Skip to main content

English BA

College of Liberal Arts / Writing, Literature, and Language
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About The Program

The English major guides students through the reading, analysis, and interpretation of powerful and beautiful works of literature. Students engage in close reading of literary texts, write significant interpretations about a text's implications, and create oral presentations establishing a thematic link between texts and works of art from the same cultural era. Best of all, students have the opportunity to share appreciation of great works with a community of fellow students and enthusiastic faculty in this popular and useful major.

The abilities to analyze content, engage in critical thinking, consider alternative audiences, and communicate gracefully in a variety of oral and written forms help prepare our majors for careers in advertising, writing, editing, publishing, law, education, content management, public relations, media communications, grant writing, and project management.

Student outcomes

  • Interpretive Skills - the ability to interpret written texts and understand how literal, figurative, and implicit meaning is created in literary texts.
  • Theoretical Analysis - scholarly research skills and the ability to wield relevant critical/theoretical lenses and secondary sources in support of an argument.
  • Rhetorical Competence - advanced proficiency in rhetorical skills, including mastery of scholarly writing conventions.

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your English BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your English BA

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your English BA that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Program eligibility requirements

This program has no particular eligibility requirements. We recommend that students complete WRIT 131 (or its equivalent) and gain at least 30 college credits before attempting 300-level work.

Courses and Requirements


This program does not include 100-level coursework or accept 100-level courses as equivalents for any program requirement. With advisor approval, up to 12-credits of 200-level transfer courses may be applied to specific major requirements. Up to 18 total credits may be accepted in transfer, with advisor approval.

Program Requirements (40 credits)

+ Junior Seminar (required course, 4 credits)

Intrigued by the study of literature and recent transformations in the field? This core course introduces majors and interested students to the discipline of English studies, its traditions and conventions, and its ongoing dynamic reassessments of content and methods. The course engages with minoritized or emergent literature to question the literary canon as a sedimented literary formation and to understand the dynamics of power that inform canonic exclusion and inclusion. To support our emphasis on literary analysis, we introduce criticism and theory, as well as relevant historical, aesthetic, and social contexts. This essential first course supports student success in the major and beyond.

Full course description for Transforming English Studies

+ Mni Sota Makoce: Lands and Knowledge (required course, 4 credits)

The course surveys a variety of Indigenous oral and written narrative expressions (for example, bilingual texts and pictographic texts) from different regions, including Dakota, Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi communities, as well as a possible inclusion of First Nations and Métis narratives. Students will explore themes and concepts central to Indigenous individuals, groups, and communities with a culturally-,historically-, and futuristically-informed analytical approach to literary study. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Native American Oral and Written Narratives

+ Literature Survey (choose 2 courses, 8 credits)

Students must choose ONE of the American Literature survey courses (LIT 341 or LIT 342) and ONE of the English Literature survey courses (LIT 371 or LIT 372).

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.

Full course description for American Literature: Beginnings-1870

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.

Full course description for American Literature: 1870-Present

+ Literatures of Race and Ethnicity (choose 2 courses, 8 credits)

This course introduces students to place-based knowledge accrued by Indigenous intellectuals over time. Students will learn the way language is vital to Indigenous knowledge and how knowledge of landscapes and caring for places are embedded in Indigenous languages. Art, maps, dance, music, and material culture are part of these knowledge systems bridging land, identity, and place. This course also covers how knowledge has been suppressed and marginalized by White Eurocentric knowledge systems. Note: This course may include being outside on self-guided and group field trips in many different types of weather. This course may also include hands-on activities. The course gives significant focus to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Land, Knowledge, and Identity Through Indigenous Languages

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…

Full course description for The Harlem Renaissance

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.

Full course description for African-American Literature

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.

Full course description for Black Women Writers

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.

Full course description for Literature by Immigrants of Color

This course will explore the ways Asian American novels, short stories, poetry and film represent, elaborate and challenge how we understand Asian American experience as is it informed by race, gender, sexuality and age. Focusing on major texts of Asian American literature from the early 20th century to the present, we will discuss how and why the study of Asian American literature emerged from its historical exclusion from the U.S literary canon, and how this exclusion is tied to structural racism in the academy, a major institution in U.S. cultural gatekeeping. We will also discuss how the study of Asian American literature benefits from understanding broader historical and political issues relevant to the Asian American experience. To this end, we will read and discuss relevant primary texts and secondary criticism on topics such as (but not limited to), law, citizenship, labor, imperialism, war, anti-Asian racism, comparative racialization, queer identities and activism to deepen…

Full course description for Asian American Literature

This course examines significant works of Latinx literature written in the U.S., focusing on the diversity of the Latinx literary expression. Students will explore relevant sociopolitical contexts and how literature provides insight into the commonalities and differences of the experiences of Latin American diasporas in the US. Topics that may be studied in relation to literary production, include but are not limited to identity (e.g. mestizaje, Afro-Latino/a/x), race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, as well as borderlands, citizenship, migration, and multilingualism. Emphasis will be on U.S. based literature, but may include some comparative analysis with literary texts across the Americas and the Caribbean. Significant emphasis on race and racism.

Full course description for Latinx Literature of the U.S.

+ Global Literatures and Culture (choose 1 course, 4 credits)

This course explores expressive culture, including oral and written traditions, arts, music, and architecture of the ancient world with an emphasis on the formal, aesthetic, and relevant geopolitical contexts of human creativity. Students will learn how the formal analysis of a variety of ancient artifacts leads scholars to insights about humanistic expression, constructions of self and other, and cultural values and ideals. While the course may include discussion of work from ancient Greece or Rome, it will draw additional emphases from two or more of the following areas: North Africa, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Asian, South Asia, and Central and South America. All texts will be in English or English translation.

Full course description for Global Humanities: Ancient Cultures

Postmodernism is cultural movement that has been characterized by a radical rejection of traditional aesthetics to the extreme limit, developing new theories and aesthetics. 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, postmodernism 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. Readings will consider postmodernism in a global frame. All texts read in English or English translation.

Full course description for Global Postmodernism

Folklore, one of the oldest forms of human expression, continues to shape contemporary culture and everyday life. 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. Selections will vary but typically represent folklore originating from regions of Africa, East Asia, Europe, the Americas, and South and Southeast Asia. All texts read in English or English translation.

Full course description for World Folklore

This course examines the work of contemporary African films with particular emphasis on the continuities and disruptions of Black cultures across transnational lines. The course studies a wide range of expressive possibilities, from analyses of African nations¿ legacies of colonization to art house visionaries, from fun comedies celebrating romance to slice-of-life realism. We pay significant attention to African films as political, aesthetic, and anti-racist practice. All works are in English, English translation, and/or with English subtitles.

Full course description for African Film

This course examines Asian and Asian diasporic literatures written in or translated to English. Students will analyze how these literatures have contributed to and transformed the study of English in a global frame. Students will investigate how Asian and Asian diasporic literature emerges from specific cultural, historical, national, global and American multiethnic contexts and demonstrate how ¿Asia¿ is itself a distortion of a broad region, largely produced from a western imperial imagination. Topics that may be studied in relation to literary production, include but are not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, language, immigration, global migrant labor, citizenship, imperialism, as well as Asian indigenous histories. All texts will be in English or English translation.

Full course description for Asian and Asian Diasporic Literatures

This course examines contemporary literatures by African and African diasporic writers. Students will identify and compare the diversity of African and African diasporic literatures to critique and challenge monolithic understandings of Africa and the African diaspora. As students deepen their understanding of the construction of ¿Africa¿ and the African diaspora, we will distinguish the various ways these literatures reflect and innovate traditional narrative practices and Western literary forms. Finally, students will apply relevant socio-political and literary scholarship about literatures from the continent and the diaspora to literary analysis. Topics that may be studied in relation to literary production include but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, language, nationalism, anti-colonial resistance, decolonization, and globalization. All texts will be in English or English translation.

Full course description for African and African Diasporic Literatures

This course examines world literatures from regions (e.g. Latin and Central America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean) previously described as "Third World." Students analyze literatures that emerge from, reflect, and respond to geopolitical phenomena that have produced the "Global South," namely colonization, globalization, slavery, indigenous dispossession, and displacement that continue to inform global North-South relations. In addition, students explore how literatures of the Global South offer creative responses and resistances to the violent imperialisms of the Global North and represent transformative Global South identities, movements, and solidarities. All required reading will be in English. Geographic emphasis of literature will vary by semester.

Full course description for Literature of the Global South

+ Literary Theory Course (required course, 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.

Full course description for Literary Criticism: 1950-Present

+ Additional Electives (4+ credits)

Choose one (or more) upper-level LIT, HUM, or LING electives to bring total major credits to 40. Choose electives that do not duplicate or repeat coursework you completed at other institutions.

+ Literature Capstone Seminar (required course, 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.

Full course description for Literature Capstone Seminar