Requirements, declared before F'21

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

  • 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 20th Century
  • A course in Shakespeare (17, 117A, 117B, 117J, or 117S.)
  • An upper-division, Pre-1800 course
  • A research seminar course (English 190 or English H195A/H195B)
  • 6 English Department elective courses

Detailed Requirements

  • English 45A, 45B, 45C, Shakespeare, the Pre-1800 requirement, and the research seminar course are required of all majors and must all be taken for a letter grade. Students declared beginning in Fall 2021 must also complete the English 90-100-190 sequence. 
  • 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.
  • 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. Creative Writing courses include English 43, 141, any English 143 series course. English 141 can not 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​​​​​​​​

  • Shakespeare
    • English 17, 117A, 117B, 117J, or 117S all satisfy the Shakespeare requirement. English 117T does not satisfy the Shakespeare requirement.
  • Pre-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: theree 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, please view the announcement of classes for that semester's offerings and sort the "Course Area" tab by "Pre-1800 Requirement."
    • 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.
  • Research Seminar
    • Only English 190 or H195A/B will satisfy the Seminar Requirement:
      • English 190: Research Seminar:  English 190 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.
      • English H195A/B: Honors Course: English H195A/B is a year-long seminar that always begins in the fall.  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, students must electronically apply, using the link on the course listing in the "Announcement of Classes" available beginning in early April.
  • Electives
    • Of the twelve courses required for the English major, 6 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 6 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 Advising Policies.
      • *Please 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 noted on your major record card.
      • Please keep in mind that a minimum of 7 out of 12 of your major requirements must be upper-division; this means the majority of your electives, if not all, will be upper-division. Also, 7 out of 12 of your requirements must be taken in the English Department at UC Berkeley.