Why study English language and literature?

Because reading and writing shape the world.

KU's English Department is at the core of the humanities, highlighting the "human" through our individual, one-on-one interactions with our students, our emphasis on community and global engagement, and our abiding interest in our shared humanity through the stories of others. We seek to challenge the mind and to engage the imagination of our students, to teach them to ask questions and to seek for answers.  We encourage them to grapple with the complexity of a culturally and commercially interconnected world and the global networks and processes of cultural exchange. We believe that words and ideas will shape the world. We teach our students life-long skills, so that they learn to write clearly, creatively, and effectively—discovering themselves even as they lay a solid foundation for professional success. 

A commitment to teaching and learning.

Our department is renowned for its tradition of excellence in teaching.  The vast majority of our undergraduate classes have 20-35 students, and much of the class time is dedicated to active learning and engagement with texts and ideas. In the last ten years, faculty members in the department of English have won ten Kemper Fellowships for Excellence in Teaching, two Chancellors Club Teaching Professorships, a Career Achievement Teaching Award, and a wide variety of other university-level teaching and advising awards, and the department as a whole received the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) award for Department Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kansas. 

A variety of career and life paths.

English majors graduate to a variety of careers, including law, teaching, scholarship, publishing, library science, and journalism--as well as medicine, politics, design, and any number of other fields that value clear communication, interpretive skill, and critical and creative thinking. 

Engaged and innovative scholarship.

KU's English Department has several core strengths that cross tracks and periods, including Global and Cross-Cultural Approaches; Literature, Rhetoric, and Social Action; Diversity Studies; Language, Literature and Science; and Popular Expressive Forms.

At the KU English Department, students work closely with nationally-renowned writers and researchers. Our faculty have won national awards that recognize excellence in research, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Newberry Library, among others. English Department faculty members have also received major research funding from the University of Kansas, including the Hall Center for the Humanities Research fellowships and Keeler Intra-University Fellowships for interdisciplinary work. Undergraduate students can work one-on-one with faculty mentors in the Honors Program, McNair Scholars Program, and Dean's Scholars Program, as well as through independent Directed Studies. 

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Undergraduate First- and Second-Year Preparation

Prospective English majors and minors are encouraged to complete their KU Core Goal 2.1 requirements and their BA degree-specific written communication requirements with English Department coursework (i.e., ENGL 101, 102 or 105, and 200-level ENGL courses). Students are strongly encouraged to take a 200-level English course before taking 300- and 400-level coursework in English. Prospective English majors are encouraged to consult with the Director or Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in order to declare the major, review major and degree requirements, and become familiar with departmental opportunities.

 

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

The major in English requires 31 hours (34 for Honors English), of which 3 hours may be an appropriate 200-level English course.  The Department offers three tracks in the major, with an Honors variation of each: General; Creative Writing; and Rhetoric, Language, and Writing.

As part of these 31 hours (34 for Honors English), all English majors must complete the Orientation to English Studies within their first two semesters as a declared major. In addition, they must also choose courses from each of the following 7 categories:

  1. Individual Authors or Movements

  2. Literary Theory

  3. English Language or Rhetoric

  4. Transcultural Approaches to Language, Literature, or Writing

  5. Writing

  6. Forms and Genres

  7. Literary History (2 courses)

Note: courses may be listed in more than one category, but may only count in one category for an individual student. 2 courses must be at the 500 level or above (i.e., a capstone course); one additional course must be focused language, literature, or writing before 1850 (see course list at the bottom of this page).  See Additional Requirements section of each track for requirements specific to that track. 

General Track

General Track - orientation requirement:

ENGL 199  Orientation to English Studies                                                                                                          1

General Track, category requirements:

1. Individual Authors or Movements (3)3
Topics in British Literature to 1800: _____
Topics in British Literature Since 1800: _____
Studies in British Literature
Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Contemporary Authors: _____
Recent Popular Literature
Studies in Twentieth-Century Drama: _____
Chaucer
Shakespeare
Major Authors: _____
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
The Literature of: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature 1800: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature After 1800: ______
Irish Literature and Culture: _____
James Joyce
Whitman and Dickinson
William Faulkner
Major Authors (Capstone): _____
British Literature of the 20th Century: _____
The Gothic Tradition
Modern Drama: _____
American Literary Environmentalism
Topics in American Literature: _____
American Indian Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
Literature of the American South
Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Advanced Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Poetry, 1900-1945
Poetry since 1945
The Literature of England to 1500
Renaissance English Literature: _____
Milton
British Literature, 1600-1800: _____
Romantic Literature: _____
Victorian LIterature: ______
African Literature: _____
2. Literary Theory (3)3
Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
Contemporary Literary Theory
Ecocriticism
3. English Language or Rhetoric (3)3
English Grammar
Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition
Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: _____
The Development of Modern English
Introduction to the English Language
Topics in English Language Studies
Rhetoric and Writing: _____
English Language Studies: ______
American English
4. Transcultural Approaches to Language, Literature, or Writing (3)3
World Indigenous Literatures
Global Environmental Literature
Introduction to African Literature
Jewish American Literature and Culture
Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature
Introduction to African-American Literature
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
American Literature of Social Justice
Topics in Transcultural Literature, Language, or Rhetoric: _____
Topics in Writing: _____ (as Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience) only Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience currently counts in this category.
The London Review
American Indian Literature: _____
Women and Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
African Literature: _____
5. Writing (3) note: students not pursuing the Creative Writing Track may only count one creative writing workshop toward the major; creative writing workshops noted below.3
Topics in Reading and Writing: _____
Freshman-Sophomore Honors Proseminar: _____
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the Drama
Fiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing I creative writing workshop
Screenwriting I creative writing workshop
Playwriting I creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Topics in Writing: _____
Professional Writing: _____
Foundations of Technical Writing
Teaching and Tutoring Writing
The London Review
Fiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing II creative writing workshop
Screenwriting II creative writing workshop
Playwriting II creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Honors Proseminar: ______
Honors Essay
6. Forms and Genres (3) note: students not pursuing the Creative Writing Track may only count one creative writing workshop toward the major; creative writing workshops noted below.3
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the Drama
The British Novel
Studies in Twentieth-Century Drama: _____
Literature and Film: _____
Topics in Forms and Genres: _____
Shakespeare
Fiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing I creative writing workshop
Screenwriting I creative writing workshop
Playwriting I creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Topics in Writing: _____
Science Fiction
Fiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing II creative writing workshop
Screenwriting II creative writing workshop
Playwriting II creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Modern Drama: _____
Poetry, 1900-1945
Poetry since 1945
7. Literary History: 2 courses (6)6
Major British Writers to 1800
   and American Literature II
American Literature I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and Literary History II
Major British Writers to 1800
   and Literary History II
American Literature I
   and Literary History II
Literary History I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and American Literature II
Total Hours24
Additional 6 hours of English electives6
Total Hours6

Additional Requirements, General Track:

  • One course (3 hours) in addition to 7. (Literary History) must focus on literature before 1850. *See course list at the bottom of this page.
  • Two courses (6 hours) must be capstone courses, i.e., at the 500 level or above.
  • 27 hours must be at the junior/senior level.
  • One 200-level course may count toward major requirements. No 100-level ENGL courses count toward major requirements except ENGL 199.

Notes:

  • Only 1 (3 credits) creative writing workshop (fiction writing, nonfiction writing, poetry writing, screen writing or playwriting) may be applied as a major course for students not pursuing the creative writing track.
  • Up to 6 credits combined of ENGL 494 (Research Internship) or ENGL 495 (Directed Study) may be applied as major electives.
  • Up to 3 credit hours of ENGL 496 (Internship) or ENGL 497 (Service Learning Internship) may be applied as a major elective.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 31 hours of major courses (34 for Honors English).

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 25 hours of KU resident credit in the major; exceptions by permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies only.

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Creative Writing Track

Creative Writing Track - orientation requirement:

ENGL 199  Orientation to English Studies                                                                                                          1

Creative Writing Track, category requirements:

1. Individual Authors or Movements (3)3
Topics in British Literature to 1800: _____
Topics in British Literature Since 1800: _____
Studies in British Literature
Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Contemporary Authors: _____
Recent Popular Literature
Studies in Twentieth-Century Drama: _____
Chaucer
Shakespeare
Major Authors: _____
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
The Literature of: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature 1800: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature After 1800: ______
Irish Literature and Culture: _____
James Joyce
Whitman and Dickinson
William Faulkner
Major Authors (Capstone): _____
British Literature of the 20th Century: _____
The Gothic Tradition
Modern Drama: _____
American Literary Environmentalism
Topics in American Literature: _____
American Indian Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
Literature of the American South
Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Advanced Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Poetry, 1900-1945
Poetry since 1945
The Literature of England to 1500
Renaissance English Literature: _____
Milton
British Literature, 1600-1800: _____
Romantic Literature: _____
Victorian LIterature: ______
African Literature: _____
2. Literary Theory (3)3
Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
Contemporary Literary Theory
Ecocriticism
3. English Language or Rhetoric (3)3
English Grammar
Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition
Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: _____
The Development of Modern English
Introduction to the English Language
Topics in English Language Studies
Rhetoric and Writing: _____
English Language Studies: ______
American English
4. Transcultural Approaches to Language, Literature, or Writing (3)3
World Indigenous Literatures
Global Environmental Literature
Introduction to African Literature
Jewish American Literature and Culture
Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature
Introduction to African-American Literature
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
American Literature of Social Justice
Topics in Transcultural Literature, Language, or Rhetoric: _____
Topics in Writing: _____ (as Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience) only Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience currently counts in this category
The London Review
American Indian Literature: _____
Women and Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
African Literature: _____
5. Writing (3) note: only courses below count in this category for creative writing majors 3
Fiction Writing I
Poetry Writing I
Screenwriting I
Playwriting I
Nonfiction Writing I
Topics in Writing: _____
The London Review
Fiction Writing II
Poetry Writing II
Screenwriting II
Playwriting II
Honors Essay (as creative writing thesis)
6. Forms and Genres (3) note: only courses below count in this category for creative writing majors3
Fiction Writing I
Poetry Writing I
Screenwriting I
Playwriting I
Nonfiction Writing I
Topics in Writing: _____
Fiction Writing II
Poetry Writing II
Screenwriting II
Playwriting II
Nonfiction Writing II
7. Literary History: 2 courses (6)6
Major British Writers to 1800
   and American Literature II
American Literature I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and Literary History II
Major British Writers to 1800
   and Literary History II
American Literature I
   and Literary History II
Literary History I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and American Literature II
Total Hours24
Additional Creative Writing courses: (6)6
Fiction Writing I
Poetry Writing I
Screenwriting I
Playwriting I
Nonfiction Writing I
Topics in Writing: _____
The London Review
Directed Study: _____ (in Creative Writing: only one may count toward major)
Research Internship
Internship
Service Learning Internship
Fiction Writing II
Poetry Writing II
Screenwriting II
Playwriting II
Nonfiction Writing II
Intermediate Screenwriting
Total Hours6

Additional requirements, Creative Writing Track:

  • One course (3 hours) in addition to 7. (Literary History) must focus on literature before 1850. *See course list at the bottom of this page.
  • Two courses (6 hours) must be capstone courses, i.e., at the 500 level or above; at least one creative writing workshop at the 500 level or above is required for creative writing majors.
  • Creative writing students must complete workshops in at least two genres.  For the purposes of the Creative Writing Tracks, genres are 1) fiction; 2) poetry; 3) playwriting, screenwriting, and/or scriptwriting; and 4) creative non-fiction.
  • 27 hours must be at the junior/senior level. 
  • No 100-level ENGL courses count toward major requirements except ENGL 199.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 31 hours of major courses (34 for Honors English).

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 25 hours of KU resident credit in the major; exceptions by permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies only.

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Rhetoric, Language, and Writing Track

Rhetoric, Language, and Writing Track - orientation requirement:

ENGL 199  Orientation to English Studies                                                                                                          1

Rhetoric, Language, and Writing Track, category requirements:

1. Individual Authors or Movements (3)3
Topics in British Literature to 1800: _____
Topics in British Literature Since 1800: _____
Studies in British Literature (Note: may count for one but not both British literature requirement)
Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Contemporary Authors: _____
Recent Popular Literature
Studies in Twentieth-Century Drama: _____
Chaucer
Shakespeare
Major Authors: _____
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
The Literature of: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature 1800: _____
Advanced Topics in British Literature After 1800: ______
Irish Literature and Culture: _____
James Joyce
Whitman and Dickinson
William Faulkner
Major Authors (Capstone): _____
British Literature of the 20th Century: _____
The Gothic Tradition
Modern Drama: _____
American Literary Environmentalism
Topics in American Literature: _____
American Indian Literature: _____
Women and Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
Literature of the American South
Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____
Advanced Topics in American Literature Since 1865: _____
Poetry, 1900-1945
Poetry since 1945
The Literature of England to 1500
Renaissance English Literature: _____
Milton
British Literature, 1600-1800: _____
Romantic Literature: _____
Victorian LIterature: ______
African Literature: _____
2. Literary Theory (3)3
Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
Contemporary Literary Theory
Contemporary Literary Theory
Ecocriticism
3. English Language or Rhetoric (3)3
English Grammar
Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition
Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: _____
The Development of Modern English
Introduction to the English Language
Topics in English Language Studies
Rhetoric and Writing: _____
English Language Studies: ______
American English
4. Transcultural Approaches to Language, Literature, or Writing (3)3
World Indigenous Literatures
Global Environmental Literature
Jewish American Literature and Culture
Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature
Introduction to African-American Literature
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____
American Literature of Social Justice
Topics in Transcultural Literature, Language, or Rhetoric: _____
Topics in Writing: _____ (as Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience) only Pura Vida: Travel Writing and the Costa Rica Experience currently counts in this category
The London Review
American Indian Literature: _____
Women and Literature: _____
U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____
African American Literature: _____
African Literature: _____
5. Writing (3) note: students not pursuing the Creative Writing Track may only count one creative writing workshop toward the major; creative writing workshops noted below.3
Topics in Reading and Writing: _____
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the Drama
Fiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing I creative writing workshop
Screenwriting I creative writing workshop
Playwriting I creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Topics in Writing: _____
Professional Writing: _____
Foundations of Technical Writing
Teaching and Tutoring Writing
The London Review
Fiction Writing II
Poetry Writing II creative writing workshop
Screenwriting II creative writing workshop
Playwriting II creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Honors Proseminar: ______
Honors Essay
6. Forms and Genres (3) note: students not pursuing the Creative Writing Track may only count one creative writing workshop toward the major; creative writing workshops noted below.3
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the Drama
The British Novel
Studies in Twentieth-Century Drama: _____
Literature and Film: _____
Topics in Forms and Genres: _____
Shakespeare
Fiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing I creative writing workshop
Screenwriting I creative writing workshop
Playwriting I creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Topics in Writing: _____
Science Fiction
Fiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing II creative writing workshop
Screenwriting II creative writing workshop
Playwriting II creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Modern Drama: _____
Poetry, 1900-1945
Poetry since 1945
7. Literary History: 2 courses (6)6
Major British Writers to 1800
   and American Literature II
American Literature I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and Literary History II
Major British Writers to 1800
   and Literary History II
American Literature I
Literary History I
   and Major British Writers after 1800
Literary History I
   and American Literature II
Total Hours24
Rhetoric, Language, and Writing courses (9 hours of the courses listed below, taken in addition to the RLW course taken in category 3 above; 3 of the 9 hours may be taken in category 6 or other categories as appropriate) (6) note: students not pursuing the Creative Writing Track may only count one creative writing workshop toward the major; creative writing workshops noted below.6
Fiction Writing I creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing I creative writing workshop
Screenwriting I creative writing workshop
Playwriting I creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing I creative writing workshop
English Grammar
Topics in Writing: _____
Professional Writing: _____
Foundations of Technical Writing
Teaching and Tutoring Writing
Research Internship
Directed Study: _____
Internship
Service Learning Internship
Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition
Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: _____
The Development of Modern English
Introduction to the English Language
Topics in English Language Studies
Fiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Poetry Writing II creative writing workshop
Screenwriting II creative writing workshop
Playwriting II creative writing workshop
Nonfiction Writing II creative writing workshop
Rhetoric and Writing: _____
English Language Studies: ______
American English
Total Hours6

Additional requirements, Rhetoric, Language, and Writing Track:

  • One course (3 hours) in addition to 7. (Literary History) must focus on literature before 1850. *See course list at the bottom of this page.
  • Two courses (6 hours) must be capstone courses, i.e., at the 500 level or above.
  • 27 hours must be at the junior/senior level.
  • One 200-level course may count toward major requirements. No 100-level ENGL courses count toward major requirements except ENGL 199.

Note:

  • Only 1 (3 credits) creative writing workshop (fiction writing, nonfiction writing, poetry writing, screen writing or playwriting) may be applied as a major course for students not pursuing the creative writing track.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 31 hours of major courses (34 for Honors English).

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 25 hours of KU resident credit in the major; exceptions by permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies only.

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

*Courses that fulfill the additional pre-1850 requirement (in addition to any relevant course taken for category 7):

ENGL 301Topics in British Literature to 1800: _____3
ENGL 310Literary History I3
ENGL 312Major British Writers to 18003
ENGL 315Studies in British Literature3
ENGL 317Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____3
ENGL 320American Literature I3
ENGL 331Chaucer3
ENGL 332Shakespeare3
ENGL 521Advanced Topics in British Literature 1800: _____3
ENGL 525Shakespeare: _____3
ENGL 565The Gothic Tradition3
ENGL 610The Literature of England to 15003
ENGL 620Renaissance English Literature: _____3
ENGL 633Milton3
ENGL 640British Literature, 1600-1800: _____3
ENGL 650Romantic Literature: _____3

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in English with the following concentrations can be found here: English General Track, Creative Writing, and Language, Rhetoric, and Writing.

Sample 4-years plans for the BGS degrees in English can be found using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

To be admitted to the English Honors major program, an undergraduate must have earned a 3.25 overall grade-point average, and a 3.5 grade-point average in English courses. 

Honors English majors must complete at least 1 section of ENGL 598 Honors Proseminar: _____ and ENGL 599 Honors Essay. This requirement, in effect, adds 3 hours of capstone-level coursework to the student’s emphasis.