The English Major
An undergraduate degree in English is one of the most versatile degrees in the Humanities. English students graduate with advanced skills in research, rhetoric, persuasive writing, critical reading and more. Our graduates go on to careers in law, business and academics among others. Our students enjoy a broad range of opportunities to enhance their studies including lectures, reading series, and a robust internship program
Undergraduate students may apply for admission into the College of Arts & Sciences after successfully completing 26 hours of academic work. For more information on the requirements for admittance to English, or any other A & S program, click here.
At the time of application, you will need to declare English as your major and speak with the Arts & Sciences advisor for English majors, Kelly Neuschwanger. Please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Advisement Directory for more information and to schedule an appointment.
Roadmap to the English Major
Step I: Core Classes (10 Hours):
The following courses are prerequisites which students must complete before they may declare a major in English. Students could take core courses concurrently.
- English 249: Introduction to Studies in English (1 Credit)
- English 250: Literary Textual Analysis (3 Credits)
- Survey of Pre-1830 Literatures
- Survey of Post-1830 Literatures
The first core course, English 249 (“Introduction to Studies in English”), is a 1-credit advisement course as the committee has conceived of it, providing students with a broad overview of all aspects of the English major. The course is designed to inform student about the different specializations within the major while guiding students in their initial preparations for a career or graduate study. The course will address the questions: “What can I do as an English major while I am at UNM?” and “What can I do with my B.A. in English once I graduate from UNM?” During this course, students will be introduced to the undergraduate English curriculum itself, including Steps 1, 2, and 3, as well the letter of application and intent they will write when ready to declare their English major.
The department believes that the current version of English 250 is the best course for all prospective English majors to take as they begin their studies in the discipline. No matter what specialization a student pursues within the major, literary/textual analysis is an essential skill.
All English majors should take two courses in literary history and geography, one surveying Post-1830 Literatures and on surveying Pre-1830 Literatures. Major Authors courses may not substitute for either of the two surveys.
Step 2: Declaration of Major
In order to officially declare English as their major, students must submit a letter of intent and application for approval by the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. Though the letter need not consist of more than a paragraph, students must convey a prospective course of study, as well as a sense of what they wish to do with their degrees after they have graduated. Students will not, however, be held to their prospective courses of study and will have the option of “BEST,” or Bachelors in English Studies option, a. k. a. the smorgasbord approach.
In order to assist students in the composition of their letter, each of the field groups will prepare suggested courses of study within their areas of expertise. These suggested courses of study are designed, as well, to address concerns about prerequisites and advisement for different possible post-graduate careers/study. This step requires students to self-identify their interests, to take possession of their education, and to be proactive in planning their course of studies, even if that course is wide-ranging.
Although students will not be required to list, let alone to adhere to, a specific set of courses, this step will also allow the department to schedule courses in response to students’ expressed needs and interests. Rather than admitting English majors into the department with a minimum GPA, students wishing to declare their majors in English will demonstrate success in the courses required in Step 1
Step 3: Student-Directed Course of Study (24 hours)
Students must take eight (8) classes in the English department. No more than two (2) of these classes may be 200-level classes, thus allowing, for example, students who are interested in more than one area of study (e.g., Creative Writing and Professional Writing) to take a second introductory course for credit, or students who wish to delve deeply into a particular field (e.g., American minority literatures) to take a third survey course for credit.
At least three (3) of these classes must be 400-level classes and may include the Honors Capstone Course (English 412) but not the independent studies associated with honors (English 497 and 490). Neither English 497 nor English 490 may count toward the 24 student-directed course of study credit hours, but may be taken as additional credit hours.During Step 3, students are required to take one 3-hour 300-level course that is writing intensive. Students may choose English 320 (no pre-requisites) or any course approved by the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies as writing intensive.
The English Department is committed to the success of all of our students, whether undergraduate, graduate or core course student. Part of that commitment is our team of advisors who work closely with students to help them plan their academic career, navigate university and college requirements, and perform the dozens of other tasks students face in their academic career.