English Major

A course may only be used under one designation. Other courses may apply to requirements below with permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Requirements: 10 Courses

One of the following gateway courses:
English 182S Reading Historically
English 184S Readings in Genre
English 186S Reading Thematically

Four Area Study Courses, as follows:
Two courses from Area I: Medieval and Early Modern
One course from Area II: 18th and 19th Century
One course from Area III: Modern and Contemporary
One Criticism, Theory or Methodology (CTM) course

Four English courses as electives, at the 200-level or above (except for English 313A and 313A-1 "Internship in New York)

In order to assess how well we are meeting our goals and learning objectives (https://english.duke.edu/undergraduate/goals-learning-objectives), the English department requires all Senior majors to submit papers for assessment to a workbook on Pebblepad and to write a brief (200-500 word) self-assessment.  Specific instructions for assessment portfolios will be sent to graduating majors in October and March, depending on graduation date.  You will need to complete this exercise in order for the DUS’s office to approve you for graduation with a major in English. 

Requirements for the Major offered Fall 2016
Requirements for the Major offered Spring 2017
Requirements for the Major offered Fall 2017
Requirements for the Major offered Spring 2018
Requirements for the Major offered Fall 2018
Requirements for the Major offered Spring 2019
Requirements for the Major offered Fall 2019
Requirements for the Major offered Spring 2020

Requirements for the Major offered Fall 2020

Full course descriptions for Fall 2020 courses offered or visit english.duke.edu/courses.

Best Practices for the Majors

Our major gives students the flexibility to balance requirements and electives. We also offer a variety of courses with which to fulfill requirements. Below are a list of best practices for navigating the major. These suggestions are designed to help you develop the skills and foundations you need to excel in coursework, explore known passions, and discover unexpected areas of interest.

  1. The English Department has designed the major with a specific order in mind. We advise that you take the introductory course Eng. 101 in your sophomore year. It will teach you the building blocks of critical reading and writing literary analysis.

  2. Take one of the two required Area I courses by your junior year. You will then gain crucial exposure to the canonical works of literature that shape subsequent literary movements.

  3. Take at least one course that will expose you to the diverse communities and continents that have produced some of the best literature in the English language. We offer courses in African, Asian, Caribbean, diasporic, and minority literatures that will broaden your perspective on English as a global language.

  4. Challenge yourself in areas of greatest interest. Take a 400-level or 500-level English course as a senior on a specialized topic about which you are passionate.

  5. Write an Honors Thesis. It will give you the opportunity to conduct independent research and cultivate a strong relationship with a faculty mentor. Writing a thesis is often the most memorable educational experience of one’s college career.

Plan-of-Study Worksheet

DOWNLOAD: Major Worksheet (pdf)

Independent Study

DOWNLOAD: Independent Study Form (pdf)