English majors must complete a minimum of nine courses in the department; five of these (including the Senior Seminar) must be taken at the 300 level or above. We strongly advise that ENG 275 - Theory & Methods of English Studies be completed early in the major sequence. Students should also take one of each type of Approach course - Genealogies, Texts/Contexts, and Transformations as early in the major program as possible. Approach courses may be taken at either the 200 or 300 level. Students may not count any of the ENG 100 level courses toward their requirements in the major or minor.
Students may count up to two creative writing courses as 200-level electives toward the 9 courses required for the major. Students may also take one 300 level or higher literature course offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
Courses in Study Abroad, Summer School, and the Wescoe School
Typically, students may count no more than two Summer School and/or Study Abroad courses toward the major. These courses must be approved in advance by the Department Chair. Day students may count courses taken through the Wescoe School toward the major only with permission of the Department Chair. Students should plan on satisfying required upper-level and Approach courses with the regular Muhlenberg English faculty.
Majors must maintain a 2.00 GPA in English courses to remain in the department. A 3.30 GPA in the major is expected of those who desire unconditional recommendations for graduate schools or for teaching positions. Students who are planning to attend graduate school in English would do well to enroll several courses in excess of the minimum course requirement for majors and should seek the advice of their faculty advisor as early in their undergraduate career as possible.
A set of offerings at the 200 level, the “Reading X” series, is designed for fledgling English majors and minors. These courses are also appropriate for students seeking their HU requirement who may desire greater focus than a typical survey course provides. The “Reading X” courses immerse students in a specific author, text, or literary topic, focusing on areas of controversy and debate in contemporary literary and cultural studies. With the senior seminar, the “Reading X” courses will bookend the major with experiences of depth. They will be taught as writing intensive and will be concerned less with literary theory and criticism than with the experience of reading widely in an author or topic and learning a set of basic close-reading skills. In addition to teaching modes of analysis, these offerings will often make classic works of literature relevant to our time by studying them in relation to their modern adaptations.
As students develop their majors, they should incorporate at least one course in each of the three approaches: Genealogies, Transformations, and Texts/Contexts. These courses model different approaches to literary history and are intended to heighten student awareness of literary traditions of the past, of the continuities between and among literary epochs, and of the variety of methodological and theoretical modes used to understand both literary and nonliterary texts. Approaches courses should be taken as early as possible in the major sequence.
It is important to bear in mind that although many twentieth and twenty-first century courses are not listed under a specific approach, they still count as essential experiences in the major/minor. Students are encouraged to take courses from various genres (poetry, fiction, drama, etc.) and various time periods.
Genealogies: Foundational texts and periods.
These courses consider foundational periods in English literary history that are crucial to the development and study of British and American literatures. These courses trace lines of descent of thinking within literature over a continuous period.
- ENG 247, 248 - Shakespeare 1 course unit
- ENG 277, 278 - Transcendentalism, Abolition, & Emancipation in American Literature 1 course unit
- ENG 313, 314 - Medieval Literature 1 course unit
- ENG 315, 316 - The Renaissance Imagination 1 course unit
- ENG 317, 318 - Lyric Traditions 1 course unit
- ENG 325, 326 - Milton & the Age of Revolution 1 course unit
- ENG 329, 330 - Nineteenth Century British Fiction: The Marriage Plot 1 course unit
- ENG 331, 333 - English Romanticism 1 course unit
- ENG 352, 353 - Modern Poetry I: 1889-1945 1 course unit
Transformations: Readings and rewritings.
These courses focus on literary texts and movements that are responsive to earlier texts, movements, and moments but that are produced under changed conditions of production. Transformation courses explore lines of influence and interaction and the repurposing and remediation of works produced under one dispensation in the altered conditions of another. They study remixes of tracks laid down in the past.
Texts/Contexts: Interdisciplinary approaches.
These courses explore literary and non-literary texts in terms of their historical and expressive relationships with work produced in other fields and with other reasons in mind (photography, the visual arts, the physical sciences, politics, psychology, religion, commerce). Such courses read literature in close relation to the conditions of its production; they combine the study of texts with the study of their historical and cultural ecosystems.
- AAS 201 - Black Feminist/Queer Theories 1 course unit
- ENG 202 - Reading Emily Dickinson 1 course unit
- ENG 218 - Reading the South 1 course unit
- ENG 257, 258 - Literature & Evolution 1 course unit
- ENG 263, 264 - Postwar British Theatre & Film 1 course unit
- ENG 269, 270 - Literature & Mass Media 1 course unit
- ENG 323, 324 - Renaissance Plays in Process 1 course unit
- ENG 338, 339 - City, Frontier, & Empire in American Literature 1 course unit
- ENG 349, 350 - Modern American Fiction 1 course unit
- ENG 354, 355 - Modern Poetry II: 1945-2000 1 course unit
- ENG 373, 374 - The Literary Marketplace 1 course unit
- ENG 378, 379 - The Death of the Sun 1 course unit
- ENG 391, 392 - Decadence: The Literature of the 1890s 1 course unit
- ENG 395, 396 - Literature & Film of the Cold War 1 course unit