The Department of English offers courses in English, American, and related literatures. Courses in literature emphasize techniques of literary analysis; theoretical problems in the interpretation of texts; the social, historical, and political context of literary production and reception; and the pleasures of reading. Most require significant written work and stress critical thinking skills. Courses in language study examine the structural, historical, social, and aesthetic dimensions of English. The creative writing program offers workshops in verse, short story, novel, and expository writing. English majors are exposed to many critical perspectives, and pursue interests in literary history, critical theory, language studies, and creative writing.
The Department of English offers the following program of study:
Bachelor of Arts
Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Foreign languages, classics, English history, American history, and philosophy.
Department Admission Requirements
Additional requirements for admission to the creative writing option:
Minimum 55 credits, as follows:
The department strongly recommends, but does not require, 5 credits in one of the following English language courses: ENGL 370, ENGL 371, ENGL 373, ENGL 374, ENGL 478, ENGL 479, or LING 200.
Creative Writing Option
Minimum 60 credits, as follows:
All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Of Special Note::
Graduate Program Coordinator
The Department of English offers a complete program of graduate courses and seminars designed to provide aspirants for the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with a knowledge of English literature and language and the necessary scholarship for training in literary criticism and theory, literary history, and English-language study, including rhetoric and composition. It is possible to pursue a literature- or language-study emphasis. The Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing emphasizes projects in imaginative writing in fiction and poetry, supported by courses in criticism and literary periods and types. A special degree program, the Master of Arts for Teachers, is offered for English teachers in secondary schools and community colleges and a Master of Arts for Teachers (of English to speakers of other languages) for those interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages. The graduate program permits completion of master's degree requirements in four to six quarters and doctoral degree requirements in five years (including the master's degree). In a typical five-year Ph.D. program, a student is encouraged to complete course requirements (75 credits) during the first three years, the general examination for the doctorate in the fourth year, and the dissertation in the fifth year. Those admitted with a master's degree from another university can complete the doctorate in four years: two years of coursework, exam year, and dissertation year.
The department annually awards 10 or more new teaching assistantships. To be considered for the following autumn, applicants must submit an assistantship application and supporting materials for admission to the graduate program by January 15. A statement of purpose, three recommendations, the GRE general test, and a critical-writing sample are required [except MAT (ESOL)]. Teaching assistantship applicants who are not native speakers of English must submit as part of their application a score of 290 or better on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or UW-administered SPEAK test.
Master of Arts
Bachelor of Arts degree: Major in English equivalent to that awarded by the UW preferred. Graduate Record Examination general test [GRE (literature in English) subject test recommended]. Three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a critical writing sample.
40 credits, to include:
Intermediate-level proficiency in a language other than English. 40 credits, including 30 credits in graduate English seminars. For students continuing to the doctoral program, a 10-credit master's essay. For a terminal master's degree, students may substitute 10 additional credits in graduate English seminars for the master's essay. A maximum of 5 credits may be transferred from an accredited graduate program elsewhere.
Master of Fine Arts
Bachelor of Arts degree, Graduate Record Examination general test, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, a critical-writing sample, and a creative-writing sample.
55 credits, as follows:
20 credits in creative writing, 15 credits in graduate English seminars (5 credits must be from an approved course in criticism), 5 elective credits, 15 thesis credits (including a creative thesis, an M.F.A. essay, and a final oral examination); demonstration of proficiency in a language other than English.
Master of Arts for Teachers
Same as for the Master of Arts degree, but usually including prior teaching experience.
45 credits, to include:
25 must be in courses numbered 500 or above; including at least one course each in English language or linguistics, rhetoric and/or composition, literary criticism or critical theory, and literature; three courses must have a stated orientation on teaching English; and 5 credits of MAT essay. In addition to the 45 credits, a student with no regular or formal teaching experience is required to complete at least 6 credits of ENGL 601 (Internship); 15 credits may be taken outside the department in courses related to the teaching of English, subject to approval.
Master of Arts for Teachers (of English to Speakers of Other Languages)
Bachelor of Arts degree, Graduate Record Examination general test, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation. Students without training in linguistic method and theory must take LING 400 as a prerequisite for 400-level linguistics courses.
45-54 credits, to include:
including ENGL 571, ENGL 572, ENGL 574, ENGL 576; LING 446 or LING 450, ENGL 575 or LING 461; three courses from ENGL 471, ENGL 478, ENGL 479, ENGL 560, ENGL 561, ENGL 562, ENGL 563, ENGL 564, ENGL 567, ENGL 569, ENGL 575, LING 433/ANTH 464, LING 457/PSYCH 457, LING 451, LING 462; one elective course; 3-6 credits of ENGL 570. Intermediate-level proficiency in a language other than English.
Doctor of Philosophy
By petition to the Graduate Studies Committee upon completion of the MA degree option in literature. Students with recent master's degrees from other institutions are admitted at the post-master's level following the guidelines for admission to the MA option and must complete two quarters before petitioning the Graduate Studies Committee for admission to the doctoral program. Students transferring with a master's degree from other institutions may be required to submit an equivalent to the master's essay. Students with MFA, MAT, or MAT (ESL) degrees from this University must complete coursework and language requirements for the MA degree option and submit an equivalent to the master's essay.
Minimum 102 credits, to include:
75 graded credits of electives in graduate English seminars. Students with a recent master's degree from another university may count up to 30 credits from their master's program, upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Students with a master's degree from the UW may count up to 40 credits in courses taken before admission to the doctoral program. Fluency in at least one language other than English, plus whatever additional language study the supervisory committee advises. Written examinations for literature emphasis: (1) historical period, (2) specialized field of study, (3) second period, genre, or topic. Written examinations for language emphasis: (1) major approach to English-language study, (2) second approach to language study, (3) textual focus (can be literary period). An oral general examination; 27 credits of ENGL 800 (dissertation); and a final examination based on the dissertation.