Program Requirements and Opportunities
Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.
The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.
The English Department offers a wide range of courses in British, American, and Anglophone literatures, from medieval romance to contemporary novels and film. Students develop their own paths through the major, experimenting with historical periods, genres, and forms while also developing expertise in specific areas.
The department stresses critical thinking, incisive writing and speaking, and a sense of initiative and responsibility for the enterprise of interpretation. With their advisers, English majors design a program of study that deepens their understanding of diverse genres, textual traditions, and periods. We encourage students to explore the history of cultural production and reception and also to question the presuppositions of literary study. The major culminates in an independently written essay of 30-40 pages, developed during a senior research seminar in the fall semester and individually mentored by a faculty member in the spring. Students are expected to take at least two English courses at Bryn Mawr before signing up for the major or minor.
Summary of the Major
The major requires a total of eleven courses. Three courses are required: 250, 398 and 399. Of the other 8 courses, at least three must be at the 300 level (exclusive of 398 and 399). All 300 level courses must be taken at BMC or HC. 250 must be taken before the senior year. One 100 level class may be taken as a first year or sophomore, and only one may be taken. Note: One 200 level Creative Writing course can count towards the major.
- ENGL B250 Methods of Literary Study, (must be taken before the senior year. Prerequisite: at least one 200 level course)
- ENGL B398 Senior Seminar (offered Mondays in the fall, 2:30-4pm)
- ENGL B399 Senior Essay (taken in the spring, with an individual adviser)
Summary of the Minor
Students must declare their minor by the end of their junior year.
- The minor requires a total of six courses
- Five English courses (at least one at the 300 level). 300 levels must be taken at BMC or HC. One 200 level Creative Writing course may count towards the minor.
- ENGL B250 Methods of Literary Study (must be taken before the senior year. Prerequisite: one or preferably two 200-level English courses)
By the end of their junior year, English majors must satisfy the College's Writing Intensive Requirement. English 250 is the department’s WI course.
Minor in Film Studies
There is no limit to the number of courses in film studies that may count toward the English major, except for a student majoring in English who is also seeking to declare a minor in film studies. In that case two (and only two) of the courses that comprise the six-course film studies minor may also count towards the eleven-course English major. The minimum number of courses required to complete an English major and a minor in film studies is thus fifteen courses.
Concentration in Creative Writing
Students may elect a concentration in creative writing. Three courses in your English major may be CW courses, one of them at the 300 level. You must still take English 250 and 398 and 399. Students enrolling in this concentration must seek the approval of their major adviser in English and of the director of the Creative Writing Program; they must enroll in the concentration before the end of their sophomore year.
The Department of English contributes courses toward minors in Africana Studies, in Environmental Studies, and in the Program in Gender and Sexuality.
Students Going Abroad
Students should complete both English 250 and one 300-level course before leaving for a semester or year abroad. Up to two courses from study abroad may count toward the English major, provided they get departmental approval. Send your request, and full syllabuses of the courses you took/will take, to the department chair.
English Majors and the Education Certification Program
English majors planning to complete an education certification in their senior year should file a work plan with the chairs of the Education and English Departments no later than December 1 of their junior year. English majors on this path will follow an accelerated writing schedule in their senior year.
Some students seek a longer horizon and a chance to dig deeper into their research interests. Rising juniors and seniors in English frequently apply for fellowship support from the Hanna Holborn Gray program, to pursue original research over the summer or through the year. The projects may be stand-alone or may lead to a senior essay. In either case, students work closely with faculty advisers to define the goals, methods, and potential outcomes of their research
Students who have done distinguished work in their courses in the major and who write outstanding senior essays will be considered for departmental honors.