English Major Requirements

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)

In addition to demonstrating foreign language proficiency in at least one classical or modern foreign language, the English major requires students complete general courses in the humanities and social science, a required course in literary study (AS.060.107 Introduction to Literary Study), and nine additional English courses, of which at least two must be literature before 1800 and one must be in global and minority literature. Within the nine additional English courses, at least two and no more than four courses must be designated as lecture courses. Students may identify lecture courses by the presence of the POS-Tag ENGL-LEC in a course description in the schedule of classes. Pre-1800 literature courses are identified by the POS-Tag ENGL-PR1800, and Global and Minority Literature courses are identified by the POS-Tag ENGL-GLOBAL. Additional details include:

  • Only two courses towards the nine required English courses (all at least 3 credits each) for the major may be taken outside of the department and those must be cross-listed with the English department. All other English courses must be numbered AS.060.xxx.
  • Only two independent studies or senior essay courses may apply towards the major.
  • Languages taught at JHU that will apply towards the foreign language requirement currently include: Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish. American Sign Language is not accepted.  
  • Courses taken at another institution that are not directly equivalent to a JHU course may not apply towards this requirement without permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Typically, up to two courses taken through approved study abroad programs may be applied towards the major with approval of the director of undergraduate studies.
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all major requirements and courses may not be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Two 100 or 200 level courses in the humanities or social sciences (courses with H and/or S area designators) *6
Foreign language proficiency through the intermediate level0-17
AS.060.107Introduction to Literary Study **3
Nine Additional English Courses (divided as follows): ***
One course in Global and Minority Literatures (POS-Tag ENGL-GLOBAL) ****3
Two course in Pre-1800 Literature (POS-Tag ENGL-PR1800)6
Six 200 to 400-level English courses18
Total Credits36-53

Foreign language courses and additional courses in English (AS.060) may not be used for this requirement.


Should be taken no later than sophomore year.


Students are required to take at least two lecture courses and up to four lecture courses may apply towards this requirement.  


One of the three subfield courses (ENGL-PR1800 or ENGL-GLOBAL) must be a non-lecture course.

Sample Program of Study

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Intro Course in Humanities or Social Sciences3AS.060.1073
Intro Course in Humanities or Social Sciences3English Elective at 200-level (ENGL-LEC)3
 6 6
Second Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Foreign language4Foreign language4
Global and Minority Literature Course at 200-level3English Elective at 300-level3
 7 7
Third Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Foreign language3Foreign Language3
Pre-1800 Course at 300-level3English Elective at 300-level3
English Elective at 200-level (ENGL-LEC)3 
 9 6
Fourth Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
English Elective at 300-level3Pre-1800 Course at 200- or 300-level3
English Elective at 300-level3 
 6 3
Total Credits 50

Advising for Students

All students, whether their goals are professional or not, should choose courses in consultation with their major advisor to suit their individual needs and satisfy departmental requirements. Students planning to enter graduate school in English should study a second foreign language. Students who have not yet been assigned to a major advisor may discuss departmental requirements and curriculum planning with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Honors in English

Departmental honors are awarded to undergraduate English majors who achieve a cumulative average of 3.6 or higher for all English courses taken to satisfy the major requirements. For more information about Honors in English, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English.

Senior Essay Option

Majors with a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.6 in English courses by the end of the fall semester of their junior year may apply to write a senior essay in the fall of their senior year. For further information and deadlines, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English.