Undergraduate Programs

The study of English has long been considered one of the best ways to obtain a liberal education. Courses are designed to develop students' critical capabilities, to deepen their understanding of diverse cultural issues, and to improve their abilities to analyze and produce complex texts. The department prepares its majors for careers in writing and teaching, as well as for a variety of professions in which high levels of literacy and critical thought are required.

Various concentrations in literature and writing allow students flexible ways to combine interests in the literary arts with personal and professional goals. Community-based learning courses encourage students to integrate their academic skills with experience in the metropolitan area. Indeed, the breadth of knowledge and the communication skills that English majors typically acquire make them attractive to many potential employers and prepare them for graduate work leading to professions such as law.

For those who wish to teach, the English Department prepares majors for graduate work leading to teaching certification or for entry into graduate master's or doctoral programs in English. PSU graduates in English have gone on to succeed in advanced degree programs at many major universities.

Requirements for B.A. in English

In addition to meeting the general University degree requirements, the English major will meet the following requirements for the B.A. degree:

Lower-division courses

Two courses selected from the following (8 credits):

  • Eng 201 Shakespeare
  • Eng 204 Survey of English Literature
  • Eng 205 Survey of English Literature
  • Eng 253 Survey of American Literature
  • Eng 254 Survey of American Literature
  • Eng 256 Introduction to African American Literature
  • Eng 260 Introduction to Women's Literature
  • Wr 200 Writing about Literature

Total lower-division credits=8

Upper-division courses

Group A: Theory

  • Eng 300 (4 credits)
  • Elective in advanced criticism and practice (4 credits):
    • Eng 491, 492 Literary Criticism
    • Eng 493 Advanced Topics in Feminist Literary Theory
    • Eng 494 Topics in Critical Theory and Methods

Group B: Literatures of Ethnicity, Gender, Class, and Culture Electives (8 credits)

  • Eng 309 American Indian Literature
  • Eng 330 Jewish and Israeli Literature
  • Eng 351, 352, 353 African American Literature
  • Eng 367: American Literature and Culture
  • Eng 387 Women's Literature
  • Eng 420 Caribbean Literature
  • Eng 421, 422 African Fiction
  • Eng 441 Advanced Topics in Renaissance Lit. and Culture
  • Eng 443, 444 British Women Writers
  • Eng 445, 446 American Women Writers
  • Eng 467 Advanced Topics in American Lit. and Culture
  • Eng 469 Asian-American Literature and Culture

Group C: Period Studies in British and American Literature (12 credits)
(at least 8 credits at the 400 level, plus 4 credits of pre-1800 literature)
*indicates pre-1800 course

  • Eng 301* Topics: Shakespeare
  • Eng 313 The American Short Story
  • Eng 320, 321 The English Novel
  • Eng 340* Medieval Literature
  • Eng 341* Renaissance Literature
  • Eng 342* Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Eng 343* Romanticism
  • Eng 344 Victorian Literature
  • Eng 345 Modern British Literature
  • Eng 351, 352, 353 African American Literature
  • Eng 360* American Literature to 1865
  • Eng 363 American Literature 1865-1965
  • Eng 364, 365, 366 American Fiction
  • Eng 367 Topics in American Literature and Culture
  • Eng 384, 385 Contemporary Literature
  • Eng 411*, 412 English Drama
  • Eng 426* Advanced Topics in Medieval Literature
  • Eng 430* Advanced Topics in Sixteenth-Century Literature
  • Eng 440* Advanced Topics in Seventeenth-Century Literature
  • Eng 441* Advanced Topics in Renaissance Literature and Culture
  • Eng 443, 444 British Women Writers
  • Eng 445, 446 American Women Writers
  • Eng 450* Advanced Topics in Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Eng 458* Advanced Topics in Romanticism
  • Eng 460* Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1800
  • Eng 461 Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1900
  • Eng 464 Advanced Topics in American Literature: 20th-Century
  • Eng 467 Advanced Topics in American Literature and Culture
  • Eng 475 Advanced Topics in Victorian Literature
  • Eng 477, 478 American Poetry
  • Eng 480 Advanced Topics in 20th-Century British Literature
  • Eng 484 Modern Drama
  • Eng 485 Contemporary Drama
  • Eng 486 Contemporary American Novel
  • Eng 487 Contemporary American Short Story
  • Eng 488 Contemporary American Poetry

Group D: Writing, Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics (8 credits)
(4 credits upper-division writing course and 4 credits upper-division elective)

  • Eng 413 Teaching and Tutoring Writing
  • Eng 414 Contemporary Composition Theories
  • Eng 415 Research Methods in Composition
  • Eng 425 Practical Grammar
  • Eng 490 Rhetoric
  • Eng (appropriate adviser-approved course offered under omnibus number)
  • Ling 390 Introduction to Language
  • Wr 300 Topics in Rhetoric and Composition Practice
  • Wr 312 Intermediate Fiction Writing
  • Wr 313 Intermediate Poetry Writing
  • WR 314: Intermediate Nonfiction Writing
  • Wr 323 Writing as Critical Inquiry
  • Wr 324 Advanced Writing About Literature
  • Wr 327 Technical Report Writing
  • Wr 328 News Editing
  • Wr 330 Desktop Publishing I
  • Wr 333 Advanced Composition
  • Wr 394 Writing Careers for English Majors
  • Wr 412 Advanced Fiction Writing
  • Wr 413 Advanced Poetry Writing
  • WR 416: Screenwriting
  • Wr 420 Writing: Process and Response
  • Wr 425 Advanced Technical Writing
  • Wr 426 Document Design
  • Wr 427 Technical Editing
  • Wr 428 Advanced News Writing
  • Wr 429 Writing Computer Documentation
  • Wr 430 Desktop Publishing II
  • WR 456: Forms of Nonfiction
  • WR 457: Personal Essay Writing
  • WR 458: Magazine Writing
  • WR 459: Writing the Memoir
  • Wr 460 Introduction to Book Publishing
  • Wr 461 Book Editing
  • Wr 462 Book Design and Production
  • Wr 463 Book Marketing and Promotion
  • Wr 464 Bookselling
  • Wr 470 Intellectual Property and Copyright
  • Wr (appropriate adviser-approved, upper-division course)

Group E: Electives

  • Electives in theory, literature, writing, and rhetoric
    May include up to four adviser-approved, lower-division credits (16 credits)

Total upper-division credits=52

Total credits=60

English majors will be expected to choose their courses in consultation with their advisers. For upper division coursework in the several groups, consult the following lists of acceptable courses.

Alternate Courses. The following courses, depending on their content, may fulfill major requirements in Groups A, B, C, or D. Students should consult specific offerings each term and meet with their adviser to have them approved.

  • Eng 305 Topics in Film
  • Eng 306 Topics in Literature and Popular Culture
  • Eng 308 Cultural Studies in Literature
  • Eng 399 Special Studies
  • Eng 401 Research
  • Eng 404 Cooperative Education/Internship
  • Eng 407 Seminar
  • Eng 410 Special Topics
  • Eng 447 Major Forces in Literature
  • Eng 448 Major Figures in Literature
  • Eng 449 Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies
  • Wr 399 Special Studies
  • Wr 410 Special Topics
Additional Information on Requirements
  • Eng 300 Critical Approaches to Literature is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for all 400 level courses in the English major.
  • English majors in upper-division English courses are expected to be able to write a library research paper when required. The department recommends that majors without prior training in research paper writing enroll in Wr 222.
  • Any course used to satisfy departmental major requirements, whether taken in the department or elsewhere, must be taken under the differentiated grading option and must have been assigned a grade of C or above.
  • No more than 12 credits of coursework taken for the Professional Writing Minor may be applied to the English major.
  • A minimum of 24 credits in English and/or writing at PSU is required.

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Requirements for Minor in English

To earn a minor in English a student must complete 28 adviser-approved credits (12 credits of which must be taken in residence at PSU).

  • Twelve credits must be literature courses.
  • Sixteen credits must be at the upper-division level.
  • No more than 8 credits total and no more than 4 credits in each of the following may be applied to the English minor: Eng 199, 399, 401, 405, 408, 409, Wr 199, 399, and/or 405.
  • With the exception of upper-division creative writing courses, any course used to satisfy departmental minor requirements must be taken under the differentiated grading option and must have been assigned a grade of C or above. Upper-division creative writing courses assigned a grade of pass may apply to the minor.

Note: The following courses will not count as part of the English minor: Wr 115 Introduction to College Writing; Wr 121 English Composition; Wr 211 Writing Practice; Wr 222 Writing Research Papers; and Wr 323 English Composition.

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Requirements for Minor in Writing

To earn a Minor in Writing, a student must complete 28 credits from the following course options (at least 12 of these credits must be taken in residence at PSU). 16 credits must be upper division, i.e., 300 or above. 12 credits will share with the English Major in sections D and/or E. Courses with asterisk * may be repeated once for credit. Courses used for Minor must be graded and receive a grade of “C” or better.

  • WR 212 Introduction to Fiction Writing
  • WR 213 Introduction to Poetry Writing
  • WR 214 Beginning Nonfiction
  • WR 227 Introduction to Technical Writing
  • WR 228 Introduction to News Writing

Upper Division Courses

  • WR 300 Topics in Composition
  • WR 312 Intermediate Fiction Writing*
  • WR 313 Intermediate Poetry Writing*
  • WR 327 Technical Report Writing
  • WR 330 Desktop Publishing 1
  • WR 333 Advanced Composition
  • WR 399 Topics in Writing (topics vary). Course number can be repeated if topics are different.
  • ENG 425 Practical Grammar
  • WR 404 Internship and Cooperative Education
  • WR 410 Special Topics in Writing (topics vary). Course number can be repeated if topics are different.
  • WR 412 Advanced Fiction Writing*
  • WR 413 Advanced Poetry Writing*
  • WR 416 Screenwriting*
  • WR 420 Writing Process and Response*
  • WR 425 Advanced Technical Writing
  • WR 426 Document Design
  • WR 427 Technical Editing
  • WR 428 Advanced News Writing
  • WR 429 Writing Computer Documentation
  • WR 430 Desktop Publishing 2
  • WR 457 Forms of Nonfiction
  • WR 458 Magazine Writing
  • WR 459 Memoir Writing
  • WR 460 Introduction to Book Publishing
  • WR 461 Book Editing
  • WR 462 Book Design and Production
  • WR 463 Book Marketing
  • WR 464 Bookselling
  • One Writing Intensive Course (WIC)
  • Any advisor approved, expository, creative, or professional writing courses from another department.

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