Language and Literature Option Requirements, Summer 2019 - Spring 2022

Note! If you declared your major after the spring of 2022, please consult the current requirements. These requirements are for those who declared their major between summer 2019 -- spring 2022).  

If you declared your English major prior to the start of Summer 2019, please see the older requirement sets pertaining to the quarter and year when you became, or will become, an English major officially.

The undergraduate English major with language and literature emphasis offers students a broadly based, culturally contextualized introduction to the literatures of Britain, the United States, and, increasingly, Anglophone literature from around the world. Students majoring in English are exposed to a variety of critical perspectives, and have the opportunity to pursue interests in literary history, critical theory, language study, cultural studies, and creative writing.  Good writing, analytical ability, research skills, and a broadened perspective on the world are among the practical accomplishments majors can expect to acquire, all of which can be applied to a range of careers.


Students currently enrolled at the University of Washington may declare the English major at any time by meeting with an adviser in the Humanities Academic Services Center (HAS), A-2-B Padelford Hall.  Students from historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

See the Creative Writing application information for separate, additional requirements and procedures for applying to the Creative Writing option within the English major.

To be eligible to declare the English major, you must:

  • have an overall UW grade point average of at least a 2.00;
  • have an English grade point average of at least 2.50 among all English coursework completed at the college level.

To declare the English major, students should:

Students may declare the major during the first two weeks of any quarter. After declaring the English major, students will be eligible to register for courses open only to English majors during Registration Period 1.

To maintain satisfactory progress in the English major students must take ENGL 202 within one quarter of declaring the English major. Additionally, students must earn a 2.0 or higher in the course. If students do not earn a 2.0 or higher they must repeat the course to remain in the English major. This course can be repeated one time only.

Students who are denied admission because they do not meet the minimum requirements above may petition by writing to the English Department's Undergraduate Education Committee. Petitions should give full particulars, including any extenuating circumstances the student believes the Department should consider.

Major Requirements

The English major requires the completion of a minimum of 60 ENGL credits (the competitive-admission creative writing option requires a minimum of 60 ENGL credits). At least 30 credits of English applying toward the major must be earned in residence at the University of Washington. A maximum of 20 credits in 200-level courses, including required course work within the options, may count toward the English major. At least 15 credits must be in courses must be within the Historical Breadth requirement (these courses can overlap with any of the other major requirements with the exception of ENGL 202). Except for students completing the creative writing option, no more than 5 credits in creative writing may be applied toward the major.

A minimum of 60 credits in English courses:

ENGL 202 (Introduction to English Language and Literature) 
Must be taken within one quarter of declaring the English Major. A minimum grade of 2.0 required.                                                       202 does not count as a pre-1900 after Fall, 2018.

ENGL 302 (Critical Practice): 5 credits
A Minimum grade of 2.0 required. Must be taken within two quarters of declaring the English major per department continuation/satisfactory progress policy.

English Distribution: 15 credits
Five credits from each of the three distribution categories below.

English Electives: 30 credits
(Excluded courses are ENGL 285, Writers on Writing; ENGL 297, 298, and 299 Interdisciplinary Writing courses; ENGL 491, Internships; and ENGL 474-476, courses associated with the Puget Sound Writing Project; these cannot be counted toward the English major Distribution or Electives requirement.)

English Senior Capstone course: 5 credits 
Minimum grade of 2.0 required. We suggest that you take this requirement during the final two quarters in the major, and after successful completion of ENGL 302.

One course chosen from the capstone list:

  • ENGL 407 (Special Topics in Cultural Studies)
  • ENGL 430 (British Writers: Studies in Major Authors)
  • ENGL 431 (Topics in British Literature)
  • ENGL 440 (Special Studies in Literature)
  • ENGL 442 (The Novel: Special Studies)
  • ENGL 443 (Poetry: Special Studies)
  • ENGL 444 (Dramatic Literature: Special Studies)
  • ENGL 451 (American Writers: Studies in Major Authors)
  • ENGL 452 (Topics in American Literature)
  • ENGL 473 (Current Development in English Studies)
  • ENGL 490 Professionalization capstone)
  • ENGL 496 (English Honors Thesis) - available to English Honors Program students only
  • ENGL 498 (Senior Seminar)

Historical Breadth:
10 credits in ENGL courses must be focused on pre-1945 Literature and 5 credits of pre-1700 literature. Please see the Historical Breadth page for a comprehensive list of pre-1945 and pre-1700 courses. (These courses may overlap with other English major requirements.)

Limit on 200-level ENGL credit: 
No more than 15 credits in 200-level ENGL courses (beyond the introductory ENGL 202 ) may be applied toward the English major electives: all other English credits must be taken at the 300 or 400 level.

Limit on Creative Writing courses: 
No more than 5 credits in creative writing courses may be applied to the Language & Literature English major. Students who have been accepted by the competitive admission process to the English: Creative Writing option follow different requirements.

Grades and GPA Requirements:
ENGL 202, 302, and the Senior Capstone require minimum grades of 2.0 in each course. English majors must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.00 in all UW ENGL courses.

At least 30 ENGL credits applicable to the English major must be taken in residence at the UW Seattle.

University Diversity Requirement

The English department supports the central importance of the UW's requirement that students take at least one course dedicated at a primary level to the study of diversity.  English courses that satisfy the DIV requirement include:

  • ENGL 257 (Asian-American Literature)
  • ENGL 258 (Introduction to African American Literature)
  • ENGL 259 (Literature and Social Difference)
  • ENGL 265 (Introduction to Environmental Humanities)
  • ENGL 312 (Jewish Literature: Biblical to Modern)
  • ENGL 316 (Postcolonial Literature and Culture)
  • ENGL 317 (Literature of the Americas) 
  • ENGL 318 (Black Literary Genres)
  • ENGL 319 (African Literatures) 
  • ENGL 357 (Jewish American Literature and Culture)
  • ENGL 358 (African American Literature)  
  • ENGL 359 (Contemporary American Indian Literature) 
  • ENGL 361 (American Political Culture: After 1865)
  • ENGL 362 ( Latino Literary Genres)
  • ENGL 367 (Gender Studies in Literature) 
  • ENGL 368 (Women Writers)
  • ENGL 372 (World Englishes)
  • ENGL 466 (Gay and Lesbian Studies) 
  • ENGL 478 (Language and Social Policy) 
  • ENGL 479 (Language Variation and Language Policy in North America)

The department also strongly recommends, but does not require, 5 credits in one of the following English language courses:

  • ENGL 370 (English Language Study)
  • ENGL 371 (English Syntax)
  • ENGL 373 (History of the English Language)
  • ENGL 374 (The Language of Literature)
  • ENGL 478 (Language and Social Policy)
  • ENGL 479 (Language Variation and Policy in North America)
  • LING 200 (Introduction to Linguistic Thought) -- through Department of Linguistics

Satisfactory Progress

Department of English Admission and Continuation Policy (PDF) (rules for satisfactory progress) 

Have questions?

For assistance with planning and for questions, please visit the Humanities Academic Services Center.