English Major

For a 30-credit major in English, students complete the following:

Select five courses in English literature, including:15
No more than one 1000-level literature course
At least one 3000-level literature course
At least two courses on literature before 1800 1
At least one course on literature after 1800 1
A 5-course English Concentration selected from the list below15
Total Credits30

The historical period of a course is listed in the catalog using the attributes E_BF (before 1800) and E_AF (after 1800).

There are many different ways to pursue an English major, based on students' interests and career goals.

  1. All students entering Fairfield University in Fall 2019 or later must complete ENGL 1001. All of the English major requirements are in addition to ENGL 1001.
  2. All English majors must complete the department core curriculum of five English literature classes. The five English literature courses may include the one 1000-level literature course required by the core curriculum, but the remaining four must be at the 2000 or 3000 level.
  3. All English majors must complete a concentration of five additional courses. Students select the concentration in consultation with their department academic advisor.

After completing ENGL 1001, most majors begin the program by taking a 1000-level literature class that also counts as their final English core course. With instructor permission, they may take a 2000-level literature course instead of the 1000-level.


All English majors must select one of the Department's five concentrations. The concentration is in addition to the university core and department core courses. The concentrations are:

Concentration in Literature

The Literature concentration is designed for students interested in an immersive study of literature and culture past and present. It offers a rich reading experience in important and influential works of fiction, poetry, drama, film and non-fiction as well as training in persuasive writing and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of art and culture  Students learn to interpret texts within the social and historical contexts of their production and reception, to connect the past vividly to the present, and to write persuasively. In doing so, they  learn and contribute to the major ideas that have shaped our world, our communities, and our selves. Literature Concentration alums have secured employment in a wide-array of dynamic careers including, but not limited to, communications, law, marketing, teaching, biotech, finance, public relations, technology, publishing, and politics.

Introductory Courses
ENGL 3051Literary Theory3
or ENGL 3052 Cultural Studies Theory
Specialized Courses
Select one English Literature course at the 2000 or 3000 level3
Select one English Writing course3
Select one English literature course cross-listed with an Interdisciplinary Program 13
Capstone Experience
ENGL 4999Literature Capstone3
Total Credits15

This includes the Program on the Environment, Peace and Justice Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Irish Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, etc.

Concentration in Creative Writing

The Creative Writing concentration seeks to develop writers in various genres, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and drama, as well as writers who wish to express themselves in more than one genre. The concentration is both rigorous and flexible to student needs, by offering a wide variety of classes in various genres and at various levels, and by allowing students to follow their own interests. In addition to preparing students to write creatively, the Concentration also prepares students to go into the field of publishing and editing by offering a sequence of publishing classes. In conjunction with publishing, students may elect to work on our national literary magazine, Dogwood.

Introductory Courses
Select two courses from the following:6
Creative Writing
Creative Writing: Poetry I
Creative Writing: Drama
Creative Writing: Fiction I
Creative Writing: Nonfiction I
Intermediate Courses
Select at least one course from the following:3
Creative Writing: Poetry II
Creative Writing: Fiction II
Creative Writing: Nonfiction II
Specialized Courses
Select at least one course from the following: 23
Themes in Creative Writing
World of Publishing
Special Topics (Shell)
Publishing Practicum
Capstone Experience
Select at least one course from the following:3
Advanced Portfolio Workshop
Independent Writing Project
Total Credits15

If the desired Advanced course is not available, students may substitute a third Introductory Course with permission of the Creative Writing Coordinator.

Concentration in English Studies

The concentration in English Studies provides students with special interests the opportunity to create a customized program of studies across literary genres, various writing concentrations and literacy studies in consultation with their adviser. Students might put together a coherent package of literature courses of their own choosing, mix and match writing courses in different concentrations, or combine relevant literature and writing course work. All department core requirements must still be met; at least one course must be in writing (other than Internship or Independent Study).

Select four courses in consultation with the concentration advisor12
Select at least one course from the following:3
Independent Writing Project
Independent Study
Literature Capstone
Total Credits15

Concentration in Professional Writing

The professional writing concentration is designed for students who want to strengthen their writing and speaking skills as preparation for a wide variety of careers, including those in business, the non-profit sector, legal studies, government, public relations, fundraising, politics, or education. The Professional Writing Concentration also helps prepare students for graduate study. Courses in this concentration focus on using writing, rhetoric, and communication to make information accessible, usable, relevant, and persuasive to a variety of audiences. Students develop advanced writing/composing skills using a wide variety of media, for a wide variety of disciplines and digital environments. Internships are available to students in the professional writing concentration, including placements in corporate communication, grant writing, advertising, marketing, technical writing, and the mass media.

Introductory Course
ENGL 1832Business Writing3
Specialized Courses
Select at least two of the following:6
Journalism Editing and Design
Technical Writing
Grant and Proposal Writing
Professional Presentations: Writing and Delivery
Rhetorics that Matter: Personal, Public, Political
Teaching and Learning Grammar
Writing and Responding
Rhetorics of Resistance
Queer Rhetorics and Theories
Feminist Rhetorics
Persuasive Writing
Issues in Professional Writing
Capstone Experience
ENGL 4980Internship3
Select one additional English Writing course3
Total Credits15

Concentration in Teacher Education

This concentration is designed both for students who plan to enroll in the 5-Year BA/MA program in teacher education at Fairfield University and for students who seek other teaching positions, such as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant or a Teach for America Fellow. It prepares students with content knowledge needed for the Praxis exam, student teaching, and a career in teaching. Qualified students who minor or major in the Teacher Education concentration in the English Department are given preferred admission status in graduate programs in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Special Education in the School of Education and Human Development.
As part of their five required courses in literature, students in the Teacher Education concentration should select at least one course on Shakespeare (ENGL1410, 2013, or 2014). 

ENGL 2220Teaching/Writing3
ENGL 2230Teaching and Learning Grammar 33
Students should select 3 additional courses chosen in consultation with their advisor. 9
Total Credits15


Students who enroll in the five-year BA/MA program at Fairfield University satisfy their capstone requirement through student teaching at the end of the MA program.  Students who do not enroll in the five-year program take at least one of the following: ENGL 4960ENGL 4980ENGL 4990 or ENGL 4999 (if pre-requisites are met).