May 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English Major

Major Requirements

Students earning a major in the English department choose between two paths: Literature or Creative Writing. For all majors:

  • No more than two 100-level literature courses may count towards either major path. The only exception is ENGL 150 - Introduction to Creative Writing , which may be counted in addition to two other 100-level courses.
  • Neither AP nor IB credits nor ENGL 101 - College Writing  may count towards either major path.
  • ENGL 125  taken at Macalester may count towards a major path, but when it is granted by the Registrar as credit for AP or IB it may not count.

NOTE: Because the content of topics-based courses varies widely based on who is teaching them, all programs of study should be planned in consultation with an English department advisor to confirm which requirements a particular course number fulfills in any given semester.


The Literature path consists of ten courses (40 credits) in English, which includes the capstone experience in literature and requires students to distribute coursework across a range of categories. Any given course may count towards only one of the requirements for the English major. The major path requires courses covering the following categories:

  • Foundation course: one course at the 100-level. These courses serve as prerequisites for courses at the 300-level. There are no prerequisites for 200-level English courses.
  • Pre-1900 courses: three courses at the 200-, 300-, or 400-level, each of which must cover a different historical period from the following list: Medieval; Renaissance; 18th/19th Century British; 18th/19th Century American
  • Writers of Color: one course at any level
  • One capstone experience in literature, taken as a senior, and selected from the following options:
    - Senior Seminar (ENGL 400  or ENGL ENGL 401 );
    - another literature course in the 400-level sequence;
    - an Honors project;
    - an independent study.
  • Four electives, which may be any other courses in the English department, or may include one or more of the following:
    - no more than one literary course in a language other than English (for which prior approval of your departmental advisor or the chair is required);
    - up to two courses from a study abroad program (with prior approval of the chair);
    - no more than one internship;
    - no more than one preceptorship.

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing path mirrors the requirements for the Literature path and also consists of ten courses, meeting the requirements as listed above, with the following differences:

  • in addition to a 100-level foundation course, students on the Creative Writing path must take ENGL 150  at Macalester as a prerequisite for all other creative writing courses;
  • four electives, all of which must be creative writing;
  • the capstone experience must be in creative writing rather than literature.