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Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts with a major and minor in English.

Description of Program

The program in English is committed to establishing a habit of lifelong learning that emphasizes the relationship of reading, writing and critical thinking. Undergraduate English majors will be able to:

  • reflect critically on issues of textual representation in a diverse set of texts from literary classics to contemporary film, from the Anglo-Saxon canon to postcolonial and feminist expansions of that canon;
  • reflect on habits of reading and writing and be able to identify their strengths and limitations in particular contexts;
  • use a range of styles and approaches in their writing;
  • understand the interrelated nature of writing, reading, thinking, and creating;
  • read a text with close attention to its many facets;
  • understand past, present and potential approaches to English studies and its relationship to other academic disciplines;
  • be aware of a variety of aesthetic, political, material and social contexts for and approaches to English studies.

Our courses involve students in a range of activities, including discussions (in class and online), collaborative projects, conferences, presentations, independent study, internships, and service learning.

The English Department is committed to supporting interdisciplinary programs and encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary concentrations, second majors and/or minors. A number of the Department's courses are cross-listed with interdisciplinary programs, facilitating such study. In addition,  the English major permits students to include related courses taken outside the department for credit toward their program of study, subject to approval by the student’s English Department adviser.

Our graduates pursue professional careers in such fields as professional writing, editing, advertising, publishing, education, management, computers, public relations and public service, or pursue post-baccalaureate study in English studies, law school or medical school. Students contemplating graduate study should confer with their advisers about special preparation and should be aware that many graduate schools typically expect proof of competence in foreign languages. Students interested in pursuing careers in primary or secondary education can obtain certification by completing the appropriate professional courses in teacher education.

Requirements for English Major

The English major requires 36 credits: at least 15 at the lower division and at least 18 at the upper division. The English major allows for 9 credits of electives, 6 of which must be 100-level courses. At least 18 credits of the required 36 must be 100-level courses. An English course may be used only once to fulfill a particular major requirement. (ENG 54, for instance, may fulfill either Genres or Historicity, but not both.) Transfer students majoring in English must take at least 18 hours of English at Drake. Students with AP will be credited 3 hours of lower-level elective toward the major.

Lower Division Core:

  • Gateway (6 hours)
    • ENG 38 Literary Study (Should be taken first or second year)
    • ENG 39 Writing Seminar (Should be taken first or second year)
  • History and Traditions (3 hours)
    • Any ENG course numbered 40-59
  • Culture and Identity (3 hours)
    • Any ENG course numbered 60-79
  • Writing: Topics and Genres (3 credits)
    • Any ENG course numbered 80-99

Upper Division:
Students must have completed at least 30 credits (including no more than 15 AP/IB/high-school transfer credits) and at least 3 credits of the lower division core or received special permission from the instructor to register for Upper Division courses. Specific prerequisites may be required for some courses.

Choose a track and complete 9 credits from within one track: 

  • History and Traditions
    • ENG 104, 124, 126, 130, 131, 132, 133, 140, 142, 143 146, 150, 152, 166, 169
  • Theory and Criticism
    • ENG 102, 104, 109, 111, 112, 123, 126, 130, 141, 147, 149, 155, 156, 158, 163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 169, 171, 172
  • Film, Drama, and New Media
    • ENG 126, 127, 128, 129, 140
  • Culture and Identity
    • ENG 125, 135, 141, 142, 143, 146, 147, 149, 152, 155, 156, 158, 163, 164, 165, 168


  • ENG 196 or ENG 197; Students must have completed ENG 38 or ENG 39 and have junior or senior standing to register for the capstone


  • At least six credits earned in courses numbered ENG 100 and higher. Up to three credits in courses numbered ENG 20-99. Courses may be taken outside the department with advisor approval. Up to six individual experience credits (internship, independent study, portfolio) may be counted as electives. Nine upper-division elective credits may be used to fulfill a second track. Please consult the course lists above for courses that fulfill requirements for each of the specific tracks: Theory and Criticism; Film, Drama, and New Media; Culture and Identity; History and Traditions.

Requirements for English Minor

Minimum of 18 credit hours in English, including ENG 60 and ENG 61, and at least 6 credit hours in courses numbered above 100. An English faculty adviser is required.

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