English Department Major

Requirements for Concentration:

A minimum of twelve units, comprising either eleven graded units and an ungraded senior tutorial, or twelve graded units including a 300-level seminar taken in the senior year. Four units must be elected at the 300-level. At least six units, including either the senior tutorial or the 300-level senior seminar must be taken at Vassar. No AP credit or course taken NRO may be counted toward the requirements for the major.

Distribution Requirements:

Majors are required to take two units of work in literature written before 1800 and one unit of work in literature written before 1900.
They must also take one course that focuses on issues of race, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.
These courses must be taken at either the 200- or 300-level.


ENGL 101 and ENGL 170 are strongly recommended as foundational courses, and students are also strongly encouraged to work from the 200 to the 300-level in at least one field of study. Acquaintance with a classical language (Latin or Greek) or with one or more of the languages especially useful for an understanding of the history of English (Old English, German, or French) is useful, as are appropriate courses in philosophy, history, and other literatures.

Further information:

Applicants for ENGL 209 - Advanced Creative Writing: Narrative-ENGL 210 - Advanced Creative Writing: Narrative, ENGL 211 - Advanced Creative Writing: Verse-ENGL 212 - Advanced Creative Writing: Verse, and ENGL 305 - Creative Writing Seminar-ENGL 306 - Creative Writing Seminar, must submit samples of their writing before spring break. Applicants for ENGL 203 - These American Lives: New Journalisms and ENGL 307 - Senior Creative Writing must submit samples of their writing before fall pre-registration. Details about these deadlines, departmental procedures, and current information on course offerings may be found in the Alphabet Book available in the department office or online at the department website.