Major Requirements - for students admitted prior to 2022-2023

If you were admitted 2022-2023 and after, please see:

Major Requirements - for students admitted 2022-2023 and after


2021/2022 English A.B. (Bachelor of Arts) Major Requirements

Checklist of English major requirements for the A.B. degree. Check with the College of Letters & Science Dean's Office regarding other College & University requirements (GE's and foreign language).  Use to confirm where you are at with College & University requirements.)

Curious what's being offered this year toward the major? Check out our Year at a Glance page!

Preparatory Subject Matter (20 units)

UWP 1, Expository Writing, OR ENL 3, Introduction to Literature, OR AP score 4 or 5

One course from:

  • ENL 40, Introductory Topics in Literature
  • ENL 41, Introductory Topics in Literature & Media
  • ENL 43, Introductory Topics in Drama
  • ENL 44, Introductory Topics in Fiction
  • ENL 45, Introductory Topics in Poetry

AND three courses from: 

  • ENL 10A, Literatures in English I: to 1700
  • ENL 10B, Literatures in English II: 1700-1900
  • ENL 10C, Literatures in English III:  1900-Present


Core Requirements for all emphases (32 units)

A. Literary Criticism (4 units):

  • ENL 110A, Introduction to Literary Theory OR
  • ENL 110B, Introduction to Modern Literary and Critical Theory


B. Historical Distribution (20 units):

Three courses focusing on literature written in English before 1800, at least one of which must be on literature written primarily before 1500:

Before 1500:

  • ENL 111, Medieval Literature
  • ENL 113A, Chaucer: Troilus and "Minor" Poems
  • ENL 113B, Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales


  • ENL 115, Topics in 16th & 17th Century Literature
  • ENL 117,  Shakespeare
  • ENL 122, Milton
  • ENL 123, Topics in 18th Century British Literature
  • ENL 142, Early American Literature
  • ENL 150A, British Drama to 1800
  • ENL 155A, 18th Century British Novel
  • ENL 185A**, Literature by Women before 1800

One course focusing on literature written in English between 1800 and 1900:

  • ENL 130, British Romantic Literature
  • ENL 133, 19th Century British Literature
  • ENL 143, 19th Century American Literature to the Civil War
  • ENL 144, Post-Civil War American Literature
  • ENL 155B, 19th Century British Novel
  • ENL 158A, The American Novel to 1900
  • ENL 181A**, African American Literature to 1900
  • ENL 185B**, Literature by Women from 1800-1900

One course focusing on literature written in English between 1900 and the present:

  • ENL 137, British Literature 1900-1945
  • ENL 138, British Literature 1945-Present
  • ENL 146, American Literature 1900-1945
  • ENL 147, American Literature 1945 to the present
  • ENL 150B, British Drama from 1800 to the present
  • ENL 154, The Graphic Novel
  • ENL 155C, 20th Century British Novel
  • ENL 156, The Short Story
  • ENL 157, Detective Fiction
  • ENL 158B, The American Novel from 1900 to the present
  • ENL 166**, Love & Desire in Contemporary American Poetry
  • ENL 167**, 20th Century African American Poetry
  • ENL 168, 20th Century American Poetry
  • ENL 181B**, African-American Literature 1900-present
  • ENL 185C**, Literature by Women after 1900


C. Non-Historical Distribution (8 units):

One course on literature and ethnicity, literature and gender, or literature and sexuality:

  • ENL 125, Topics in Irish Literature
  • ENL 139, Topics in Global Literatures and Cultures
  • ENL 140, Topics in Postcolonial Literatures & Culture
  • ENL 141, Topics in Diasporic Literatures & Migration
  • ENL 166**, Love & Desire in Contemporary American Poetry
  • ENL 167**, 20th Century African American Poetry
  • ENL 178, Topics in Nations, Regions, and Other Cultural Geographies
  • ENL 179,  Topics in Comparative Racial & Ethnic Literary Studies
  • ENL 181A**, African American Literature to 1900
  • ENL 181B**, African American Literature 1900-present
  • ENL 185A**, Literature by Women before 1800
  • ENL 185B**, Literature by Women 1800-1900
  • ENL 185C**, Literature by Women after 1900
  • ENL 186, Literature, Sexuality, and Gender

One course in film and media studies, language studies, cultural studies and contexts, literature and science/technology, or literature and the environment:

  • ENL 105, History of the English Language
  • ENL/LIN/UWP 106, English Grammar
  • ENL 107, Freedom of Expression
  • ENL 120, Law & Literature
  • ENL 160, Film as Narrative
  • ENL 161A, Film History I: Origins to 1945
  • ENL 161B, Film History II: 1945 to present
  • ENL 162, Film Theory & Criticism
  • ENL/STS 164, Writing Science
  • ENL 171A, The Bible as Literature: The Old Testament
  • ENL 171B, The Bible as Literature: Prophets and New Testament
  • ENL/CDM/STS 172, Video Games & Culture
  • ENL/STS 173, Science Fiction
  • ENL 175, American Literary Humor
  • ENL 180, Children's Literature
  • ENL 182, Literature of California
  • ENL 183, Adolescent Literature
  • ENL 184, Literature & Environment


**Please note that while some courses may be used to fulfill more than one distribution requirement, a given course can only fulfill one such requirement, i.e., you may not fulfill two distribution areas with a single course.


Emphases (12 units)

Literature, Criticism, and Theory emphasis

One upper division English elective (4 units) AND

Two advanced courses, one of which can be a Seminar (S): (8 units)

Please note that ENL 110A or 110B is a prerequisite for advanced study in the major.

  • ENL 149, Topics in Literature
  • ENL 153, Topics in Drama
  • ENL 159, Topics in the Novel
  • ENL 163, Literary Study in the British Isles
  • ENL 165, Topics in Poetry
  • ENL 177, Study of an Individual Author


What is a Seminar?  Unlike a traditional lecture, the content and direction of which are usually framed and led by the instructor, a seminar requires individual participants to take significant responsibility for the emphases and outcomes of class meetings.  Students interested in enrolling in a seminar should expect to contribute their responses to the weekly readings and to share the fruits of their own researches at every class meeting.


  • ENL 187A, Topics in Literature and Media (S)
  • ENL 188A, Topics in Literary and Critical Theory (S)
  • ENL 189, Seminar in Literary Studies (S)
  • ENL 194H, Special Study for Honors Student
  • ENL 195H, Honors Thesis


Creative Writing emphasis 

Majors specializing in Creative Writing will take three courses drawn from the following.  Students must select courses in more than one genre:  (Note the prerequisite of ENL 5F, 5NF, or 5P for ENL 100F/100P)

  • ENL 100F, Creative Writing: Fiction (4 units)
  • ENL 100FA, Creative Writing Adv. Fiction (4 units)
  • ENL 100NF, Creative Writing: Nonfiction (4 units)
  • ENL 100P, Creative Writing: Poetry (4 units)
  • ENL 100PA, Creative Writing: Adv. Poetry (4 units)


Literature is taught in many departments outside of English.  English majors pursuing the Literature, Criticism, and Theory emphasis may substitute one upper-division literature course from a different department for their upper-division elective requirement (1 4-unit course).  Many courses in comparative literature, individual foreign language and literature (Spanish, German, etc.), and ethnic and gender studies qualify, including: Chicana/Chicano Studies 154, 155, and 156; Asian American Studies 121 and 130; Native American Studies 181ABC, 184, 185, and 188; African and African American Studies 152, 153, and 157; and Women and Gender Studies 178a-f, 179, and 180.  This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many additional courses that might be accepted for elective credit depending on the approach and reading list.  Consult the undergraduate advisor for approval before proceeding.

It is strongly recommended that you see your adviser once per quarter ( There may be changes that could affect you.