English Major | English Minor
General Distribution Requirement
All courses in the English department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except for creative writing courses (ENGL 150, ENGL 280, ENGL 281, ENGL 282, ENGL 283, ENGL 284, ENGL 405, and ENGL 406). Courses numbered ENGL 150, ENGL 280, ENGL 281, ENGL 282, ENGL 283, ENGL 284, ENGL 405, and ENGL 406 count toward the requirement in fine arts. ENGL 101 and 600-level courses do not count toward any distribution requirement.
General Education Requirements
Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and multiculturalism will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.
Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.
The English department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations are available from the department office or the Director of Academic Programs.
ENGL 194, ENGL 294, ENGL 394, ENGL 494
Topics courses offer alternative and exploratory approaches to literary works and issues through, for example, interdisciplinary study, studies of single authors or groups of authors from several periods, or studies of recurrent themes in literature. These courses often reflect faculty members’ interests in new approaches to literary study or new areas of study. Several topics courses are offered each year, and students should consult the detailed course descriptions in the English department offices and the English department website. Every year. (4 credits)
The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.
Students earning a major in English choose between two paths: English or Creative Writing. The English path consists of a minimum of ten courses (40 credits) in English, including a capstone experience in literature. The Creative Writing path consists of the requirements for the English major, as defined below under English, plus the use of departmental electives for five creative writing courses (20 credits), including a capstone experience in Creative Writing. For both paths, courses are to be planned and a major plan completed in consultation with an English department advisor and according to the requirements below. Major plan forms are available from the English department coordinator. A shorter explanation of the English major may be found on the department’s website, at www.macalester.edu/english/major.html.
Ten courses (40 credits) in English with the following requirements:
- One course (4 credits) numbered from 105-194 in order to provide a foundation for the further study of literature. Any one of these courses serves as a prerequisite for literature courses numbered 300 and above. None of these courses may be used to satisfy requirement #2. (Note that although Advanced Placement credit can show up on transcripts as ENGL 125, it does not count toward the major, nor does it count as a prerequisite for 300-level courses. ENGL 125 taken at Macalester does count toward the major and as a prerequisite for 300-level courses.)
- Three courses (12 credits) in British or American literature before 1900, distributed among three of the following four periods: Medieval/Renaissance, 18th Century British, 19th Century British or 19th Century American.
- One course (4 credits) focused on literature by U.S. writers of color, or an approved course in postcolonial or diasporic literature.
- One Capstone Experience (4 credits). The Capstone Experience requirement may be fulfilled by any one of the following taken at Macalester as a senior:
- A course in the 400s sequence
- An Honors Project. See full guidelines on the English Department website.
- An appropriate independent course developed in consultation with an English department faculty member. Examples of such a project would be an extensive research paper on a literary subject, a portfolio of creative work, a cross-disciplinary project, or a presentation by means of performance, multimedia, or hypertext.
The Creative Writing path includes the requirements of the English path (see above), plus the use of departmental electives for a minimum of five creative writing courses: ENGL 150 - Introduction to Creative Writing and four intermediate or advanced creative writing courses, one of which must be a capstone experience in Creative Writing taken in the senior year. NOTE: English majors on the Creative Writing path do not have to take a capstone experience in literature.
Note that ENGL 150 - Introduction to Creative Writing, taken at Macalester is the required prerequisite for all further creative writing courses. Creative Writing path English majors may not use ENGL 150 to satisfy the requirement for a gateway course (see 1 above), but must also take a course numbered between ENGL 105 and ENGL 137 as a prerequisite for literature courses numbered 300 and above. Note also that English majors may declare a Creative Writing path, but switch to an English path, or vice versa, at any time before graduation, as long as the relevant requirements are met.
In addition to the extensive course offerings in creative writing, additional creative writing electives may include independent study, tutorials, and internships (with, for example, one of the literary presses in the area). For a list of some such opportunities, see the English department site.
A minor in English consists of six related courses (24 credits) chosen in consultation with an English department advisor and approved by the department chair. The six courses may not include ENGL 101; no more than two of the six may be numbered below 200, nor may an internship or a preceptorship be one of the six. Typical minors might focus, for example, on creative writing, studies in specific historical periods, genre studies (drama, poetry, or fiction), women’s literature, U.S. ethnic literatures, writing and editing, or other concentrated areas of interest to the student. A minor plan must be filed no later than registration for the first semester of the senior year.
Stipulations applying to both the major and the minor:
Neither Advanced Placement credit nor ENGL 101 may be included in a major or minor in English.
No more than two courses at the 100 level may be counted toward a major or minor in English. There is one exception regarding the major: ENGL 150 - Introduction to Creative Writing, may be counted toward the major along with two other 100-level courses.
One preceptorship and one internship (for a maximum of eight credits) relevant to a student’s work as an English major may be included in a major in English. An English minor may not include a preceptorship or an internship.
One course (4 credits) in the study of literature in a language other than English may be included as an elective in a major plan in English but not in a minor plan.