Learn more about obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in English by clicking on one of the links below to learn more about a particular area of concentration.
Want to Minor in English? We offer nine options to choose from.
Concentration in English Studies -- In rare cases, students may be allowed to establish individualized concentrations if they create a coherent plan for study leading to a specific career or graduate studies. See the undergraduate advising guide for more information.
All English majors must complete at least 15 hours in English at the 300 - 400 level.
Each concentration begins with one or more gateway courses that could also be used to fill distribution requirements in other concentrations. Students could thus choose to take more than one gateway before deciding on a concentration.
In rare cases, students may be allowed to establish individualized concentrations if they create a coherent plan for study leading to a specific career or graduate studies. See the undergraduate advising guide for more information.
All majors take a Capstone Course or a senior seminar in their concentration in their final year of study.
Any questions about your courses should be directed to your advisor. For more information about advising within the English Department, see the Advising section or download the Undergraduate Advising Guide.
The English Department encourages students to pursue a minor in one of nine areas:
Visit our Minors section for more information.
The English Department offers several options for a graduate degree or graduate certificate:
Visit our Graduate Program section for more information.
The adventure of English: each concentration in English develops IUPUI's Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs) in specific ways. What's below offers you, we hope, a sense of English at work and at play, often both at the same time.
You're probably here because you like to read, write, watch, and discuss. English courses give you credits for doing these activities.
All English courses require students
describe, analyze, and interpret literary texts, films, and linguistic data
Many courses require oral presentations, and all except on-line courses require oral class participation.
English courses help students toward the first requirement of educated citizenry, identifying their values and expectations. Questions such as Should "Deaf" be capitalized? What makes a good film? What does "fiction" mean? Does art have to be at least three pages long? may be studied and explored.
Rhetoric, the art of persuading an audience (1 above), depends on knowing a targeted audience's range of perspectives and expectations. Learning to identify, consider, and work with these is the second requirement of an educated citizenry. English courses make conscious a process that most people unconsciously engage in all the time: it's a rare and foolish teenager who speaks to grandparents and friends with the same vocabulary.
These qualities are an application of #2 above. Each English concentration trains students to know the varied perspectives from which writers, informed readers or viewers, and linguists understand particular communications ranging from spoken/written/signed language to films.
Students using the perspectives acquire concentration-specific knowledge: Has the English language always had "he" and "she"? How did films change when "talkies" came in? What did the first English-speaking, American woman poet write about?
Because of critical thinking (2), students will go beyond knowing facts to understanding the contexts that produce them: is the glass half empty? Is the glass half full? What's in that glass? What plays use poisoned drinks? What poems celebrate red wine? When did "glass" come in to the English language? How many different meanings does "glass" have?
The accomplished English major will understand where the English concentrations agree, and where they diverge. The accomplished graduate will also know how historians, economists, anthropologists, chemists, and others understand these same communications-and why: who made the glass? What for? Who owns it? Who wrote the book on glass blowing, and when? What compounds make up the liquid in the glass?
Integration is the exciting realization that material you've learned in one course connects to materials in other courses. Have you ever noticed how the appearance of an image changes when you change the color of the frame? That happens with the books, poems, films, and language examined in English courses too. To help you integrate your knowledge, courses in English often offer materials and perspectives from multiple perspectives-to name just a few, history, Women's Studies, Africana Studies, and American Studies.
What does a protest novel protest? Have migrant workers' lives and work changed significantly since John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath?
How and when do environmental issues appear in American films? How do the films ask viewers to behave after the film is finished? Is Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth a work of art, a lecture, or both?
If the "melting pot" used to be the metaphor for America, is "salad bowl" now a better metaphor? What is a melting pot, anyway?
Why is poetry often the first genre for immigrant literatures?
Why is autobiography so important to African American literature?
Three main issues here: how did you get to be you, how did other people get to be themselves, and how can we best live and communicate with each other?. Children are born female and male, but they are socialized into women and men. Also into being Bangladeshi or South African, etc. Also into the working class, middle class, or upper class. Also racial beings in societies that highlight race. To understand ourselves as social beings, we need to read books and watch films about our own experiences and the historical forces that shaped our language and society. To understand others as social beings, we need to read and watch films about experiences that we will never have.
On an individual level: is it polite or rude to look directly at someone you're talking to? How do you accept a gift respectfully ? Are white flowers good for celebration, or are they associated with death? How do you address an elder?
On a social level: whose work makes what I like to wear or use? How does my work affect others?
We can't respect a culture that we don't know. We need to read, watch, analyze, act.
Also "aesthetics," what we define and experience as "beauty."
1 -5 come together here. The words we speak in everyday conversation show what we value-and what we don't. Literature and film highlight parts of experience, challenge us to examine their materials and our own values, particularly as we discuss them in diverse groups. What is the most important betrayal in The Kite Runner? Can it ever be put right?
These questions don't end with graduation. How will you use your knowledge about language, books, films for your own enjoyment after graduation? How will you use your knowledge to work, and why? How will you keep your intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic development an ongoing process?
If you exit four or more years of college study thinking all the same thoughts that you did on entering, both you and the educational process have failed. But that's also true for the four years after graduation, and the four years after that . . . Being an English major is a life sentence. Examining and adjusting our values in light of new experience, particularly through reading and writing, is what we do. And we're glad to have you as a lifetime member.