English FAQs

Does my first-year seminar count among the “introductory courses” (which are capped at 5)?

Because they tend to be more specific in terms of their content, FYSs do not count as introductory courses; rather, they count towards the major in the same way as junior seminars. This means that they can be used to fulfill the period requirement, and they do not count toward the cap of 5 intro courses.

What is the junior seminar requirement?

You are required to take an advanced literature seminar (that is, junior or senior level, and not a creative writing course) at some point in your junior year. Please note, though, that if you take the course for senior seminar credit, as you may do in your second semester junior year, you may not also use it to fulfill the junior seminar requirement.

Can I take a senior seminar as a junior seminar?

Yes, but see the answer just above for a caveat.

If I take a senior seminar before my senior year, will it count for senior seminar credit?

Only if it is taken in the second semester of your junior year.  In the first semester of your junior year, it can count to fulfill the junior seminar requirement (as well as period requirements). While a few students take senior seminars in their sophomore years, at this point they may count for period requirements but will not fulfill any “seminar” requirement.

Can I take a junior seminar to fulfill the senior seminar credit?

Yes, with permission of the instructor, and by agreeing to write a long final paper that involves a serious research component.  If you want to do this, you should submit the “Senior Seminar Certification Form” at the beginning of the semester. Your instructor also needs to confirm that you have completed the requirement at the end of the semester.

Can a junior or senior seminar also fulfill a period requirement?


How can I get a relevant course in another department to be counted toward the major?

Go to the Forms page and click on “Outside Course Request Form” to submit such a request. This request should be sent in any time AFTER you have completed the course in question, although you should feel free to reach out to the DUS or ADUS in advance of taking a course to ask if it is likely to be counted.

Can a course outside of the English Major be counted for a period requirement?

Courses outside of English are not counted toward the period requirement. The one exception to this rule is for courses taken for transfer credit at other institutions.  If these are English courses, they may be counted if the DUS considers them to be roughly equivalent to courses offered at Yale.

How do I get a course to count for a period requirement if it could be applied to more than one period?

Fill out and submit the “English Distribution Request Form” at the end of term.

How many CR/D classes can I apply to the major?

There is no limit on number of CR/D classes majors can take in English, but it is worth noting that such courses will count as non-A classes for the purposes of determining eligibility for distinction in the major.

What summer opportunities are available for Yale English Majors?

While it is rare for undergraduates to find work as research assistants for professors in our discipline, students often can find funding to conduct their own summer research through their colleges—especially if it will contribute to their senior essays.  There are also internships available in journalism and at libraries; to help students locate summer opportunities, we have recently started to compile a database.  We strongly encourage you to add to it if you have any relevant experiences!

How do I get into the Writing Concentration?

Full information about this process can be found here.

How do I find a faculty advisor?

You may always reach out to a professor you know to ask if they will serve as your advisor.  If they agree, please let Jane know so that we can keep a record.  If you do not choose your own advisor, one will be assigned to you sometime prior to the fall of your junior year. Note: while it is fine to have an informal advisor who is a Creative Writing professor or a member of the adjunct faculty, we want to make sure each major has been assigned an advisor who is a member of the ladder faculty.

My degree audit seems wrong. What should I do?

Please contact the Department Registrar, Erica Sayers.

How should I approach an instructor for a letter of reference?

Different instructors have different expectations, but it’s a good rule of thumb to ask for a letter of reference several weeks in advance of the deadline. Be prepared to share your application documents with the instructor before they write their letter. If the instructor asks you to complete a recommendation letter request form, please send a copy to Erica Sayers.