English majors must complete a minimum of nine courses in the department; five of these (including the Senior Seminar) must be taken at the 300 level or above. We strongly advise that ENG 275 - Theory & Methods of English Studies be completed early in the major sequence. Students should also take one of each type of Approach course - Genealogies, Texts/Contexts, and Transformations as early in the major program as possible. Approach courses may be taken at either the 200 or 300 level. Students may not count any of the ENG 100 level courses toward their requirements in the major or minor.
At least one course in each Approach: Genealogies, Texts/Contexts, and Transformations
A minimum of four courses at the 300 level. Prerequisite for 300 level literature courses is any 200 level literature course
A total of at least nine courses in English.
Note: Students may count up to two creative writing courses as 200-level electives toward the 9 courses required for the major. Students may also take one 300 level or higher literature course offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
Courses in Study Abroad, Summer School, and the Wescoe School
Typically, students may count no more than two Summer School and/or Study Abroad courses toward the major. These courses must be approved in advance by the Department Chair. Day students may count courses taken through the Wescoe School toward the major only with permission of the Department Chair. Students should plan on satisfying required upper-level and Approach courses with the regular Muhlenberg English faculty.
Majors must maintain a 2.00 GPA in English courses to remain in the department. A 3.30 GPA in the major is expected of those who desire unconditional recommendations for graduate schools or for teaching positions. Students who are planning to attend graduate school in English would do well to enroll several courses in excess of the minimum course requirement for majors and should seek the advice of their faculty advisor as early in their undergraduate career as possible.
A set of offerings at the 200 level, the “Reading X” series, is designed for fledgling English majors and minors. These courses are also appropriate for students seeking their HU requirement who may desire greater focus than a typical survey course provides. The “Reading X” courses immerse students in a specific author, text, or literary topic, focusing on areas of controversy and debate in contemporary literary and cultural studies. With the senior seminar, the “Reading X” courses will bookend the major with experiences of depth. They will be taught as writing intensive and will be concerned less with literary theory and criticism than with the experience of reading widely in an author or topic and learning a set of basic close-reading skills. In addition to teaching modes of analysis, these offerings will often make classic works of literature relevant to our time by studying them in relation to their modern adaptations.
As students develop their majors, they should incorporate at least one course in each of the three approaches: Genealogies, Transformations, and Texts/Contexts. These courses model different approaches to literary history and are intended to heighten student awareness of literary traditions of the past, of the continuities between and among literary epochs, and of the variety of methodological and theoretical modes used to understand both literary and nonliterary texts. Approaches courses should be taken as early as possible in the major sequence.
It is important to bear in mind that although many twentieth and twenty-first century courses are not listed under a specific approach, they still count as essential experiences in the major/minor. Students are encouraged to take courses from various genres (poetry, fiction, drama, etc.) and various time periods.
Genealogies: Foundational texts and periods.
These courses consider foundational periods in English literary history that are crucial to the development and study of British and American literatures. These courses trace lines of descent of thinking within literature over a continuous period.
Transformations: Readings and rewritings.
These courses focus on literary texts and movements that are responsive to earlier texts, movements, and moments but that are produced under changed conditions of production. Transformation courses explore lines of influence and interaction and the repurposing and remediation of works produced under one dispensation in the altered conditions of another. They study remixes of tracks laid down in the past.
Texts/Contexts: Interdisciplinary approaches.
These courses explore literary and non-literary texts in terms of their historical and expressive relationships with work produced in other fields and with other reasons in mind (photography, the visual arts, the physical sciences, politics, psychology, religion, commerce). Such courses read literature in close relation to the conditions of its production; they combine the study of texts with the study of their historical and cultural ecosystems.
English minors must complete a minimum of five courses in the department. These include ENG 275 - Theory & Methods of English Studies, two courses that treat approaches - one Genealogies and either a Texts/Contexts or Transformations - and two additional courses, one of which may be in creative writing. A minimum of 2 literature courses in the minor must be taken at the 300 level or above. Students may not count 100 level English courses toward the minor.