English/English and Creative Writing Majors
Goals for English/English and Creative Writing Majors
Students who major in English will strive to:
- Acquire a knowledge of English literary history, including both the canonical works of the past and works from emerging traditions and multicultural literature;
- Recognize and demonstrate an ability to work with critical methodologies employed in the discipline of literary studies;
- Write with clarity, originality, and style;
- Recognize and construct a lucid and persuasive argument;
- Read literature with deep attention and intensive responsiveness to content, language and form.
Those who major in English and Creative Writing should fulfill all the goals above and in addition should:
- Develop a distinctive literary voice;
- Acquire a knowledge of the history and cross-cultural diversity of the genres, traditions, and styles in which they are working.
Requirements for the English Major
The English major consists of a minimum of 10 units, at least eight of which must be in areas other than creative writing. At least seven units must be above 100 level, and of these at least two units must be earned in 300-level literature, film, or literary theory courses. At least eight of the units for the major must be taken in the department, including the two required units in 300-level courses dealing with literature, film, or literary theory; with the approval of a student’s major advisor, two courses taught within language and literature departments and related interdisciplinary programs and departments at Wellesley and other approved schools may be offered for major credit; these may include literature courses taught in translation or in the original language. (Transfer students may apply to the chair to earn major credit for more than two literature-based courses taken outside the College.) Students planning to study for a full academic year in a program abroad in the United Kingdom should seek the counsel of their advisors or the department chair to avoid running up against the college’s rule that 18 courses must be taken outside any one department; universities in the United Kingdom commonly require all courses to be taken within their English departments.
All students majoring in English must take ENG 120 (Critical Interpretation) or WRIT 120 [WRIT 120 replaces ENG 120/WRIT 105] or ENG 121 (A Survey of English Literature), at least one course in Shakespeare (200 level), and two courses focused on literature written before 1900, of which at least one must focus on literature before 1800. For students entering the College in 2017 and beyond, we also require at least one course that focuses on postcolonial, minority, or ethnic writing. This Diversity of Literatures in English requirement can be fulfilled with a course from another department, but that course will count as one of two courses that majors can take elsewhere. Courses within the department that fulfill this requirement will be designated each year in the Department of English and Creative Writing Course Booklet.
The First-Year Writing requirement does not count toward the major. As noted above, only courses designated WRIT 120 satisfy both the ENG 120 requirement and the First-Year Writing requirement, and count as a unit toward the fulfillment of the major. They do NOT satisfy the LL distribution requirement, however. Independent work (ENG 350, ENG 360, or ENG 370) does not count toward the minimum requirement of two 300-level courses for the major or toward the 10 courses required for the major. 300-level courses in creative writing also do not count toward the minimum requirement of two 300-level courses for the major.
Courses taken in other departments at Wellesley College may not be used to satisfy any of the above distribution requirements for the major. With the chair’s permission, courses taken abroad during junior year or on Twelve College Exchange may satisfy certain distribution requirements. ENG 112, ENG 223, ENG 224, and ENG 247/MER 247 do not satisfy the pre-1800 distribution requirement. Transfer students or Davis Scholars who have had work equivalent to ENG 120 at another institution may apply to the chair for exemption from the critical interpretation requirement.
Requirements for the English and Creative Writing Major
The English and Creative Writing Major is a concentration within the English Major designed for students with a strong commitment to developing their own creative work. Students will graduate with a degree in English and Creative Writing. Students will take a series of workshops in one or more creative genres (fiction, poetry, children’s literature, playwriting, screenwriting, writing for television, and creative nonfiction) and select, in consultation with their advisor, courses in literary study that provide the background in and knowledge of literary tradition necessary to make a contribution to that tradition.
The concentration consists of a minimum of 12 units. In addition to eight courses in the critical study of literature, majors take a minimum of four units of creative writing work. Further, students must fulfill all the requirements of the English major, including ENG 120 or WRIT 120 [WRIT 120 replaces ENG 120/WRIT 105] or ENG 121, a course on Shakespeare, the period distribution requirements, and two 300-level literature courses. (Creative writing courses may be repeated once for additional credit.) For students entering the College in 2017 and beyond, we also require at least one course that focuses on postcolonial, minority, or ethnic writing. This Diversity of Literatures in English requirement can be fulfilled with a course from another department, but that course will count as one of two courses that majors can take elsewhere. Courses within the department that fulfill this requirement will be designated each year in the Department of English and Creative Writing Course Booklet. (Transfer students may apply to the chair to earn major credit for more than two literature-based courses taken outside the College.)
A student who is extremely motivated and capable of independent work and who has the permission of a faculty advisor may take an independent study (ENG 350); however, it is recommended that students take full advantage of the workshop experience provided by the creative writing courses. A student qualifying for honors in English and whose proposal has been approved by the Creative Writing Committee may pursue a creative writing thesis; the thesis option, although it includes two course units (ENG 360 and ENG 370), can only count as one of the four creative writing courses required by the concentration. Creative writing faculty generally direct creative theses; however, other English department faculty may direct creative theses.
Students interested in the creative writing concentration are urged to begin planning their programs early in their careers at Wellesley. It is expected that they will have taken at least one writing workshop by the time of election of the major (spring semester sophomore year or fall semester sophomore year, for students studying internationally), and have been in touch with a member of the creative writing faculty to plan the major. Creative writing concentration majors must choose a member of the creative writing faculty as their advisor. Students who are interested in the creative writing concentration but who do not feel confident that they have had sufficient experience in writing to choose the concentration at the time of the election of the major should elect the English major; they may add the creative writing concentration later.
Honors in English
The department offers a single path toward honors. The honors candidate does two units of independent research culminating in a critical thesis or a project in creative writing. Applicants for honors should have a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major (in courses above 100 level) and must apply to the chair for admission to the program. Except in special circumstances, it is expected that students applying for honors will have completed five courses in the major, at least four of which must be taken in the English department at Wellesley. A more detailed description of the department’s application procedure is available from the department’s academic administrator.
Graduate Study in English
Students expecting to do graduate work in English should ordinarily plan to acquire a reading knowledge of one and, if possible, two foreign languages. They should take ENG 382 (Literary Theory) or an equivalent course in literary theory. They should also consult with the department’s graduate school advisor, and with their major advisor, about courses that are appropriate for those considering graduate work in English.
Teacher Certification in English
Students interested in obtaining certification to teach English in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should consult with the chair of the Education department and the English department liaison to the Education department.
Advanced Placement Policy in English
Students may receive credits toward their Wellesley degree for their performance on AP or IB examinations. Because no high school course is considered the equivalent of a course in the English department, the English department does not grant credit toward the major for AP or IB courses. First-year students and other undeclared majors contemplating further study in English are encouraged to consult the department chair or the department pre-major advisor in relation to their course selection. Students majoring in English should discuss their programs with the chair or their major advisors, and should consult with them about any changes they wish to make during their junior and senior years.