English Department

Major & Minor

This is a general overview of the major and minor. For more information, please consult the current college catalogue or contact the department.

English 104-105 is a two-semester sequence that is foundational to the liberal arts. Key literary works of the Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman heritage and the British and American traditions serve as the basis for instruction in writing and rhetoric. Students take English 104 (Great Books in the Western Tradition: Ancient to Medieval) the spring semester of the freshman year, and English 105 (Great Books in the British and American Traditions) the fall semester of the sophomore year.

All students choosing English as their field of concentration should consult the chair of the Department as soon as possible.

Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors is a distinction available to graduating students given the following criteria.  English majors who have a departmental G.P.A. of approximately 3.6 or higher and who wish to write an honors thesis must propose a thesis topic in the spring semester of their junior year and submit a formal application in the early weeks of their senior year.  The application will be reviewed by the entire Department.  Applications are available from the Department chairman and must be submitted no later than October 1st.  Only successful applicants will then beenrolled in English 575 during the spring semester of their senior year.  Part of the application consists of securing a professor to be an advisor for the thesis, as well as a secondary reader for the completed thesis.  These faculty will constitute the student’s thesis committee.  Honors will be granted only to those students whose thesis earns an “A-” or above and who maintain their departmental G.P.A. of 3.6 until graduation. 

English Major & Minor

The English major consists of at least 27 hours of English beyond 104-105. For the major, students must take any three of the four British Literature period courses:

  • English 310: Anglo-Saxon and Medieval British Literature: 600-1500 
  • English 320: Renaissance British Literature: 1500-1660
  • English 330: Restoration and Romantic British Literature: 1660-1830
  • English 340: Victorian and Modern British Literature: 1830-present

Likewise, majors must take any two of the three American Literature courses:

  • English 350: American Literature: Colonial-1820
  • English 360: American Literature: 1820-1890
  • English 370: American Literature: 1890-present

As these courses together comprise the core of the major, students are encouraged to take as many as possible before venturing into the more specialized courses at the 400 level.

In addition to the 15-hour minimum in historical period courses, students must also take at least 12 hours (four courses) at the 400 level:

  • English 401: Special Studies in British Literature
  • English 402: Special Studies in American Literature
  • English 403: Special Studies in Western Literature 
  • English 404: Special Studies in Genre, Literary Criticism and Writing

At least three of the four 400-level course areas must be represented, and at the instructor’s discretion, prerequisites among the 300-level courses may apply to a specific course at the 400 level. Courses at the 400 level may be repeated as long as the specific topic for the course is not the same. Each semester, the Department will issue a bulletin (in time for registration) detailing the topics, instructors and any prerequisites for its 400-level courses. These bulletins will be available from the Department chairman, secretary and/or website.

With the permission of the English Department chairman, up to three hours of credit from courses taken outside English may count toward the 400-level requirement in the major. Upper-level offerings in the Departments of Theatre and Speech, Classical Studies, French, German and Spanish are examples of courses that may qualify for this credit. These credits may not be used to count toward requirements in another major or minor. Likewise, no more than six hours of English credit, including Hillsdale-approved study-abroad credit, may be transferred in for the English major. Credit toward the major or minor in English is not granted for hours earned by Advanced Placement (AP) work.

A minor in English consists of 18 hours of credit in English and/or journalism courses. Students must take at least one English period course chosen from the following:

  • English 310: Anglo-Saxon and Medieval British Literature: 600-1500 
  • English 320: Renaissance British Literature: 1500-1660
  • English 330: Restoration and Romantic British Literature: 1660-1830
  • English 340: Victorian and Modern British Literature: 1830-present

Students must also take at least one American period course chosen from the following:

  • English 350: American Literature: Colonial-1820
  • English 360: American Literature: 1820-1890
  • English 370: American Literature: 1890-present

In addition, students must take two 400-level literature courses. The remaining required hours are completely open. No more than six hours of journalism internship credit may be applied toward the minor. The internships must be pre-approved.