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Jeong-Oh Kim teaches Intro to Poetry sitting with students on Library Lawn

Major and Minor

Explore and Discover The English Department at Vanderbilt offers an extensive and diverse curriculum over three majors, two minors and an Honors program that reflects the interest of students and the ever-widening field of English literary study. Join our department to cultivate highly valued analytical, reading and writing skills that form the foundation for post-graduate work or professional disciplines such as law, medicine, journalism, and business.

The Major in English

The Department of English offers three distinct concentrations that allow students to individualize their studies while acquiring the breadth of knowledge and skills of the traditional English major. 

Program I: Literary Studies

Students pursue a broad range of interests through a flexible approach to the study of literature.

  • 6 credit hours in History (literature before 1800)
  • 6 credit hours in Diverse Perspectives (Ethnic American or Anglophone Literature)
  • 18 additional credit hours of English electives that count toward the major. This may include one 1000-level course. 

Program II: Creative Writing

Students develop their creative writing while acquiring an overview of English literature.

  • 12 credit hours of 3000-level creative writing workshops in at least two different genres (nonfiction, fiction, poetry)
  • 3 credit hours in History (literature before 1800)
  • 3 credit hours in Diverse Perspectives (Ethnic American or Anglophone Literature)
  • 12 credit hours from courses that count toward the English major. This may include one additional creative writing workshop and one 1000-level course. 

Program III: Specialized Critical Studies

Students develop their own specialized course of study with a descriptive name and develop a contract of courses for it.

  • 12 credit hours of course work concentrated in a particular period (e.g. nineteenth-century American literature), genre, or movement (e.g. the novel), an aspect of intellectual history (e.g. law and literature), or other area of special interest. Up to 9 credit hours may be taken in courses from other departments relevant to the concentration. In consultation with a major adviser, each student selects specific courses, which are listed in a Contract for Interdisciplinary Major that is filed after the student has formally declared the major.
  • 6 credit hours in History (literature before 1800)
  • 6 credit hours in Diverse Perspectives (Ethnic American or Anglophone Literature)
  • 6 credit hours from any of the courses that count towards the English major

The Minor in English

Program I: Minor in Literary Studies

At least 18 credit hours of course work in English is required. These courses must include 3 credit hours in History (literature before 1800) and 3 credit hours in Diverse Perspectives (Ethnic American or Anglophone Literature). Please note that only one 1000-level English course may count towards the minor. 

Program II: Minor in Creative Writing

At least 18 credit hours of course work in English are required. These courses must include 9 credit hours of 3000-level creative writing workshops (nonfiction, fiction, or poetry) and 9 hours of courses that count toward the English Major (all English courses number 2050 and above, this may include one additional 3000-level workshop and one approved 1000-level English course).

Declaring an English Major or Minor

Complete the Declaration of Major/Minor Form and email it to Inge Klaps. When you turn in your form, you will be assigned an adviser who will help you plan out your major or minor.