English Major, B.A.

Department of English and Comparative Literature

http://englishcomplit.unc.edu

Greenlaw Hall, CB# 3520

(919) 962-5481

Dr. Eliza Richards, Director of Undergraduate Studies

ecr@email.unc.edu

Dr. Hilary Lithgow, Lecturer-Advisor

lithgow@email.unc.edu

The major in English equips students to become incisive thinkers and powerful writers. At UNC, English majors develop these skills by learning to analyze a range of literary genres and cultural artifacts: from broadsides and books to digital archives and mp3s; from poetry and the novel to dramatic performance and film. The B.A. with a major in English foregrounds the inventive ways that individuals from various historical and cultural settings have engaged writing and artistic representation to understand—and remake—the world around them.

The core curriculum of the English major offers students a comprehensive overview of the history of English-language literature and thought, from their beginnings in the Middle Ages to the contemporary rise of English as a global language. The core also features introductory courses, which impart analytical, research, and writing skills that help students explore the relevance of literature and other media to questions of history, culture, and everyday life.

The B.A. launches English majors into a digital, global world with historical knowledge about what has shaped it. Because rigorous analysis of literary documents requires sensitivity to the context of their production, students who major in English enter this increasingly technological and transnational world with a crucial skill: the ability to think contextually. In learning to describe and analyze relations between an individual work and its social, cultural, and political environment, our students are equipped for the world outside of the university with the tools for solving a host of intellectual problems—medical, legal, technological, and beyond.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
ENGL 120British Literature, Medieval to 18th Century H3
ENGL 121British Literature, 19th and Early 20th Century3
or ENGL 150 Introductory Seminar in Literary Studies
ENGL 225Shakespeare H3
One pre-1660 course3
One 1660–1900 course3
One post-1900 course3
Four elective courses (numbered between ENGL 200 and ENGL 699)12
Total Hours30
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Course List Information:

Pre-1660 Courses

ENGL 226Renaissance Drama H3
ENGL 227Literature of the Earlier Renaissance H3
ENGL 228Literature of the Later Renaissance H3
ENGL 230Milton H3
ENGL 285Classical Backgrounds in English Literature3
ENGL 314History of the English Language 13
ENGL 316Rhetorical Traditions 1, H3
ENGL 319Introduction to Medieval English Literature, excluding Chaucer H3
ENGL 320Chaucer H3
ENGL 321Medieval and Modern Arthurian Romance 1, H3
ENGL 322Medieval England and Its Literary Neighbors H3
ENGL 325Shakespeare and His Contemporaries H3
ENGL 326Renaissance Genres3
ENGL 327Renaissance Literature and Its Intellectual Contexts3
ENGL 330Perspectives on the Renaissance3
ENGL 430Renaissance Literature--Contemporary Issues3
ENGL 619Survey of Old and Middle English Literature3
ENGL 630Shakespeare and His Contemporaries3
ENGL 660War in Shakespeare's Plays3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

Courses may fit more than one category but can be counted only once. For example, ENGL 347 may fulfill either the 1660–1900 or the post-1900 requirement, but not both.

1660–1900 Courses

ENGL 278Irish Writing, 1800-2000 13
ENGL 314History of the English Language 13
ENGL 315English in the U.S.A. 1, H3
ENGL 316Rhetorical Traditions 1, H3
ENGL 321Medieval and Modern Arthurian Romance 1, H3
ENGL 33118th-Century Literature H3
ENGL 33218th-Century Drama H3
ENGL 33318th-Century Fiction H3
ENGL 337The Romantic Revolution in the Arts H3
ENGL 33819th-Century British Novel H3
ENGL 339English Romantic-Period Drama3
ENGL 340Studies in Jane Austen3
ENGL 343American Literature before 1860 H3
ENGL 344American Literature, 1860-1900 H3
ENGL 347The American Novel 1, H3
ENGL 367African American Literature to 1930 H3
ENGL 373Southern American Literature 1, H3
ENGL 374Southern Women Writers 13
ENGL 387Canadian Literature 13
ENGL 436Contemporary Approaches to 18th-Century Literature and Culture H3
ENGL 437Chief British Romantic Writers H3
ENGL 439English Literature, 1832-1890 H3
ENGL 440English Literature, 1850-1910 H3
ENGL 441Romantic Literature--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 442Victorian Literature--Contemporary Issues3
ENGL 443American Literature before 1860--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 444American Literature, 1860-1900--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 63118th-Century Literature3
ENGL 637Chief British Romantic Writers3
ENGL 63819th-Century Women Writers3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

Courses may fit more than one category but can be counted only once. For example, ENGL 347 may fulfill either the 1660–1900 or the post-1900 requirement, but not both.

Post-1900 Courses

ENGL 266Science and Literature H3
ENGL 269Introduction to Disability Studies3
ENGL 278Irish Writing, 1800-2000 13
ENGL 281Literature and Media3
ENGL 288Literary Modernism3
ENGL 289Jewish American Literature and Culture of the 20th Century3
ENGL 313Grammar of Current English3
ENGL 314History of the English Language 13
ENGL 315English in the U.S.A. 1, H3
ENGL 316Rhetorical Traditions 1, H3
ENGL 317Networked Composition3
ENGL 318Multimodal Composition H3
ENGL 345American Literature, 1900-2000 H3
ENGL 347The American Novel 1, H3
ENGL 348American Poetry H3
ENGL 35020th-Century British and American Poetry H3
ENGL 355The British Novel from 1870 to World War II H3
ENGL 356British and American Fiction since World War II H3
ENGL 35720th-Century British Literature and Culture3
ENGL 359Latina Feminisms3
ENGL 360Contemporary Asian American Literature and Theory3
ENGL 364Introduction to Latina/o Studies H3
ENGL 365Migration and Globalization H3
ENGL 368African American Literature, 1930-1970 H3
ENGL 369African American Literature, 1970 to the Present H3
ENGL 370Race, Health, and Narrative H3
ENGL 373Southern American Literature 1, H3
ENGL 374Southern Women Writers 13
ENGL 375Contemporary North Carolina Literature3
ENGL 380Film History H3
ENGL 381Literature and Cinema3
ENGL 387Canadian Literature 13
ENGL 388Modernism: Movements and Moments3
ENGL 389Major Film Directors3
ENGL 410Documentary Film H3
ENGL 445American Literature, 1900-2000--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 462Contemporary Poetry and Theory H3
ENGL 463Postcolonial Literature H3
ENGL 466Literary Theory--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 472African American Literature--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 475Southern Literature--Contemporary Issues3
ENGL 481Media Theory H3
ENGL 488Critical Security Studies3
ENGL 489Cultural Studies--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 530Digital Humanities History and Methods3
ENGL 580Film--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 607Theory and Practice of Writing in the Disciplines1-3
ENGL 657English and American Literature of the 20th Century3
ENGL 659War in 20th-Century Literature H3
ENGL 665Queer Latina/o Literature, Performance, and Visual Art3
ENGL 666Queer Latina/o Photography and Literature3
ENGL 674Digital Literature3
ENGL 675Digital Teaching3
ENGL 676Digital Editing and Curation3
ENGL 680Film Theory3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

Courses may fit more than one category but can be counted only once. For example, ENGL 347 may fulfill either the 1660–1900 or the post-1900 requirement, but not both.

Elective Courses

Students may choose elective courses numbered between ENGL 200 and ENGL 699 (which may include any of the courses listed among the core requirements). Students have the option to group these electives within a concentrated area of study called a “pathway.” Pathways are not required, but choosing (or creating) one can help focus studies (e.g., in order to prepare for graduate school or to develop an area of interest to pursue later as a profession). Students may create their own pathway or choose one of the following pre-selected pathways:

  • Transnational literature
  • Writing, editing, publishing
  • Archives to digital humanities: 21st century research methods
  • English and education
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Music, the visual arts, and media studies
  • Literature and social justice
  • Literature, war, and empire
  • Race and ethnicity studies
  • Science, medicine, and literature
  • Theory and philosophy

English majors may choose additional courses, though they should keep in mind that no more than 45 semester hours of English (excluding ENGL 100 and ENGL 105/ENGL 105I) may be used toward the B.A. graduation requirement.

Students must have a grade of C or better in at least 18 semester hours in courses numbered ENGL 120 and above to satisfy the major requirements. All General Education requirements apply.

English (ENGL) course descriptions.

English Major, NUS Joint Degree

English majors may wish to consider applying for the Joint Degree Program, an innovative joint undergraduate degree program between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National University of Singapore. UNC–Chapel Hill undergraduates spend anywhere from two to four semesters at the National University of Singapore and receive a joint bachelor of arts degree from both institutions. For further information, contact the Study Abroad Office.

English Majors in the School of Education

A student interested in teaching English in public high schools can apply to the M.A.T. program for certification after completing a B.A. in English. To meet certification requirements, students should take the following courses as part of, or in addition to, the English major (remaining within the 45-hour limit referenced above):

Three required courses:
ENGL 313Grammar of Current English3
ENGL 368African American Literature, 1930-1970 H3
or ENGL 369 African American Literature, 1970 to the Present
ENGL 373Southern American Literature H3
Two recommended courses:
History of the English Language
Southern Women Writers
Advanced Composition for Teachers
Advanced Composition for Elementary Teachers
American Women Authors H
Total Hours9
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in English and Comparative Literature

Honors in Comparative Literature

Majors with an overall 3.3 grade point average may elect to write an honors thesis by applying for permission to the director of undergraduate studies in the spring semester of their junior year. Students then register for CMPL 691H and CMPL 692H during their senior year. These courses may count as credit towards completion of the major. Students write the 50- to 70-page thesis on a comparative topic under the direction of any faculty member. The student conducts independent research during the summer between junior and senior years, often with the assistance of research funding. The first semester of the senior year involves regular tutorial sessions with the faculty advisor, as well as the completion of most of the writing of the thesis. In the spring students finish the process of writing and defend the completed thesis at an oral examination. For more information about the honors thesis in comparative literature, including examples of past thesis topics, please visit the English and Comparative Literature Honors Thesis Web site.

Honors in Creative Writing

See “Creative Writing Minor."

Honors in English

The Department offers at least two English honors seminars each semester. In addition, students seeking a degree with honors in English (a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and a 3.6 grade point average in major courses required) undertake a yearlong independent project during their senior year (ENGL 691H and ENGL 692H) and usually produce a 40- to 50-page thesis. Students pursuing a degree with honors normally meet every week with the professors supervising their projects. This opportunity for individually directed research and writing often proves to be a high point of the student’s academic career.

Study Abroad

Some of the best programs offered at the University for study overseas are especially appropriate and useful to majors in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. These include semester or yearlong programs at Bristol, Manchester, Sussex, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and certain Australian universities. Students who have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 at the end of their sophomore year can participate in the King’s College Exchange Program at King’s College, London (representing either English or comparative literature). Special opportunities are also available at Oxford University and through the Joint Degree Program with the National University of Singapore. Comparative literature students most frequently travel to non-English-speaking destinations. For information on all overseas programs, see the Study Abroad Office or visit their Web site.