Rice University

Department of English

Degree Requirements for the B.A. in English/English Major 

1. You must take at least 12 courses (36 hours). Of these, you must take 8 courses (24 hours) at 300-level or higher. 

Double majors: take 10 courses (30 hours). Of these you must take 6 courses (18 hours) at 300-level or higher. 

You won't be able to use AP credit towards the major. 

Here are the courses you must take to be an English Major or double major. If possible, please do them in the following order:  

2. You must take ENGL 200, Critical Reading and Writing. 

3. You must take ENGL 300, Practices of Literary Study. 

4. Three classes in periods before 1900. Two must be in periods before 1800. You may take just one Shakespeare class out of those two, though you can of course take more as electives. 

5. One 200 or 300-level class in “non-canonical” fields. 

6. One 400-level “capstone” course in your junior or senior year. Sorry, but it can't be a creative writing class. 

7. Whatever else you want.  Some classes can’t be retaken for credit. 

Please direct questions to: Tim Morton, Director of Undergraduate Studies in English, tbm2@rice.edu  

Descriptions of Required Courses for the B.A. in English/English Major

1. English 200: Critical Reading and Writing
(formerly Seminar in Literature & Literary Analysis)

This course serves as an introduction to the English major. It is required of all majors. It is open to non-majors. Majors should take the course in the freshman year or the first semester of the sophomore year. Sections will be offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. It emphasizes the close reading of literature and critical writing about literature, as well as familiarizing students (at a basic level) with the extra-literary contexts within which imaginative works are produced and interpreted. While the central aim is to analyze the formal principles of literary productions, the course will also introduce students to literary criticism. 

2. English 300: Practices of Literary Study

This course serves as an introduction to methods of literary interpretation. It is required of all majors and preference will be given to majors (although the course will be opened to non-majors.)  Ideally, majors should take the course in the second semester of the sophomore year or the first semester of the junior year. Sections of the course will be offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Practices of Literary Study will emphasize a range of theoretical and critical approaches brought to bear on a selection of literary texts (approaches might include literary and critical theory, cultural studies, postcolonial theory and theories of globalization, race theory and ethnic studies, queer theory, feminist theory, and historicism).

3. A 400-level "capstone" course (one is required)

ENGL 200 and 300 are suggested prerequisites for work at the 400-level capstone level.  

Capstone courses bring together the various skills of analysis, close reading, critical writing, and methodological sensitivity cultivated in the first 2-2 1/2 years of the major.  

The content of these courses will vary according to instructor and semester, but each section will build towards a longer seminar paper (15-20 pp.) that requires students to do independent research on a specified topic, defined by them in consultation with the instructor. 

This paper will include a combination of close analysis of a body of literary material with a critical approach informed by reading in secondary literary criticism/theory and/or primary research in literary and/or historical contexts. Majors should take capstone courses in the junior or senior year.