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Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts with a major in writing.

Description of Program

The program in writing is committed to establishing a habit of lifelong learning that emphasizes the relationship of reading, writing and critical thinking. Undergraduate writing 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 wide 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.

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 Writing 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.

Requirements for Major

The Writing major requires 36 credits: 18 at the lower division and 18 at the upper division. The Writing major allows for 6 credits of electives that 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 Writing must take at least 18 hours of English at Drake.

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 hours)*
    • 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.

  • Writing Courses (9 hours)
    • ENG 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 171, 172 (1 credit)  
  • Electives (6 hours)
    • Six credits earned in courses numbered ENG 100 and higher. 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.


  • ENG 195 or 196; Students must have completed ENG 38 or ENG 39 and have junior or senior standing to register for the capstone

*Original requirement was six hours of Topics and Genres.  In Oct, 2015, the English department changed the requirement to three hours, effective with the 2013-2014 academic year.

Requirements for Writing Minor

Minimum of 18 credit hours in English, including ENG 60, ENG 61, and one from each of the two columns in the writing core. An English faculty adviser is required.

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