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Undergraduate English Curriculum

Small, discussion-based classes cover a diversity of topics as part of the curriculum for undergraduate students pursuing a major or minor in the Department of English.

B.A. in English

Coordinator: Ted Mathys, M.F.A.

The English major consists of 12 courses (36 credit hours), made up of one course (three credit hours) at the 2000-level, five courses (15 credit hours) in 3000-level area requirements, five electives (15 credit hours) at the 4000-level and one senior seminar (three credit hours).

Introductory Courses

As an undergraduate student in the Department of English, you will take one of the following courses as an introductory course to the major:

  • English 2250: Conflict, Social Justice and Literature
  • English 2350: Faith, Doubt and Literature
  • English 2450: Nature, Ecology and Literature
  • English 2550: Gender, Identity and Literature
  • English 2650: Technology, Media and Literature
  • English 2750: Film, Culture and Literature
  • English 2850: Nation, Identity and Literature

Area Requirements

You will also take one course from each of the following categories and an additional course from any one category as part of the foundational coursework requirement:

Form and Genre (ENGL 3000-3240)

These courses focus on texts as linguistic structures. They address genres (including the novel, drama, poetry), subgenres (including satire, documentary, noir), literary and cinematic conventions (realism, stream of consciousness, first-person narration), forms (the sonnet, the heroic couplet), formal features (patterns of rhythm and rhyme), and matters of technique. The emphasis is on the function of form in shaping textual meaning.

History and Context (ENGL 3250-3490)

These courses explore the difference that historical context makes to the reading of texts, attending to broad literary periods and emphasizing chronological breadth. Historical contexts include literary history (the chronological succession of authors and of periods); periodization (the division of one period of literary history from another and the major characteristics of these periods); political, social and cultural developments; and the changing ways in which texts are produced and received by readers and audiences.

Culture and Critique (ENGL 3500-3740)

These courses explore how considering the embodied writer and reader changes the way we read texts, paying special attention to how texts offer critiques of their cultures. Points at issue include gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, religion, place, space and their intersections. In this category are also included courses that consider our relations with the natural world and the humanly-created world. Courses in this group explore particular theoretical and conceptual perspectives including feminist, spiritual, materialist.

Rhetoric and Argumentation (ENGL 3750-3900)

These courses introduce students to the practices of rhetoric and writing, utilizing their own creativity. Beyond simply analyzing arguments or interpreting texts, students in these courses will invent arguments and produce texts. They will also perform various textual modes, including alphabetic, audio and video.

Advanced Seminars

Additionally, you will take 15 credits of elective advanced seminars in English. Any English course offered at the 4000-level may count, including: 

  • ENGL 4010: New Media Writing
  • ENGL 4060: Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENGL 4240: Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
  • ENGL 4310: Early Shakespeare
  • ENGL 4500: The Age of Romanticism
  • ENGL 4680: Major Post-Colonial Writers
  • ENGL 4720: Contemporary American Literature
  • ENGL 4830: Post-1900 African American Literature

During your senior year, you will also take ENGL 4960: Senior Inquiry Seminar, a small, intensive seminar course. 

English Major Worksheet

English Concentrations 

While most students pursue the broad literature-based English major, SLU’s undergraduate English program offers three optional concentrations: creative writing; rhetoric, writing and technology; and research-intensive English (the honors track within the English major).

Creative Writing Concentration

Coordinator: Devin Johnston, Ph.D.

The requirements for the English major with a creative writing concentration are the same as those for the English major but this concentration requires twelve credit hours in creative writing. 3000-level creative writing courses fulfill the form and genre distribution requirement and may also fulfill the 3000-level elective credit. 4000-level creative writing courses count as 4000-level English seminars. Creative writing courses must be chosen from the following:

  • ENGL 3040: Writing Literacy Narratives
  • ENGL 3050: Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENGL 3060: Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENGL 3070: Creative Writing: Drama
  • ENGL 3080: Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 3090: Creative Writing: Poetry and Translation
  • ENGL 3100: Topics in Creative Writing
  • ENGL 4050: The Craft of Poetry
  • ENGL 4060: The Craft of Fiction
  • ENGL 4070: The Craft of Drama
  • ENGL 4080: The Craft of Nonfiction
  • ENGL 4091: Craft Course: Poetry and Translation
  • ENGL 4120: Language Studies: Special Topics

You will also be required to submit a portfolio of representative work for assessment prior to graduation and to take ENGL 4960, the senior seminar.

Rhetoric, Writing and Technology Concentration

Coordinator: Nathaniel Rivers, Ph.D.

If you choose to concentrate in rhetoric, writing and technology while getting your Bachelor in Arts in English at SLU, you will fulfill the general requirements for the degree but prioritize certain courses. In order to graduate with the concentration, you must take 12 hours in rhetoric, writing and technology coursework, including the following:

  • ENGL 3850: Foundations in Rhetoric and Writing
    This course fulfills the rhetoric and argumentation area requirement at the 3000-level.

You will also choose at least three additional courses from the following:

  • ENGL 3760: Topics in Rhetorical Analysis
  • ENGL 3854: Teaching the Writing Life
  • ENGL 3860: Public Rhetoric
  • ENGL 3870: Technical Writing
  • ENGL 3890: Writing Consulting
  • ENGL 4000: Business and Professional Writing
  • ENGL 4010: New Media Writing
  • ENGL 4020: History of Rhetoric I: Classical Athens to 1700
  • ENGL 4030: History of Rhetoric II: 1701 to Present
  • ENGL 4040: Topics in Rhetoric
  • ENGL 4080: Advanced Creative Writing Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 4120: Language Studies: Special Topics
Research-Intensive English (English Honors)

Coordinator: Ruth Evans, Ph.D.

You can apply to our selective research-intensive English concentration during your sophomore or junior year. A maximum cohort of 12 English majors are admitted to the concentration each academic year, offering our students an opportunity to pursue literary and rhetorical studies in smaller, more rigorous settings.

To apply for the English honors concentration, you must have completed at least two semesters at SLU and have maintained a 3.5 GPA in English courses. Your application will be considered based upon the strength of a writing sample and your past performance in English courses.

The concentration requires that all research-intensive English students complete at least two research intensive English seminars. Research-intensive English seminars will be 4000-level English courses designated with a “Research-Intensive English” attribute. The final requirement of the research intensive English concentration must be fulfilled with one of the following options:

  1. Completion of ENGL 4990: Senior Honors Project after achieving senior status. ENGL 4990 is a research and writing requirement that students enter into individually, guided by a faculty mentor. The student must submit a formal project proposal with faculty mentor approval to the director of the research intensive English concentration the semester before enrolling in ENGL 4990.
  2. Completion of an additional 4000-level research intensive English seminar after achieving senior status.

All research-intensive English seminars automatically count as honors courses. You can be enrolled in both research-intensive English and the University Honors Program but you are not required to be in the University Honors Program to be accepted into the English honors program.

Senior Honors Project (ENGL 4990)
If you choose to complete ENGL 4990: Senior Honors Project, you will formally propose a senior honors project in the semester prior to writing the project, in consultation with a full-time member of the English department faculty. The project counts for the University Honors Program thesis requirement. You may choose to do a critical, creative or rhetorical project. 

Senior Honors Project Guidelines

Senior Honors Project Proposal Form

3+3 Accelerated English B.A/J.D

The English department is now offering a 3+3 accelerated program in partnership with the Saint Louis University School of Law. Eligible students can complete a B.A. in English and J.D. in six years. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

3+3 Accelerated English B.A/J.D. Informational Flyer

3+3 Accelerated English B.A./J.D. Application Form

English, B.A. to English, M.A. Accelerated Program

Saint Louis University’s combined English BA/MA program will allow English majors to begin MA coursework as part of their undergraduate degree in order to complete the MA program in one year. The accelerated program will provide a Master’s opportunity for majors who are interested in teaching in private schools or pursuing other professional careers. It will also provide an opportunity to finish the Master’s more efficiently before going on to a PhD program. 


Students wishing to apply to this ABM program should have completed at least 60 credit hours at the time of application. They must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in their overall transcript and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their English coursework. 
To apply, students must submit the following materials: 
• A 750-word professional goal statement (a more detailed description is available in the current catalogue’s overview of English MA admissions criteria) 
• A writing sample of approximately 10 pages 
• A current cv or resume 
• The names of at least three members of the English department faculty with whom the student has taken a 3xxx or 4xxx-level course. 

Continuation Standards

While students in the ABM program retain undergraduate status, the policies for continuation in the program will mirror those already in place for continuation in the bachelor’s program, except that they must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in both the major and overall transcript with no more than one grade of “C” or below and carry no more than one “I” incomplete grade or missing grade into a new semester. Students who drop below these standards while in the ABM program would be able to seek a one-semester probationary period before being dropped from the ABM program. Once formally becoming an MA student, the continuation standards of that program would apply. Students must also complete at least 12 graded credit hours per year until coursework requirements have been met. 

English Minors

English Minor

The English minor requires 18 credit hours. If you choose to minor in English, you will take the following courses:

  • One 2000-level or 3000-level English introductory course of your choice.
  • Three additional 3000-level courses from three of the four distribution areas: history and context, culture and critique, rhetoric and argument, or form and genre.
  • Two 4000-level English courses of your choosing.

English Minor Worksheet

Creative Writing Minor

The creative writing minor requires 18 credit hours, including nine credit hours in creative writing and nine credit hours in literature courses.

Introductory Course (three credit hours)
A 2000 or 3000-level English literature course of your choice will be used to fulfill this requirement. 

Creative Writing  (nine credit hours)
You will choose nine credit hours from the following:

  • ENGL 3040: Writing Literacy Narratives
  • ENGL 3050: Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENGL 3060: Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENGL 3070: Creative Writing: Drama
  • ENGL 3080: Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 3090: Creative Writing: Poetry and Translation
  • ENGL 3100: Topics in Creative Writing
  • ENGL 4050: Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENGL 4060: Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENGL 4070: Advanced Creative Writing: Drama
  • ENGL 4080: Advanced Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 4091: Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry and Translation
  • ENGL 4120: Language Studies: Special Topics

Literature Courses (six credit hours)
Six credit hours of courses in English literature at the 3000 or 4000 level are required. You are strongly encouraged to consult with the coordinator of creative writing about complementary course choices.

Creative Writing Minor Worksheet

Study in Madrid

Students who major in English at SLU are easily able to fit a semester or full year abroad on the University’s campus in Madrid, Spain into their plans of study.

Studying in Madrid is an especially attractive option for SLU English majors, as you will be able to take courses that satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences core requirements as well as courses in areas including English, film studies, Spanish, communication and international studies.

Dozens of other study abroad options are also available. Explore all the possibilities through SLU’s Study Abroad program.

Learning Outcomes

The Department of English has outlined the desired outcomes of the undergraduate program and its courses. 

Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes

Course Outcomes