The English Major (Students Prior to Fall 2021)

In the 2021-2022 academic year, the English Department entered a transition period, as we began to phase in a new set of requirements for the standard English major and the modified English major for students who want to pursue a teaching license. The new requirements for the English major will apply to all students who enter the college in Fall 2021 and after.

This page outlines the “old” requirements for the standard English major. Students who began their studies at St. Olaf prior to the fall of 2021 are likely to continue with the old requirements for the English major. Some students who entered prior to 2021  may have the option of switching to the new set of requirements for the English major, but note that this will also require changing to the new OLE Core general education curriculum for your general education requirements. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.

In addition to our standard English major (outlined here), we also offer a modified version of our standard major for students who wish to receive a teaching license: the English major with Communication Arts/Literature Teaching Licensure. Click on the tab marked “Major #2 – English major with Teaching License” for more information on that option.

Please see the college catalog for more information (here). The college catalog is the official record of the requirements for all majors.

English Major Worksheet

The English major requires a minimum of ten courses to complete. These courses must fulfill the following requirements:

Level I: English 185 (Literary Studies)

Level II: 3 courses: one from Cross-Cultural Studies, one from Literary History, and one from either Cross-Disciplinary Studies or Genre.

  1. Cross-Cultural Studies
    –Treat literature as a human expression that embraces both commonality and differences within and across cultures.
    –Focus on global literatures in English and/or multicultural literatures within a single nation.
  2. Literary History
    –Trace the process of literary change, examining the development of literary styles, conventions, and forms.
    –May focus on one national literary tradition or examine literature from two or more nations.
  3. Cross-Disciplinary Studies
    –Approach a topic, author, genre, or period from at least one disciplinary perspective in addition to that of literary study.
    –Recognize disciplinary perspectives as distinct ways of knowing.
  4. Genre
    –Require students to think critically and creatively about the formal qualities of literature.
    –Address for through writing, the study of literature, or both.

1800 requirement: Among all courses taken at level II (category-specific and elective), one must be a literature before 1800; one must be in literature after 1800.

Six electives, two of which must be at Level III (300-level courses). Here you can give your major the emphasis you choose: authors or historical periods; genres, topics and theoretical approaches; creative writing. Any course in the English Department other than ENGL 185 and the three courses that you are using to fulfill your Level II category requirements (literary history, cross-cultural, and cross-disciplinary/genre) can serve as an elective. Note that at minimum, one of your 300-level electives must be in literary studies (ENGL 360: Literary Criticism and Theory or a course that involves the study of literature rather than creative writing). You are welcome to take more than one 300-level creative writing workshop, but these will serve as general electives rather than satisfying the 300-level elective requirement.

Level II Classes

Our 200-level courses fulfill categories as described below:

Cross-cultural Studies
Engl 200 – Topics in Cross-Cultural Literature
Engl 201 – Transatlantic Anglophone Literature
Engl 203 – Asian American Literature
Engl 204 – South Asian Literature
Engl 205 – American Racial and Multicultural Literatures
Engl 206 – African Literature
Engl 207 – Women of the African Diaspora
Engl 208 – Black and Asian British Literatures
Engl 209 – Arab American Literature and Film
Engl 210 – Post-Colonial Literature
Engl 211 – Hemingway in East Africa (abroad)
Engl 212 – Literature of the Eastern Caribbean (abroad)
Engl 251 – Major Chicano/a Authors
*Muslim Women Writers also counts toward this requirement. It is sometimes offered as ENGL 280. Other courses taught as ENGL 280 do not satisfy the cross-cultural requirement.

Literary History
Engl 220 – Topics in Literary History
Engl 221 – Literatures in English to 1650
Engl 222 – Ecocriticism and Renaissance Literature
Engl 223 – Old and Middle English Literature: The Weird and the Wonderful
Engl 225 – Neoclassical and Romantic Literature
Engl 227 – English Renaissance Literature
Engl 228 – Romantic/Victorian/Modern British Literature
Engl 229 – Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature
Engl 232 – Writing America 1588-1800
Engl 271 – Literature and the Scientific Revolution

Cross-Disciplinary Studies
Engl 260 – Topics in Cross-Disciplinary Literary Studies
Engl 261 – The Beat Generation
Engl 262 – Topics: Literature and History
Engl 263 – Narratives of Social Protest
Engl 264 – Topics in Gender and Literature
Engl 266 – Romanticism and Rock Music
Engl 267 – Monsters: Myths and Movies from the 19th to 21st Centuries
Engl 268 – Literature and Modern Philosophy
Engl 269 – Art, Design, and Literature in Britain Since 1950
Engl 273 – Imagining Urban Ecologies
Engl 275 – Literature and Film
Engl 276 – Literature and the Environment
Engl 279 – Psychopathy in American Culture
Engl 290 – Exploring Literary Publishing
ID 258 – Theater in London (Abroad)

Engl 242 – Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Engl 280 – Topics in Genre
Engl 282 – Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing
Engl 283 – Crime Fiction
Engl 284 – Epic and the Novel
Engl 285 – Digital Rhetorics and New Media Literacies
Engl 286 – Topic: Rhetoric and Composition
Engl 287 – Professional and Business Writing
Engl 288 – Reading and Writing the Personal Essay
Engl 289 – Journalistic Writing
Engl 291 – Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing
Engl 292 – Intermediate Poetry Writing
Engl 293 – Intermediate Fiction Writing
Engl 294 – Academic Internship
Engl 296 – Screenwriting
Engl 298 – Independent Study