English, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

The study of English develops skills in reading analytically and perceptively and in writing clearly and effectively. Students major in English by taking courses in a wide variety of media, genres, topics, and historical periods. All students are introduced to the major by completing 20 units spread over courses in writing, any one of many topics courses, and the gateway series to the English major that covers “Literature in English” from the earliest medieval texts to the present. Students then build their own path through the major depending upon their particular interests, eventually completing 44 more units covering different historical periods, methods of theory and criticism, and thematic focuses. After a shared set of courses, students choose to specialize either in Literary Criticism and Theory or Creative Writing. All majors have the opportunity to work with distinguished writers, critics,  scholars, and teachers.

English majors learn how to:

  • Write clearly and effectively.
  • Think creatively and analytically.
  • Organize and communicate ideas creatively and efficiently.
  • Analyze and critically evaluate language and other forms of representation.
  • Understand texts within their historical, political, and cultural contexts.
  • Recognize and evaluate various perspectives, through creating or reading fiction, drama, and poetry.
  • Evaluate how fictional and non-fictional narratives structure thought and action.
  • Read long texts closely, analytically, and efficiently.
  • Respond spontaneously with organized, clear statements and ideas.

Career Options

Graduates have found the major excellent pre-professional training for careers in teaching, writing, law, medicine, library work, journalism, and more. Many graduates are employed in publishing, marketing, advertising, or the tech sector. Others have worked in local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as in industry. Many have gone on to graduate study in a wide range of fields including English, education, counseling, and more.

Major Advisors

G. Bloom, S. Boluk, S. Chaganti, Z. Clemmons, J. Clover, L. Corin, G. Dobbins, F. Dolan, K. Frederickson, P. Houston, H. Hsu, M. Jerng, X. Lee, D. Martín, J. Marx, T. Menely, C. Milburn, E. Miller, A. Naffis-Sahely, K. Peterson, M. Ronda, M. Stratton, M. Vernon, C. Waters, T. Werth, R. Zecena, M. Ziser

Major Advising

All new and prospective English majors are encouraged to see an undergraduate staff advisor, individually, once per year, at minimum.

Foreign Languages

Students who contemplate advanced study in English should prepare for foreign language requirements for higher degrees and should consult with the graduate advisor.

Undergraduate Advisor

See English or the Departmental Advising Office in 177/179 Voorhies Hall.

Honors & Honors Program

A Senior Honors Program is available to an invited group of English majors, who prepare and write a Senior Thesis (either a research paper or creative writing) in their final year. The critical honors program consists of 4 units of 194H and 4 units of 195H, normally taken during fall and spring quarters of the senior year. The creative writing honors program consists of 4 units of 100FA or 100PA, normally taken during spring quarter of the junior year, and 4 units of 195H, normally taken winter quarter of the senior year. Completion of the program is a prerequisite for High or Highest Honors at graduation. Eligibility criteria and application materials may be obtained at the Undergraduate Advising office in 177 Voorhies Hall or see English. For more details, see Graduation Honors.

Education Abroad Options

The department strongly encourages interested students to pursue their studies abroad. It is possible for students to complete significant portions of the English major provided that the course is evaluated as at least 4 UC Davis units; the course is considered upper division by the standards set forth by UC Davis Study Abroad; and the student presents copies of the coursework, syllabus, and writing assignments to the department’s advising staff.

Teaching Credential Subject Representative

A major in English qualifies students for subject matter preparation for the teaching credential.

Entry Level Writing

Students must have met the Entry Level Writing Requirement before taking any course in English.


ENL 003 or UWP 001 is required for admission into all preparatory courses (ENL 040, ENL 041, ENL 043, ENL 044, ENL 045, ENL 010A, ENL 010B, ENL 010C), and all upper division courses, unless otherwise stated in the course listings. COM 001, COM 002, COM 003, or COM 004 or NAS 005 may normally be substituted for ENL 003 or UWP 001.


Up to 4 upper division units in a literature class outside of English may count toward the requirements of the major.

The major requirements below are in addition to meeting University Degree Requirements & College Degree Requirements; unless otherwise noted. The minimum number of units required for the English Bachelor of Arts is 64.

Preparatory Subject Matter
Choose one:4
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Academic Literacies
Introduction to Academic Literacies: Online
Introduction to Academic Literacies
Or equivalent
ENL 010ALiteratures in English I: To 17004
ENL 010BLiteratures in English II: 1700-19004
ENL 010CLiteratures in English III: 1900 to Present4
Choose one:4
Introductory Topics in Literature
Introductory Topics in Literature & Media
Introductory Topics in Drama
Introductory Topics in Fiction
Introductory Topics in Poetry
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal20
Depth Subject Matter
ENL 110AIntroduction to Literary Theory4
or ENL 110B Introduction to Modern Literary & Critical Theory
Historical Distribution Requirements
Choose three courses focusing on literature written in English before 1800, at least one of which must be on literature written primarily before 1500:12
Before 1500
Topics in Medieval Literature
Chaucer: Troilus & the "Minor" Poems
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Topics in 16th- & 17th-Century Literature
18th-Century British Literature
Early American Literature
British Drama to 1800
18th-Century British Novel
Literature by Women Before 1800
Choose one course focusing on literature written in English between 1800 and 1900:4
British Romantic Literature
19th-Century British Literature
19th-Century American Literature to the Civil War
Post-Civil War American Literature
19th-Century British Novel
The American Novel to 1900
African American Literature to 1900
Literature by Women from 1800-1900
Choose one course focusing on literature written in English between 1900 and present:4
Topics in Irish Literature
British Literature, 1900-1945
British Literature, 1945 to Present
American Literature 1900-1945
American Literature, 1945 to the Present
Drama from 1800 to the Present
The Graphic Novel
20th-Century British Novel
The Short Story
Detective Fiction
The American Novel from 1900 to the Present
Love & Desire in Contemporary American Poetry
20th-Century African American Poetry
20th-Century American Poetry
African American Literature 1900-Present
Literature by Women after 1900
Non-Historical Distribution Requirements
Choose one course on literatures, race, and ethnicity:4
Topics in Global Literatures & Cultures
Topics in Postcolonial Literatures & Cultures
Topics in Diasporic Literatures & Migration
20th-Century African American Poetry
Topics in Nations, Regions, & Other Cultural Geographies
Topics in Comparative Racial & Ethnic Literary Studies
African American Literature to 1900
African American Literature 1900-Present
Literature of California
Choose one in-depth topic course in language, media, and literature:4
History of the English Language
English Grammar
Freedom of Expression
Law & Literature
Film as Narrative
Film Theory & Criticism
Writing Science
The Bible as Literature: The Old Testament
The Bible as Literature: Prophets & New Testament
Video Games & Culture
Science Fiction
Children's Literature
Young Adult Literature
Literature & the Environment
Literature, Sexuality, & Gender
Video Games & Culture
English Grammar
Video Games & Culture
Science Fiction
English Grammar
Please note that while some courses are identified as fulfilling more than one distribution requirement, a given course can only fulfill one such requirement.
Area of Emphasis
Choose at least one:12
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal44
Total Units64

Literature, Criticism, & Theory Emphasis

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

One upper division English elective.4
Choose two advanced courses, one of which can be a seminar:8
Topics in Literature
Topics in Drama
Topics in the Novel
Literary Study in the British Isles
Topics in Poetry
Study of an Individual Author
Topics in Literature & Media
Topics in Literary & Critical Theory
Seminar in Literary Studies
Seminar for Honors Students
Honors Thesis
Total Units12

Creative Writing Emphasis

Please note that students must select courses in more than one genre.
Three sections of:12
Creative Writing: Fiction
Creative Writing: Poetry
Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
Creative Writing Advanced Fiction
Creative Writing Advanced Poetry
Total Units12