The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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English Major Requirements

The English Major at UMass Amherst is a broad introduction to American, British, and Anglophone literature that develops powerful skills of reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking. The Major requires a minimum of 10 courses or 32 credits and allows students to specialize in a wide variety of sub-fields in English while fulfilling the major's learning objectives (PDF).

The Department also offers an English Minor.

How to Declare the Major

Students who wish to major in English must:

  • Fill out a change-of-major form in the English Undergraduate Office (South College E345). Or, email Celeste Stoddard:

  • Complete College Writing (English Writing 112), which is the prerequisite to enrolling in English 200.

  • Complete English 200 (Introduction to Literary Studies) and earn a grade of C or better, as well as attend a mandatory orientation session. Also required for the English minor.


English Major Requirements

To browse courses that fulfill specific requirements, go to Courses by Requirement.

  • English 200: Introduction to Literary Studies (4 credits)
    • While enrolled in English 200, students may also take other 200- and 300-level English courses, but are asked to speak with an advisor to talk over their options.
  • 1 course in British Literature and Culture before 1700
    • English 221 Shakespeare counts (4 cr)
  • 2 courses from the following 3 categories:
    • British Literature and Culture after 1700
    • American Literature and Culture before 1865
    • American Literature and Culture after 1865
  • 1 course in Anglophone or ethnic American literature, culture or rhetorics
    • Must be fulfilled with a 200+ level course
  • English 300: Junior Year Writing (4 credits) 
    • Required for primary majors and dual degree. Waived for 2nd majors.
  • 1 elective – 200 or higher level*
  • 1 elective – 300 or higher level*
    • English 398 (graded, 3-credit internship) counts towards this requirement.
  • 1 elective – 400 or higher level*
  • 1 Integrative Experience course
    • Required for primary majors only. Waived for 2nd majors and dual degrees.

* All students are strongly encouraged to use their electives to complete at least one specialization in English.


Below: a printable checklist (PDF) of English major requirements

Checklist of English Major requirements    Flowchart of English Specializations

Important Notes

  • You must earn a C or better in all courses taken toward the major.
  • Two upper-level electives may come from closely related 300- or 400-level courses in other departments with approval from one of the chief advisors in E345 South College.
  • If a course meets more than one requirement, a student may count 1 course twice but will then need to take an additional upper level elective for a total of three 300+ elective courses.
  • A limited number of pre-approved courses may be offered as substitutes for 201, 202, 268, and 269 each semester.
  • Second majors in English are not required to complete either Junior Year Writing or the Integrative Experience.
  • Students pursuing dual degree must fulfill Junior Year Writing in English even if they are listed on Spire as 2nd majors who are waived.
  • The successful completion of the Professional Writing and Technical Communications specialization path fulfills the Integrative Experience requirement.
  • If there is any doubt about the applicability of a particular course in another department, or from another school, check with the chief undergraduate advisors in E345 South College.
  • See advising FAQs.