British and American Literature

Our nationally ranked English department is devoted to the critical study of literature and language. We bring together distinguished scholars and creative artists to foster interactive learning and teaching. Students explore literary works—poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction—from a wealth of traditions in English, American, and Anglophone literature.

For more information, see the major requirements listed below or contact the director of undergraduate studies.

Major Requirements

• A minimum of ten, 4-credit courses are required for the major (for a minimum total of 40 credit hours). At least seven of the ten courses must be English courses at the 200 or 300 level.

• The upper-level writing requirement is fulfilled by completion of the major.

Two Survey Courses

Two of the following courses, ideally by the end of the sophomore year:

  • ENGL 112: Classical and Scriptural Backgrounds
  • ENGL 113: British Literature I
  • ENGL 114: British Literature II
  • ENGL 115: American Literature
Majors May Take One Additional Survey or Approach Course

In place of one 200 or 300 level course, one additional course may be at the 100 level, either a third survey course from the list above (ENG 112, 113, 114, 115) or one of the following "approaches to literary study" courses:

  • ENGL 100: Great Books
  • ENGL 101: Maximum English
  • ENGL 103: Rochester, NY
  • ENGL 111: Introduction to Shakespeare
  • ENGL 116: Introduction to African American Literature
  • ENGL 117: Introduction to the Art of Film
Seven or Eight Upper Level Courses

Seven or eight courses at the 200 or 300 level:

  • Two must be in British or American literature before 1800, and two must be in British or American literature after 1800.
  • One must be ENGL 380: Advanced Seminar (from annual list provided by English department), ideally taken in the junior or senior year. ENGL 396: Honors Seminar, counts as an advanced seminar (for students in the English honors program).
    • Advanced Seminars will be capped at 18, and will be run as discussion or seminar-style courses. They may involve a research project and will lead to the production of a substantial body of written work. They are open to junior and senior English majors; others may enroll in the course with permission of the instructor.

See the pre- and post-1800 page for a list of courses.