Program Overview

The English major helps students to examine and interpret literature in English from a variety of viewpoints; and to understand the role literature plays in human cultures. Students completing the English major develop strong analytic and interpretative abilities as well as enhanced skills in written and oral communication. Those abilities and skills help prepare English majors for careers in writing, editing, publishing, advertising, law, education, and business. Students planning to complete a degree program in English should consult with a faculty member of the department before enrolling in classes.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the English major, students must submit a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Consult with a department faculty member before enrolling in courses toward the major.

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Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core, and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

Electives (8 credits)

Additional upper-division courses in literature or humanities subject areas. Courses listed in more than one category may apply to one requirement only. Any of the above courses may be taken as an elective, but a course can be applied to only one area of the major requirements. (No double counting within the major.)

Please refer to our listings on the Course Descriptions Web page for other course offerings which can be taken as electives.

Notes:

  • At least half of these 36 credits must be earned at Metropolitan State. 
  • Any course used in the English major may be applied to one major requirement only. 
  • With advisor approval, upper-division transfer credits may be applied to specific major requirements or electives; up to 12 semester credits at the 200-level may be applied to specific major requirements. 
  • With advisor approval, specific major requirements may be met by particular sections of LIT 390 authors and Topics in Literature, or LIT 590 Advanced Studies in Literature. 

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

English Minor Prerequisites

Program note: WRIT 131 (or equivalent) is a prerequisite for all upper level LIT, HUM, and LING courses.

  • WRIT 131 Writing I
    3 credits

    This course is an introduction to expository writing principles and processes. Students develop skill at analyzing audiences, generating ideas, organizing and developing thoughts, drafting sentences, and revising and handling mechanics. Students write, revise and edit extensively. Prerequisite: Placement in WRIT 131 Writing I or WRIT 132 Written and Visual Communication on the writing assessment offered by Placement Assessment Office.

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Requirements ( 120 total credits)

English Major: American Literature (4 credits)

  • LIT 341 American Literature: Beginnings-1870
    4 credits

    This course surveys illustrative works from the beginnings of European settlement to 1870, introducing students to the study of that literature and sharpening critical reading skills. Emphasis is on the development of literary technique and on the cultural context of literary works. Readings may include religious and political documents, Native American tales and orations, exploration and captivity narratives, slave narratives, journals, novels, plays, and poems.

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  • LIT 342 American Literature: 1870-Present
    4 credits

    This course surveys illustrative works from 1870 to the present, introducing students to the study of that literature and sharpening critical reading skills. Emphasis is on the development of literary technique and on the cultural context of literary works. Topics covered include the rise of modernism, its impact on a diverse population and various responses to modern culture, as well as changing perceptions of religion, race, gender, environment, the future, the self and the community. Students are introduced to a range of contemporary critical approaches to literature.

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English Major: English Literature (4 credits)

  • LIT 371 English Literature: Beginnings-1800
    4 credits

    In this course, students survey important and influential texts of the medieval, Renaissance and early modern periods. Emphasis is placed on literary history and the development of the English language as the vehicle of literary expression. Attention is also given to literary analysis and to the application of various interpretive approaches.

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  • LIT 372 English Literature: 1800-Present
    4 credits

    In this course, students survey important and influential texts of the last two centuries. Emphasis is placed on literary history and the development of the English language as the vehicle of literary expression. Attention is also given to literary analysis, and to the application of various interpretive approaches.

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English Major: Women Writers (4 credits)

  • LIT 312 Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course takes a critical and historical approach to literature in English by women, looking at the emergence of female literary voices and exploring the contexts in which their works were written. Some sections of the course may focus on particular traditions within the range of literature written by women.

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  • LIT 315 Gender in Literature and Film
    4 credits

    This course surveys how classic works of American literature and film assert, examine and/or question gender conventions that affect both men and women. Students discuss ways in which fiction, drama, poetry, popular music and film can promote, question or subvert gender conventions. The goal of these discussions is to make new discoveries about familiar works of literature, to examine a range of assertions and arguments that authors and film directors make about gender, and to consider the purposes gender conventions serve for individuals and the community in the United States.

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  • LIT 362 Black Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the literature by African-American women writers from the 18th century to the present, analyzing their depictions of racism, sexism, and classism as artistic, moral, and civic responses to inequality. Students learn techniques for critical reading and literary analysis at the upper-division humanities level to understand how these creative works explore issues related to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the influence these writers had on cultural events, such as anti-lynching journalism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and the Women¿s Liberation Movement.

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  • LIT 365 Asian Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the rich tradition of Asian women's literary voices expressing their chosen themes in novels, diaries, anonymous folk poems, short stories, and lyric verse from ancient times to the present. Relevant aspects of geography, history, culture, and language support interpretations of representative works; regional focus may vary. All selections are read in English translation.

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English Major: Ethnic or World Literature (4 credits)

  • LIT 361 African-American Literature
    4 credits

    Through films, poetry, autobiography, novels, lyrics, and short essays, this intermediate-level survey course explores African-American literature from a historical perspective ranging from the works of enslaved authors to contemporary spoken-word poetry. The course celebrates the historical and aesthetic development of African-American literary arts in the face of (often legalized) racial oppression. Students learn techniques and theories for critical reading to explore literary issues related to culture, race, and social history. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism in this literature course.

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  • LIT 362 Black Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the literature by African-American women writers from the 18th century to the present, analyzing their depictions of racism, sexism, and classism as artistic, moral, and civic responses to inequality. Students learn techniques for critical reading and literary analysis at the upper-division humanities level to understand how these creative works explore issues related to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the influence these writers had on cultural events, such as anti-lynching journalism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and the Women¿s Liberation Movement.

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  • LIT 363 American Indian Literature
    4 credits

    This course introduces students to the literary styles of Native American authors and the cultural systems from which they draw. The course surveys traditional foundations of various types of native literature through sound, music, natural cycles, spirituality and mystic symbols.

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  • LIT 364 Literature by Immigrants of Color
    4 credits

    Students in this course examine literature, film, and expository articles to investigate ways that people of color represent their experiences as immigrants to the U.S. Throughout the course we analyze how various texts present the main themes, perspectives, and socio-cultural contexts of contemporary immigration, which has historically been shaped by racialized discourses and racist gatekeeping practices. We also interrogate how the concerns articulated by immigrants of color intersect with broader social categories such as race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and citizenship status. Through lectures, discussions, compositions, and small-group activities, students will critically examine the complexities of acculturation and the creativity it takes to balance one¿s cultural heritage with life in another country as a racialized ethnic minority.

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  • LIT 365 Asian Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the rich tradition of Asian women's literary voices expressing their chosen themes in novels, diaries, anonymous folk poems, short stories, and lyric verse from ancient times to the present. Relevant aspects of geography, history, culture, and language support interpretations of representative works; regional focus may vary. All selections are read in English translation.

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  • HUM 310 The First Civilizations
    4 credits

    The cultural foundations of the West stand on the bedrock of the ancient Near East: writing, literature, art, architecture, science, mathematics and religion reach back past Rome and Greece to Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia. This course provides an introduction to the literature, history and culture of that period, c. 3100-600 B.C.

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  • HUM 311 The Classical World: Greece
    4 credits

    In this course, students read and enjoy classic works of literature, history and philosophy from the eighth to first centuries before the common era, by such writers as Homer, Sappho, Herodotus, Sophocles, Aristophanes and Plato. The course explores characteristics of ancient Greece and its continuing influence on intellectual history.

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  • HUM 312 The Classical World: Rome
    4 credits

    Over a thousand-year span, Rome grew from an insecure settlement on the Tiber River to an empire dominating most of Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Even after 1,500 years, Europe and the Americas continue to reflect Roman political, technological, literary and intellectual culture, to which this course provides an introduction.

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  • HUM 313 Medieval Civilization
    4 credits

    In this course, students study achievements in thought, art, architecture, religion, science and politics during the Middle Ages, the period between the collapse of Roman civilization (c. 500 A.D.) and its "rebirth" in the Renaissance about a thousand years later. Students read a selection of medieval texts in translation and examine a range of medieval arts and ideas.

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  • HUM 314 The Renaissance
    4 credits

    This course explores the art, literature, philosophy, religion, and science of the European Renaissance (c. 1350-1650 A.D.), placing them in the context of political and social movements of the time. In this era, increased attention to ancient Greek and Roman ideas energized all of the arts and sciences. This period also saw the beginnings of the centrally administered nation state and the rise of colonialism in the New World, as well as the Protestant Reformation, a many-sided and far-reaching religious revolution that reshaped Christianity. Readings, slide/lectures, and class discussions explore the many ways that art, ideas, and events from this era still live in contemporary European and American civilizations.

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  • HUM 315 The Enlightenment
    4 credits

    The scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries led to eighteenth-century doubts about Christianity and optimism about progress based on "enlightenment" or reason. If science could penetrate the secrets of nature, perhaps the same methods could be used in economics and politics? The resulting conflict between new ideas and ancient inequities led to political revolutions in America and France, and to cultural revolutions in industry, literature, philosophy and the arts. Students in this course study significant works by seventeenth and eighteenth century writers, thinkers and artists.

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  • HUM 315 The Enlightenment
    4 credits

    The scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries led to eighteenth-century doubts about Christianity and optimism about progress based on "enlightenment" or reason. If science could penetrate the secrets of nature, perhaps the same methods could be used in economics and politics? The resulting conflict between new ideas and ancient inequities led to political revolutions in America and France, and to cultural revolutions in industry, literature, philosophy and the arts. Students in this course study significant works by seventeenth and eighteenth century writers, thinkers and artists.

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  • HUM 317 Modernism
    4 credits

    In the late nineteenth century, the romantic figure of the artist as an outsider who criticized society, yet helped rejuvenate mankind, evolved into the figure of the artist as a revolutionary adversary of society. Artists in the twentieth century questioned older social, philosophical and artistic forms and sought to create radically new, "modern" forms. To understand this development and how it has influenced the contemporary world, this course examines several influential modern(ist) texts, in connection with other developments in modern art, music, politics and thought.

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  • HUM 318 Postmodernism
    4 credits

    Post-WWII Western societies pushed the Modernists' radical rejection of traditional aesthetics to the extreme limit, developing a new theoretical and aesthetic movement called Postmodernism. From the blurring of high and low culture, through the use of pastiche, collage, and bricolage, to the status of the object in an era of simulacra, the period is characterized by a number of distinct techniques and critical theories which we'll explore in a wide variety of art, film, new media, literature, architecture, and music.

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  • HUM 321 Myth
    4 credits

    Myths and myth cycles have had a deep and pervasive influence on literature and culture, and thus on everyday life. This course examines the nature of myth and the modes of belief that have sustained it within various traditions, the myths themselves, their expression in literature from ancient to modern times, and theories of interpretation. The selection varies among Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Celtic and Germanic myth traditions, along with comparative material from other world traditions.

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  • HUM 326 Folklore
    4 credits

    Folklore was and is part of everyone's everyday experience. This course examines the nature of folklore; the study, analysis and interpretation of folklore; various folk traditions; and real-life examples and uses of folk-lore. While emphasizing traditions of the United States, the course also presents aspects of folklore of other selected regions.

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  • HUM 327 Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain
    0 credits

    This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culturefrom 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.

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  • HUM 364 The Harlem Renaissance
    4 credits

    This course will study the Harlem Renaissance, a period of incredible productivity and creativity among black artists and intellectuals between 1920-1940, centered in Harlem, New York. The course considers how concepts -- such as race; the New Negro movement; Jim Crow, segregation, and racism; so-called racial uplift and the Talented Tenth; the Great Migration; the Roaring Twenties, and Modernism ¿ were manifested in the works of art, literature, philosophy, film, and music of Harlem¿s artists and thinkers. In addition to learning the specialized vocabulary and skills involved in the analysis of works from a variety of artistic genres, students will learn how Harlem¿s leading black intellectuals tied aesthetic theories to social and racialized principles of artistic production, inspiring some artists while prompting others to openly rebel. Given that the Harlem Renaissance is not characterized by any one style, technique, or manifesto, well pay special attention to connections among the artists in an effort to determine how and whether the Harlem Renaissance is a coherent and unified movement across the arts. The course will trace the Harlem Renaissances contributions to Modernism and its influences on the American arts scene ever since (especially the in Black Arts Movement of the Sixties).

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English Major: Shakespeare (4 credits)

  • LIT 377 Shakespeare
    4 credits

    This course provides a systematic study of Shakespeare's unique literary and dramatic achievements. Close readings and written exercises focus attention on Shakespeare's mastery of the English language and the craft of poetry. Students typically read a selection of plays including histories, comedies and tragedies.

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English Major: One of the following (4 credits)

  • LIT 501 Literary Criticism: Beginnings-1950
    4 credits

    This course surveys influential literary theories from the time of Aristotle until the mid-twentieth century. Students become familiar with the main concepts of each theory and with how these theories have been applied by their developers and by subsequent critics. Students learn to apply theories to particular texts, both past and present. Discussions often focus on what distinquishes literature from other uses of language, how literature should be written, what purposes literature should serve, and how to recognize quality in literature.

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  • LIT 502 Literary Criticism: 1950-Present
    4 credits

    This course introduces influential literary theories developed between 1950 and the present. Students become familiar with the main concepts of each theory and with how these theories can be applied to particular texts, past and present. Discussions focus on how contemporary theory challenges older ideas about literature, what distinguishes literature from other uses of language, how literature should be read, what roles literature plays in social, political, and personal life, and what makes a work of literature effective.

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  • LING 547 History of the English Language
    4 credits

    This course emphasizes the evolution of English in connection with historical, social, literary and linguistic forces. Topics addressed include Old English language in the Anglo-Saxon culture; the effects on English of the Norman Conquest, the Renaissance and the invention of printing; British colonialism; the spread of English to Asia, Africa and America; the modern development of the language; and underlying principles of change ruling various types of linguistic phenomena that take place during the natural historical development of a language.

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English Major: Capstone Seminar (4 credits)

  • LIT 480 Literature Capstone Seminar
    4 credits

    This capstone course for English majors focuses on integrative processes in the study of literature. (The course is also open to appropriately prepared nonmajors.) Students work together as a community of inquiry to study a particular author, genre, period or problem selected for each section by the instructor. Each student completes a course paper or project using concepts and methods derived from this and other literature courses to explore a literary topic of personal interest. Prerequisite: Students completing an English major must be within two semesters of graduation. Other students must secure the instructor's consent before registering.

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