UNDER​GRADUATE

The English Major

 

The major in English is designed to introduce students to the history of literature written in English; to acquaint them with a variety of historical periods and geographical and cultural regions of English language and writing; to create an awareness of methods and theories of literary and cultural analysis; and to provide continued training in critical writing.

Students who declare the major in English from the Fall 2021 semester will complete requirements in the redesigned major.  These include a sequence of three small, faculty-led seminars (English 90, 100, and 190) that focus on foundational skills in reading and understanding literature and in writing critically and meaningfully about it. The seminars are meant to be taken in order: English 90 (“Practices of Literary Study”) introduces students to different strategies for close reading, for making sense of literary language, and for appreciating the value and interest of literary study. English 100 (“The Seminar on Criticism”) addresses a range of literary topics, periods, and genres, but in each case provides intensive and closely supervised work in critical reading and writing and an engagement with methodological problems in literary studies.  We strongly recommend that majors take English 100 as juniors. English 190 is a senior research seminar that follows from prior coursework and culminates in a substantial and original scholarly essay. Students pursuing honors in English take the year-long honors seminar, H195A/B, instead of English 190 or in addition to it.

The core of the major also consists of English 45A-45B-45C, a survey of literature in English from Chaucer through the mid-20th century, including British, American, and anglophone writing. Together with the required course in Shakespeare, this sequence provides a foundation in literary history on which to build more specialized course work. Further requirements include at least one upper-division course in literature before 1800 and at least one “Literatures in English” course, addressing the variety of literary traditions and writings of peoples and cultures that have been historically underrepresented in the U.S., the British Isles, and other anglophone countries and regions.  

To be eligible to declare the major, students must have completed at least 30 units, the L&S Reading and Composition requirement, and two major requirements: English 45A or 45B, and one of the following: English 45A, 45B, 45C, Shakespeare, or English 90.

Please see the Requirements tab for details.

 

 

Requirements

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

For majors declared beginning Fall 2021, English 90 and 100 must be taken in sequence prior to English 190. [Note the grace period: students declaring in Fall '21 or Spring '22 may choose an exemption from English 90 and/or 100. However, we very strongly encourage all students to take an English 100 before taking English 190 (Research Seminar). Doing so will give you your best preparation for the capstone research seminar and, in fact, all your English Department courses.]

  • English 90 - Practices of Literary Study
  • 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 100 - The Seminar in Criticism
  • English 190 - The Research Seminar or H195A/B - The Honors Seminar
  • 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.

Requirement Details

General:

  • The English major consists of 12 courses, 7 of which must be upper-division.
  • 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 take one course (an elective or an appropriate 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.
  • 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 5 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.
    • *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.
  • Students majoring in English are expected to complete the majority of their coursework within the department.  Transfer courses and extra-departmental coursework as defined in the side tabs should constitute no more than 5 courses total (please note: only two extra-departmental classes are allowed.) 
  • 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
  • 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:

  • 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 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, students 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 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, please view the announcement of classes for that semester's offerings and sort the "Course Area" tab by "Literatures in English."
  • Literature Before 1800 
    • One upper-division elective (or else an appropriate 100 or 190) must satisfy the Literatures in English breadth requirement.
    • 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, 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.

 

 

Requirements

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

Requirements Details

General:

  • The English major always consists of 12 courses, 7 of which must be upper-division.
  • 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 Fall 2021 must also complete the English 90-100-190 sequence. 
  • Students majoring in English are expected to complete the majority of their coursework within the department.  Transfer courses and extra-departmental coursework as defined in the side tabs should constitute no more than 5 courses total (please note: only two extra-departmental classes are allowed.)  
  • 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
  • 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:

  • 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 Announcement.
      • *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.
 

Declaring the English Major

Eligibility

To be eligible to declare a major in English, the student must have completed:

  • at least 30 units
  • the L & S Reading and Composition requirement
  • two major requirements:
    • 1. English 45A or 45B,
    • 2. English 45A, 45B, 45C, 90, or Shakespeare.

How to Declare

To declare a major in English, students will need to meet with the Major Adviser during an appointment or during drop-in hours. Students who have taken all coursework towards their major at UC Berkeley do not need to bring anything with them. Students who are articulating coursework from other colleges or universities should confirm that their transcripts are uploaded to CalCentral prior to declaring the English Major. (You can confirm this by looking under "My Academics" at the Transfer Credit Report, which should show all of your coursework. If full transcripts are not available on CalCentral at the time, please wait until they have been uploaded into CalCentral before declaring.)

After declaring, English majors should meet periodically with an adviser to monitor their course of study.

Berkeley Connect (English 98BC/198BC)

  • Berkeley Connect in English is a one unit mentorship and discussion course which aims to foster community in the English Department by offering a space for “serious play”: small group discussions about ideas and texts, explorations of the many riches of the Berkeley campus, visits by department faculty and distinguished alumni, and one-on-one advice on courses and graduate programs from graduate students and professors. For more information, please see the Berkeley Connect in English website.

Decals (English 98/198)

  • Students wishing to take a decal sponsored by the English Department can use the DeCal website to find courses that interest them. 
  • Students wishing to teach a decal sponsored by the English Department should review the "Decal" tab on the Announcement of Classes for the semester they wish to teach the DeCal for instructions. 

Independent Study (English 99/199)

  • Students may receive credit for working on projects individually with professors via Independent Study. Once a student has found an English Department faculty member to sponsor them for independent study, they should complete and submit the Application for Independent Study.  Students will be emailed a class number they will use to enroll in the course on CalCentral. 

English Major Credit

A student may use a total of four (4) units of independent study as one of the 6 electives required for the major. The four units need not be taken in a single course. Independent Study courses are taken on a P/NP basis only. Independent study courses are subject to the regulations set forth in the L&S Announcement. Courses that are eligible for this credit are as follows:

  • English 98/198 - Student-Led DeCal courses sponsored through the English Department. Students receive course control numbers directly from the instructor of these courses.
  • English 98BC/198BC - Berkeley Connect in English. Students may enroll directly in this course via course control numbers found on the Berkeley Connect in English website.
  • English 99/199 - Individual Independent Study courses. After submitting the application, students will be emailed a class number they will use to register for the course on CalCentral.

Students wishing to receive academic credit for an internship must coordinate with an English Department faculty member who agrees to sponsor an Independent Study course (99/199) based on the internship. Students should provide the faculty member with official documentation from their internship employers. Credit is based on completion of a critical or creative work on a topic related to the internship. No more than two units will be awarded per internship. Please note that students must register for Summer School Session C for summer internships.

After finding a sponsoring faculty member, students will submit their Application for Independent Study here.

The options below are provided for enrichment and flexibility, not to replace regular semester courses within the department.  Students approved to use two or more courses toward the English major from education abroad programs will not be permitted to count additional upper-division coursework from other UCB departments.  With the exception of two UCB English Department summer courses, all of the following must be approved by a Major Adviser and recorded on the student’s major record card:

Courses taken outside the English department

With the approval of a Major Adviser, students may count up to two upper-division courses in departments other than English for the major.  To submit a petition, please use this online petition form here: Petition for Courses Outside the UC Berkeley English Department.  The student’s request for course approval will include a course syllabus and a compelling intellectual rationale, one that explains how the student’s work for the English major will be enriched through the inclusion of the particular outside course the student wishes to include.  There is no pre-approved list of courses. For possible courses outside English, consult the listings for Anthropology, Celtic Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, Ethnic Studies, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Women’s Studies, etc.

Note: Only one such course may be taken during the summer.

Education Abroad Programs

A faculty Major Adviser determines credit toward the major for coursework completed through an Education Abroad Program on a case-by-case basis. Students must meet with a faculty adviser once they return to UCB and provide documentation (e.g., course descriptions, syllabi, completed exams, papers, and other written work) to demonstrate that the education abroad course is comparable in coverage, rigor, and substance to a UCB upper-division course.  This could include up to 2 education abroad literature courses in a foreign language. Although there is no official limit on the number of courses transferred from education abroad programs, generally two courses will be counted easily. Closer scrutiny will be given to subsequent course work.  Although the Major Adviser determines the number of courses approved for use towards the major, the College of Letters and Science makes the final determination of unit credit for any and all courses taken abroad.

Note: Only one such course may be taken during the summer.

Additional Exceptions

For courses taken elsewhere that are not covered above, students must petition for approval by providing documentation, including a course syllabus and a transcript showing the completion of the course.  A course taken elsewhere during the summer may only satisfy an elective for the major.

With the approval of a Major Adviser, additional exceptions to the English major requirements may be approved. These exceptions must be noted on the student's major record card with the signature of the approving Adviser. Exceptions are only granted for circumstances based on documented student needs and goals.

 
▼What is an elective for the English major?
A majority of 4 unit classes in the English department count for the elective requirement. The only 4 unit classes that do not count as electives would be 45 series courses, or any R1A/R1B courses. Courses that fulfill other requirements (Pre-1800 Requirement, Shakespeare, Research Seminar) can be taken as electives once the original requirement has been completed. Make sure to keep in mind that 7 out of 12 of your courses must be upper-division when choosing your electives.
▼Can I take any classes pass/not pass?
45A, 45B, 45C, Shakespeare, the pre-1800’s course, and the research seminar are required of all majors and must be taken for a letter grade. Students may take up to two electives for the major pass/not pass.
▼How do I find out what classes are being offered each semester?
Course descriptions can be found each semester in The Announcement of Classes. It is available on-line one week before enrollment begins for the upcoming semester.
▼How do I apply for Creative Writing classes? When are the applications posted?
Creative Writing (fall and spring) applications are available once the Announcement of Classes is posted; a link for the application can be found within the description for each creative writing course.
▼How do I apply for the Honors Course? When are applications posted?
Honors Course (in spring only) applications become available in early April; a link for the application can be found within the description for H195A course. Please review the Honors page for more details.
▼Is there a limit to how many summer courses I can take toward my requirements?
Yes. Two 4-unit Summer Session courses taken at UCB may be counted toward the major, one of which must be taken through the English Department. One of these courses may be taken at another institution with approval. This includes courses taken through an education abroad program. Courses taken through the English Department at UCB during summer session do not require Major Adviser approval. For courses taken elsewhere (or outside the department – see below), students must petition for approval by providing documentation, including a course syllabus and a transcript showing the completion of the course. A course taken elsewhere during the summer may only satisfy an elective for the major.
▼Can I take any of the requirements online? Can I take any of the requirements through UC Extension?
The English Department does not offer online courses. Only one UC Berkeley Extension or on-line course may be petitioned to count toward the major. No UC Berkeley Extension or on-line course may be used to satisfy a core requirement for the major: 45A/45B/45C (or their upper-division equivalents), Shakespeare, the Pre-1800 course, or the seminar requirement. To count toward the major, UC Berkeley Extension or on-line courses must be comparable in coverage, rigor, and substance to department courses. Students seeking to count a UC Extension or on-line course toward the major should submit course materials and other relevant documentation to an English Department Major Adviser or to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
▼Are there any course equivalents for the 45 series?
Yes. With approval and in consultation with a Major Adviser, the 45A-B-C requirements may be satisfied by substituting for each course two appropriate upper-division courses. To meet the 45B and 45C requirements, one course equivalent must be in American literature and one must be in British literature in the appropriate historical periods. Any and all courses used to satisfy the 45A, B, & C requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
▼When is the English Department Commencement?
The English Department has one Commencement Ceremony a year in the spring semester. Students who complete their major and university requirements are eligible to participate in this ceremony. There is an additional University-wide Ceremony in the fall and spring should students wish to attend.
▼Can I petition UC Berkeley classes outside of the English department to count for my major?
Yes, students may petition up to two upper division courses outside of the English Department. To submit a petition, please use this online petition form here: Petition for Courses Outside the UC Berkeley English Department. Please keep in mind that students majoring in English are expected to complete the majority of their coursework within the UC Berkeley English Department. Transfer courses and extra-departmental coursework combined should constitute no more than 5 courses total. Transfer students who have completed major requirements via transfer coursework will need to be mindful of the 5 course limit if they are interested in petitioning extra-departmental courses at UC Berkeley.
▼Do I need to fill out any forms to graduate?
No - you will be on the degree list for whatever term your Expected Graduation Term indicates in CalCentral. For more information on this, please visit the Registrar's Office page on Transcripts and Diplomas.
 
You will need to sign up to participate in Commencement, though. For more information on this, please visit the English Department's Commencement page