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UTK English

English Major Requirements

English majors satisfy three sets of requirements. University requirements and College of Arts and Sciences requirements are explained in the Undergraduate Catalog. English department requirements are explained in the English Undergraduate Advising Booklet.

Before declaring an English major, all students must first satisfy the prerequisite of the major by completing English 101 and 102 or their equivalents, and taking two 200-level English electives. After satisfying the prerequisite, majors—in consultation with a departmental academic advisor—take ten courses numbered 300 and above, distributed to ensure both breadth and depth of study.

An English major can choose among four concentrations, but all four of the concentrations share a core of five courses with the following distribution:

  • One must be pre-1660 literature
  • One must be of literature written from 1660-1900
  • One must be post-1900 literature
  • One must be in language, theory, folklore, cultural, ethnic, gender, or film studies
  • One must be a capstone course

A list of approved courses for each distribution can be found in the English Undergraduate Advising Booklet. The remaining five courses will be used to complete the concentration requirements. Students may select from the following concentrations:

  • Creative Writing: Aims to help the student develop his or her artistic voice through the writing of poetry, fiction, and drama.
  • Literature: Involves study and analysis of novels, poems, plays, and non-fictional prose in English.
  • Rhetoric and Writing: Uses both writing workshops and theoretical approaches to help the student develop a mastery of self-expression and argument.
  • Technical Communication: Prepares the student to write for business, industry, and science.

The specific distribution requirements for each concentration are detailed in the menus for that concentration. In addition to the four concentrations, a major may choose an individualized program. For students who wish to pursue studies or projects not adequately treated in existing courses, the department offers an opportunity to participate in independent study with a faculty member. In addition to approving such courses of study, the director of undergraduate studies is also empowered to approve individualized concentrations developed by students in consultation with their advisors. These programs should be designed to achieve academically sound objectives that are not addressed by the course requirements for established concentrations.

Courses may NOT count toward more than one category. Depending on the course content, special topics, major authors, senior seminar, junior—senior honors seminar, and any other course with variable content may be petitioned to count in a category where it is not listed.

If a student uses an upper-level course to satisfy a major requirement, he or she may not use it to satisfy an upper-level distribution requirement. Likewise, if an English course is used to satisfy the upper-level distribution, it may not be used to satisfy a major requirement.

Students may count the two 200-level English courses required for prerequisites to the English major toward their College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Distribution Requirements. The courses may also apply to the UT General Education requirement if they display a “WC and/or “AH” at the end of the course description.