Degree Requirements

General Requirements for the Major or Minor

General university degree requirements stipulate that 1) at least four units of the major or three units of the minor be taken in residence at Puget Sound; 2) students earn a GPA of 2.0 in courses taken for the major or the minor; and 3) all courses taken for a major or minor must be taken for graded credit. Any exceptions to these stipulations are indicated in the major and minor degree requirements listed below.

Requirements for the Major

  1. Foundations: ENGL 220 plus three (3) additional courses from ENGL 221-239.
  2. Constructing Knowledge: Four (4) courses from ENGL 321-389. Students must have completed ENGL 220 and at least one other 200-level requirement to register for courses at the 300 level.
  3. Senior Experience Seminars: Two (2) courses from ENGL 430-497. Students must have completed all 200-level requirements toward the major and a minimum of two courses at the 300 level before registering for a senior experience seminar.
  4. Works before 1800: Two of the 10 units taken for the English major must be courses that focus primarily on texts written before 1800. The following courses usually fulfill the pre-1800 requirement: English 231, 232, 234; 330 when taught by Prof. Hale; 332 when taught by Prof. Erving; 335 when taught by Prof. Wesley; 353, 349, 365, 371, 372, 381 Geoffrey Chaucer, 381 William Shakespeare, 381 John Milton, 381 William Blake; 382 Studies in Medieval Literature, 382 Studies in Sixteenth-Century British Literature, 382 Studies in Seventeenth-Century British Literature, 382 Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, 382 Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century American Literature; ENGL 431 when taught by Professor Hale; ENGL 432 when taught by Professors Despres, Erving, or Wesley. Please consult the department website for the most up-to-date list of courses that fulfill this requirement each semester; the Registrar or department can also be consulted.

Requirements for the Major with Creative Writing Focus

Students who complete four courses from among the Department's Creative Writing offerings (ENGL 227, 228, 325-328, 434) will receive a B.A. in English with a Focus in Creative Writing noted on their transcripts.

Requirements for the Minor

  1. Foundations: ENGL 220 plus three (3) additional courses from ENGL 221-239.
  2. One course from ENGL 321-389. Students must have completed ENGL 220 and at least one other 200-level requirement to register for courses at the 300 level.


  1. The student must have a grade of C- or above in each course applied to a major or minor.
  2. There is no time limit on courses applicable to an English major or minor.
  3. ENGL courses that fulfill the University Core (Artistic Approaches or Humanistic Approaches) cannot be applied towards the major or minor.
  4. Non-majors who wish to enroll in English courses at the 300-level or above need upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

Organization of Course Offerings

Course offerings in the department are organized in the following way.

University Core

These courses satisfy university Core requirements and do not satisfy English major or minor requirements.

201 to 209 Texts and Contexts: Introduction to Literature and Cultural Studies

Courses under this heading examine literary traditions in relation to the historical, social, cultural, political, and intellectual contexts in which they are situated. Courses may be thematically or historically based, and introduce students to significant questions raised by the reading of imaginative literatures from a variety of traditions. Specific themes, texts, and genre vary by instructor; please check the depart-ment website each semester for specifics. These courses satisfy the Humanistic Approaches Core Requirement.

210 to 219 Content in Form: Studies in the Literary Aesthetic

Courses in this category emphasize the study of literary aesthetics with particular attention to the formal aspects of literary/cultural production and craft. Students consider the relationship between textual form and content, examining different aesthetic traditions and their formal manifestations. These courses attend to both analysis and production as means of understanding the workings of text, broadly defined. Specific emphases, genres, traditions, or themes vary by instructor; please check the department website each semester for specifics. These courses satisfy the Artistic Approaches core requirement.


220 Introduction to English Studies

This course serves as an introduction to the English major and minor and provides a foundation for the study of literature through reading, analyzing, and writing about a variety of literary and non-literary texts.

221 to 229 Creative Writing Courses

The English Department's introductory creative writing offerings acquaint students with fundamental concepts in the respective genre each course considers. Introductory creative writing courses cultivate student writing through the simultaneous study of canonical and contemporary authors. Courses often incorporate readings by visiting writers and relevant performances on campus or in the local community; additionally, courses may feature a public reading of student work.

231 to 239 Works, Cultures, Traditions

These courses offer comparative overviews of significant historical, cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic developments in the areas that make up English Studies--including British, American, and Anglophone literatures, rhetorical studies, visual rhetoric, and film--and thus provide students with a contextually sensitive understanding of a broad field. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.

Constructing Knowledge

Students are expected to complete ENGL 220 and a minimum of one other Foundations course before registering for courses at the 300 level.

321-329 Creative Writing Courses

The English Department's advanced creative writing offerings facilitate upper-level work in each course's respective focus in poetry, fiction, drama, creative non-fiction, memoir, or special topics genres. Advanced creative writing courses facilitate the production of student work, building upon the fundamentals emphasized in the introductory classes and culminating in a significant project or portfolio of student writing. Each advanced creative writing course has a prerequisite and requires a registration code from the professor teaching the course. Courses often incorporate readings by visiting writers and relevant performances on campus or in the local community; additionally, courses may feature a public reading of student work. These courses are open to all majors who have completed the appropriate prerequisites.

330 to 339 Studies in Genre

Courses in this category explore genres or sub-genres as they have evolved over time or as they are practiced through a particular medium. Through reading and writing within the genre as well as engaging with relevant critical and/or theoretical texts, students develop an understanding of genre as a system not only for producing and classifying texts but also for responding to evolving social conditions.

340 to 359 Textual Explorations

Courses in this category engage texts across traditional periods, geographic bounds, or generic constraints in ways that complement tradi-tional English Studies topics and approaches. Developed in keeping with emerging trends in the field and specific faculty expertise, these courses encourage students to consider innovative ways of approaching the study of texts. Please consult the department website for more detailed information on the offerings in this category during any given term.

360 to 369 Cultural Traditions

These courses engage with cultural traditions and collective identifications within literatures. Approaches consider how social forces and circumstances impact these literatures and their study, and explore the literatures' relationship to inherited cultural values. Of equal im-portance are the political dimensions that these texts assume in national discourses. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see de-partment website for current information.

370 to 379 Theoretical Perspectives

Courses in this category have their basis in major concepts and theories within literary and rhetorical traditions. Students examine theoretical readings that conceptualize and mediate cultural and aesthetic issues within such genres/media as novels, films, essays, comics, and hypertext. In emphasizing a reciprocal relationship between theory and related texts and experiences, these courses investigate the cultural, ideological, and rhetorical forces that shape a reader's encounter with text.

380 to 382 Authors, Movements, Eras

These courses explore the pivotal roles that authors play in shaping and defining aesthetic, literary, philosophical, or cultural movements. In joining close analysis with critical and contextualizing readings, students consider a series of texts with respect to an oeuvre, a circle of writers, the Zeitgeist, or the influence of a writer over time.

Senior Experience Seminars

Students should consult their major advisors regarding preparation for these courses. Students are advised to complete their Foundations courses and a minimum of two courses in Constructing Knowledge before registering for a Senior Experience Semi-nar.

430 to 439; 497 Senior Experience Seminars

The Senior Experience seminars comprise courses (see numbers below) in broad categories. Please consult the English department website or the professor scheduled to teach the course to determine the specific topic offered in a given semester. All Senior Experience seminars must be completed on the Puget Sound campus. Senior Experience seminars are offered both for students pursuing an analytical or scholarly project and those pursuing a substantial project in creative writing.

Seminars in literary scholarship or cultural and rhetorical analysis involve students in an in-depth examination of a specific topic selected by the professor, and guide them in crafting a scholarly project that engages the critical literature on that topic. The early part of the semester emphasizes building a shared base of knowledge that will inform the independent projects, while the latter part emphasizes independent research, engaging sources, drafting, workshopping, and refining a final product. Each student in these seminars should expect to emerge with a substantial piece of scholarly analysis.

The creative writing seminars facilitate the writing and revision of an original work: a collection of short stories, a novel or novella, a chapbook or volume of poems, a play, a film script, or other substantial piece of student writing. Like the literary scholarship seminars, the creative writing seminars devote the early part of the semester to building a shared expertise that will inform creative projects in multiple genres; the latter part of the semester emphasizes independent research, engaging sources, drafting, workshopping, and refining a final product. The expectation is that each student will complete the creative writing seminar with a polished manuscript.

The Writing Internship has two components, fieldwork and classwork. Students work as writing interns in advertising, public relations, journalism, television, and in other areas. The classroom component is conducted as a senior seminar. Students make presentations on a variety of topics, discuss internship experiences, and receive information on publishing and professional writing.

Students preparing to take ENGL 430-439 or 497 should keep in mind the following:

  1. Registering for a Senior Experience seminar requires a permission code, which must be obtained from the professor. As a prerequisite, the student must have completed ENGL 220 and three additional Foundations courses at the 200 level, and at least two courses at the 300 level. In addition, students may be asked to demonstrate relevant preparation for the seminar they select.
  2. All Senior Experience seminars include a component of shared readings and discussions to build knowledge in the field.
  3. For the analytical seminars in literature, culture, and rhetoric, the independent research component consists of a culminating project that engages primary and secondary sources and advances the student's own argument. For the creative writing seminars, the inde-pendent writing component culminates in a polished final manuscript, regardless of the genre in which the student writes; what constitutes a completed manuscript for the genre will be decided by consultation between the professor and student at the beginning of the semester.
  4. To facilitate the development and refining of each student's project, all of the Senior Experience seminars feature a workshop compo-nent in which participants present their research and writing to others and engage as critical respondents.