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minor, major   
  • Humanities & Fine Arts

English Major & Minor

The major in English is the study of the arts of literature. Although the emphasis is on the critical analysis of great works, students are expected to attain a general knowledge of the historical development of English and American literature by the end of the senior year.

A student wishing to major in English must complete a total of twelve courses on the 200-, 300-, and 400-levels in the English Department in the following areas:


  • Three courses selected from English courses on the 200-level, excluding ENG 204, 205, 206
  • Also includes ENG 101 (Beginning with students who matriculate in the fall of 2016.  Previous students took ENG 101 for the first-year graduation requirement.  In this case it does NOT count for the major.)


  • Three courses in pre-1800 literature (ENG 205/206 “Shakespeare” will also be counted here)
  • Three courses in post-1800 literature
  • Two electives
  • Jr Seminar (required of all students in the fall of the junior year)

Note: Students may count up to two courses (8 credits) toward multiple programs in the English department (i.e., toward the English major, Creative Writing minor, and/or Journalism, Editing & Publishing minor).

Senior Capstone Experience

English majors must also register for and complete the Senior Capstone Experience in their senior year. Please see the department’s page on the Senior Capstone Experience for more information.

Course Catalog

For full course descriptions, please visit the Washington College course catalog.

Our Core Values 


Critical Knowledge

 You will learn from faculty that specialize in book history, film, flash fiction, narrative journalism, poetry, literary theory, and other special topics. You will read from a variety of authors from both the medieval and postmodern time periods.  At the end of your studies, you will write an independent research project, known as the Senior Capstone Experience.

Creative Encounters

Prominent writers will visit your classes, host writing workshops, and read at Literary House and Sophie Kerr events. You will meet and talk directly with active writers and scholars. Visiting writers have included: Jericho Brown, Nick Flynn, Rebecca Makkai, Maggie Nelson, Lidia Yuknavitch, Jason Fagone, and many more! 

Experiential Learning 

You will apply your knowledge to internship opportunities in communications, editing, journalism, and numerous publications on and off campus. Recent internships include Copper Canyon Press, C-SPAN, Library of Congress, and the National Portrait Gallery. Campus Publications that offer internships include The Elm, Cherry Tree, Collegian, Pegasus, and the Washington College Review.