The English Major

Welcome to the Major Requirements and Advising page. You can learn more about the major, including degree requirements, by exploring the links below.

  1. Important Announcements
  2. Why Major in English?
  3. Degree Requirements: The English Major
  4. Degree Requirements: The Old English Major (1995-2015)
  5. Course Planning Documents
  6. Advising
  7. Other Forms and Resources

Important Announcements 

Resources for UO Students during COVID-19

ENG Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 P/NP policy. For the Spring term 2020 students can change their grading option for a course until July 16, for the Summer term until October 16, and for Fall term 2020 until December 2, 2020. Changing to P/NP will not count against the limit of 12 credits of P/NP and 168 required graded credits. For this term a special P* grade will be assigned. In response the English department is changing policies for English majors as well. 

  • English majors can take classes for the major P/NP and the P* grade will count for the English major. A C- or better is the minimum grade to count as P* for ENG major credit. 
  • If you have a C- in an ENG course, you must apply for the P* grade to have it count toward the ENG major.
  • To take advantage of the Summer and  Fall 2020 P/NP policy, be sure to complete the Grade Option Change Request Fall 2020 form available on the Registrar’s website here: read through this webpage thoroughly.

Contact your ENG advisor if you have any questions or concerns.

Notice about the Foundations Courses

For academic year 2020-21 the Foundations of the English Major series has been revised. Students must complete only two of the three courses: ENG 303, and either 304 or 305. Two faculty members, rather than three, are now teaching the courses, and only two of the series of three courses will be offered each academic year. ENG 304 and 305 will be taught in alternate years with 304 in Winter 2021. As a result of this change, only 40 upper-division credits will be required to complete the major (although for most students the required writing course will bring the total to 44). These changes apply to all English majors as of Fall 2020. Therefore, students who have already completed all three Foundations courses can count ENG 305 to satisfy area D, Theory and/or Rhetoric, or use the third class as an upper-division elective.

As before, ENG 205 is the co-requisite/pre-requisite for the Foundations series.

There are some English majors who have completed one or two courses in the old Introduction to the Major series, ENG 220-222. Those students can take any one or two courses in the new series, ENG 303-305, to make three total.




English is ideal for students who want to be creative, hone their critical thinking, and become versatile writers.

The major exposes students to centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. Because of our distinctive offerings in rhetoric, environmental humanities, comics studies, medical humanities, disability studies, digital humanities, and the study of race and ethnicity, the major allows students to focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, all while receiving extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.

These skills provide vital preparation for business and professional careers, as well as for further academic work or artistic endeavors. The experience of our graduates has proven that English is an excellent background for fields like law, medicine, teaching, management, publishing, advertising, and information technology.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with our advising team.


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    Degree Requirements: The English Major

    Beginning in 2020-21 the English major consists of 56 credit hours divided among:

    • lower-division courses that increase your understanding of literary genres and histories
    • a writing requirement where you can deepen your understanding of grammar and style while increasing your rhetorical versatility
    • Foundations courses that offer you tools and methods for critical analysis
    • upper-division requirements and electives where you will explore a wide range of texts and cultural artifacts to increase your moral and aesthetic sensitivity

    LOWER-DIVISION REQUIREMENT (16 credit hours)

    • Two courses in genre: ENG 205 Genre (8 credit hours)
    • Two lower-division electives (8 credit hours)
      • In some terms, ENG 199: Special Studies, will count in this category.
      • Only one Introduction to Literature course (ENG 104, 105, 106) can be used for lower-division electives.
      • Folklore (FLR) courses count when taught by English department faculty. See the annual Undergraduate Major Advising Supplement below.
      • Select courses in the Clark Honors College (HC 221H, 222H, and 223H) and the Humanities program (HUM 101, 102, and 103) can count as lower-division electives.


    You must take ENG 303, and 304 or 305. ENG 304 and 305 will be taught in alternate years.

    • ENG 303: Text (Fall term) 
    • ENG 304: Context
    • ENG 305: Theory

    WRITING REQUIREMENT (4 credit hours)

    • One of the following courses:
      • ENG 209: The Craft of the Sentence
      • ENG 420: The Art of the Sentence
      • WR 320: Scientific and Technical Writing
      • WR 321: Business Communication
      • WR 423: Advanced Composition


    Additional upper-division coursework must total a minimum of 32 credit hours. A minimum of 28 of the upper-division requirements must be taken at the University of Oregon.

    You must take at least one class in each of the following categories:

    1. Literature, Pre-1500
    2. Literature, 1500-1789
    3. Literature, 1789-Present
    4. Theory and/or Rhetoric
    5. Media, Folklore, and/or Culture
    6. Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexualities
    7. Empire, Race, and/or Ethnicity
    Note: In addition to select courses that automatically satisfy requirements in two areas, during any given term other courses may also fulfill two requirements at once. See the English Major Advising Supplement for information about particular offerings and categories.


    Additional upper-division work may be needed to fulfill the minimum of 32 credit hours required for the major. You may use a maximum of 8 credit hours in ENG 401, 402, 405, 408, and/or WR 408. Electives may include any of the upper-division courses listed above in areas A-G as well as any others listed in the Advising Supplement.

    Planning Note: If the upper-division requirements have all been satisfied with 4-credit courses, only 4 credits would be required in this area. Ifyou double-dip two courses, 8 credits would be required.

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    Degree Requirements: The Old English Major (1995-2015)

    If you declared the major before summer 2016, and took English courses now discontinued, such as ENG 220-221-222, contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Prof. Gordon Sayre, for advising on completing the major.


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    Course Planning Documents

    Below are advising documents that will help you plan your major coursework.

    The annual Undergraduate Advising Supplement lists all courses offered in a particular year and what categories they satisfy. The English Major Worksheet contains a chart that will help you map out which categories you have finished and which ones you still need to fulfill.

    Please refer to these advising documents for the English Major:



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    Interested in learning more about becoming an English major? Need help planning your courses? Advisors in the English Department can help. Please get in touch with the following people:

    For additional information about advising, contact Karen McClain, Undergraduate Clerk: 118 PLC, (541) 346-1500.

    IMPORTANT: All declared English majors are enrolled in the Canvas “English Department Information Site for Undergraduate Majors.” Please check this site frequently for timely announcements, course schedule information and events of interest to English majors. Click here to link to the UO Canvas login page.



    The Tykeson College and Career Advising in Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall is UO's new advising center, located on 13th Avenue, between Johnson and Chapman Halls. At Tykeson Hall, you can work with professional College and Career Advisors who can help you explore your interests, schedule your classes, plan for graduation, discuss career interests, and more.

    You can schedule appointment with our Tykeson College and Career Advising team via the EAB Navigate app available in the App Store or Google Play. Please visit the Office of Academic Advising's website for information about appointment and hours of operation.

    Tykeson College and Career Advising is the academic and career advising destination for all students who:

    • Have not yet declared a major, referred to as exploring students
    • Are declared majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • Are considering another major or exploring other majors
    • Want to explore career options and opportunities

    Students with declared majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences should also continue to seek advice from faculty when they are looking for specific information about their chosen major or detailed information about their major department and its curricular and co-curricular offerings.




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    Other Forms and Resources



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