Small, discussion-based classes cover a diversity of topics as part of the curriculum for undergraduate students pursuing a major or minor in the Department of English.
Coordinator: Jennifer Rust, Ph.D.
The English major consists of 12 courses (36 credit hours), made up of one course (three credit hours) at the 2000-level, five courses (15 credit hours) in 3000-level area requirements, five electives (15 credit hours) at the 4000-level and one senior seminar (three credit hours).
As an undergraduate student in the Department of English, you will take one of the following courses as an introductory course to the major:
You will also take one course from each of the following categories and an additional course from any one category as part of the foundational coursework requirement:
These courses focus on texts as linguistic structures. They address genres (including the novel, drama, poetry), subgenres (including satire, documentary, noir), literary and cinematic conventions (realism, stream of consciousness, first-person narration), forms (the sonnet, the heroic couplet), formal features (patterns of rhythm and rhyme), and matters of technique. The emphasis is on the function of form in shaping textual meaning.
These courses explore the difference that historical context makes to the reading of texts, attending to broad literary periods and emphasizing chronological breadth. Historical contexts include literary history (the chronological succession of authors and of periods); periodization (the division of one period of literary history from another and the major characteristics of these periods); political, social and cultural developments; and the changing ways in which texts are produced and received by readers and audiences.
These courses explore how considering the embodied writer and reader changes the way we read texts, paying special attention to how texts offer critiques of their cultures. Points at issue include gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, religion, place, space and their intersections. In this category are also included courses that consider our relations with the natural world and the humanly-created world. Courses in this group explore particular theoretical and conceptual perspectives including feminist, spiritual, materialist.
These courses introduce students to the practices of rhetoric and writing, utilizing their own creativity. Beyond simply analyzing arguments or interpreting texts, students in these courses will invent arguments and produce texts. They will also perform various textual modes, including alphabetic, audio and video.
Additionally, you will take 15 credits of elective advanced seminars in English. Any English course offered at the 4000-level may count, including:
During your senior year, you will also take ENGL 4960: Senior Inquiry Seminar, a small, intensive seminar course.
While most students pursue the broad literature-based English major, SLU’s undergraduate English program offers three optional concentrations: creative writing; rhetoric, writing and technology; and research-intensive English (the honors track within the English major).
Coordinator: Devin Johnston, Ph.D.
The requirements for the English major with a creative writing concentration are the same as those for the English major but this concentration requires twelve credit hours in creative writing. 3000-level creative writing courses fulfill the form and genre distribution requirement and may also fulfill the 3000-level elective credit. 4000-level creative writing courses count as 4000-level English seminars. Creative writing courses must be chosen from the following:
You will also be required to submit a portfolio of representative work for assessment prior to graduation and to take ENGL 4960, the senior seminar.
Coordinator: Paul Lynch, Ph.D.
If you choose to concentrate in rhetoric, writing and technology while getting your Bachelor in Arts in English at SLU, you will fulfill the general requirements for the degree but prioritize certain courses. In order to graduate with the concentration, you must take 12 hours in rhetoric, writing and technology coursework, including the following:
You will also choose at least three additional courses from the following:
Coordinator: Jennifer Rust, Ph.D.
You can apply to our selective research-intensive English concentration during your sophomore or junior year. A maximum cohort of 12 English majors are admitted to the concentration each academic year, offering our students an opportunity to pursue literary and rhetorical studies in smaller, more rigorous settings.
To apply for the English honors concentration, you must have completed at least two semesters at SLU and have maintained a 3.5 GPA in English courses. Your application will be considered based upon the strength of a writing sample and your past performance in English courses.
The concentration requires that all research-intensive English students complete at least two research intensive English seminars. Research-intensive English seminars will be 4000-level English courses designated with a “Research-Intensive English” attribute. The final requirement of the research intensive English concentration must be fulfilled with one of the following options:
All research-intensive English seminars automatically count as honors courses. You can be enrolled in both research-intensive English and the University Honors Program but you are not required to be in the University Honors Program to be accepted into the English honors program.
Senior Honors Project (ENGL 4990)
If you choose to complete ENGL 4990: Senior Honors Project, you will formally propose a senior honors project in the semester prior to writing the project, in consultation with a full-time member of the English department faculty. The project counts for the University Honors Program thesis requirement. You may choose to do a critical, creative or rhetorical project.
The English minor requires 18 credit hours. If you choose to minor in English, you will take the following courses:
The creative writing minor requires 18 credit hours, including nine credit hours in creative writing and nine credit hours in literature courses.
Introductory Course (three credit hours)
A 2000 or 3000-level English literature course of your choice will be used to fulfill this requirement.
Creative Writing (nine credit hours)
You will choose nine credit hours from the following:
Literature Courses (six credit hours)
Six credit hours of courses in English literature at the 3000 or 4000 level are required. You are strongly encouraged to consult with the coordinator of creative writing about complementary course choices.
Students who major in English at SLU are easily able to fit a semester or full year abroad on the University’s campus in Madrid, Spain into their plans of study.
Studying in Madrid is an especially attractive option for SLU English majors, as you will be able to take courses that satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences core requirements as well as courses in areas including English, film studies, Spanish, communication and international studies.
Dozens of other study abroad options are also available. Explore all the possibilities through SLU’s Study Abroad program.
The Department of English has outlined the desired outcomes of the undergraduate program and its courses.