Requirements of the Major

The following is a summary of the requirements for the English major. For a full description, please refer to the English Language and Literature segment of the Yale College Programs of Study, under Subjects of Instruction.

English Major Roadmap (pdf)

Number of courses  

14 courses, including the Senior Requirement.

Distribution of Courses  

3 foundational courses chosen from ENGL 125, 126, 127, and 128.  At least one course in each of the following four historical periods: Medieval, Renaissance, 18th/19th Century, 20th/21st Century. At least one junior seminar. Up to 5 courses numbered 130 or below. Up to 2 creative writing courses.

Senior Requirement  

Meeting with Yale librarian. Standard major: 2 senior seminars; or 1 senior seminar and 1 senior essay (ENGL 490); or a two-term senior essay (ENGL 490, 491). Writing concentration: a senior seminar or senior essay, plus the writing concentration senior project (ENGL 489).

Substitutions permitted 

Up to 2 relevant upper-level courses in other departments may substitute for electives in the major; residential college seminars may substitute for electives in the major. A complete year of Directed Studies: Literature or ENGL 129 and 130 may substitute for one of the three required foundational courses. Two advanced courses covering material overlapping substantially with any one of the foundational courses may be substituted for it. All substitutions require the permission of the DUS. 

Writing concentration 

Students who enter the writing concentration must fulfill the same requirements as all English majors, except that they count 4 creative writing courses toward the major, including ENGL 489 (The Writing Concentration Senior Project). It is expected that senior applicants will have completed by the end of the fall semester the following: 1) at least two creative writing courses numbered ENGL 451 or higher, with at least one of these courses being in the genre in which they plan to complete ENGL 489 (i.e., either Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, or Drama) and 2) one creative writing course in another genre, numbered ENGL 131 or higher. Creative writing concentrators must complete at least 11 literature courses in addition to their creative writing courses.

Foundational Courses

125:  English Poetry I
126:  English Poetry II
127:  American Literature
128:  World Anglophone Literature

Historical Distributional Areas

18th Century/19th Century
20th/21st Century