mid-19th Century
  • English 45C - Literature in English: The Mid-19th through the Mid-20th Century
  • A course in Shakespeare (17, 117A, 117B, 117J, or 117S)
  • English 90 - Practices of Literary Study. *English 90 (or a qualified equivalent from another school) must be taken prior to English 100. You should not enroll in English 100 unless you have taken English 90 here or an equivalent literature class prior to enrolling at Cal. Equivalent classes cannot be R1A or R1B; they must be more advanced courses in literature written in English. If you think you have taken such a class that is not already listed on and you want approval for it in lieu of taking English 90, please complete English 90 Articulation Petition for Transfer Students form.
  • 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.
  • English 190 - The Research Seminar or H195A/B - The Honors Seminar *English 90 and English 100 are requisites for English 190.
  • Five English Department elective courses - One of these electives, or else an appropriate 90, 100 or 190, satisfies the "Literatures in English" major breadth requirement. One upper-division elective, or else an appropriate 100 or 190, satisfies the "Literature Before 1800" major breadth requirement. For "Literatures in English" and "Literature Before 1800" course offerings, please see the corresponding links on the classes page.​

ENGLISH 90 and ENGLISH 100 must be taken in sequence prior to ENGLISH 190. Transfer students entering the third-year class may be able to apply credit for ENGLISH 90 by transferring certain 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.) Students entering in their freshmen year should complete English 90 by the end of their sophomore year, then an English 100 in their junior year, and an English 190 in their senior year.

If you haven't declared the English major yet, visit our Major Completion Sheet. This will help you plan your schedule.

Detailed Requirements

  • 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 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. Students declared beginning Fall 2021 must also complete the English 90-100-190 sequence for a letter grade.
  • Students must also take one course (an elective or an appropriate 90, 100 or 190) that satisfies the department’s “Literatures in English” requirement and one upper-division course (an elective or an appropriate 100 or 190) that satisfies the “Literature Before 1800” requirement. Neither of these courses can be taken P/NP.
  • Please keep in mind that a minimum of 7 out of 12 of your major requirements must be upper-division (#100-199) ; this means the majority of your electives, if not all, will be upper-division.
  • 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.
  • See both the "Berkeley Connect, Independent Study, Decal" tab and "Extra-Departmental Work and Study Abroad" for possible exceptions for electives. All exceptions must be approved by a Major Adviser and updated on your APR.
  • No more than two 4-unit English Department Summer Session courses taken at UCB may be counted toward the major (Note: this rule was waived for all English Department courses taken Summer 2020).
  • 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.

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.


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.