Rice University

Department of English

Degree Requirements for the B.A. in English

1. You must take at least 12 courses (36 hours). Of these, you must take 8 courses (24 hours) at 300-level. Double majors: take 10 courses (30 hours). Of these you must take 6 courses (18 hours) at 300-level. 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 at the 300 level. 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-level or 300-level English class in “non-canonical” fields.

6. One 400-level “approved capstone” course in your junior or senior year. Sorry, but it can't be a creative writing class. A capstone course will no longer simultaneously serve to fulfill another requirement, such as pre-1800, and non-canonical. 

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

Please direct undergraduate course and degree questions to: Sarah Ellenzweig
  sellenz@rice.edu, Director of Undergraduate Studies in English. Office hours are Mondays 1:00 - 3:00.      

Descriptions of Required Core Courses for the B.A. in English 

1. English 200: Critical Reading and Writing
(effective Fall 2015 this course is approved for university group 1 distribution (d1))

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.   

Special note to English majors or potential English majors: Due to the popularity of this course, if the section of ENGL 200 you want appears to be full, then please contact the English department to receive a "special registration form" signed by the instructor. You can also contact the instructor directly for permission to add this course via the special registration form.

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 approved "capstone" course (one is required)

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

Our approved 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. Check our website for "Courses Satisfying English Major Field Distribution" requirements for approved capstones before any preregistration/registration period. Not all 400 level courses are approved as a capstone course. Our creative writing courses do not qualify as an approved capstone.

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. Again, creative writing courses do not qualify.   A capstone course will no longer simultaneously serve to fulfill another requirement, such as pre-1800, and non-canonical.