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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Majoring in English

english department

The English major at Boston College offers a wide range of curricular choices while it helps you to develop fundamental skills in close reading, literary analysis, and critical thinking. As a major, you’ll become deeply familiar with some of the major developments in British, American and World literatures, choosing among courses that explore issues fundamental to the human condition through multiple periods, cultures, and approaches.

After you declare the major (by contacting Treseanne Ainsworth at you’ll be assigned a departmental faculty advisor, who will help you map out an academic program in line with your interests. You may also want to pursue a concentration within the major (such as American or Irish Studies), apply to the intensive Creative Writing Concentration, or pursue Honors as a senior.

The major ordinarily consists of 30 credits (10 courses) beyond FWS and Literature Core.


  • 1 semester of Studies in Poetry (ENGL 2131)
  • 1 semester of Studies in Narrative (ENGL 2133)
  • 1 semester of medieval or early modern literature (before 1700)*
  • 1 semester of eighteenth or nineteenth century literature*
  • 1 additional course in EITHER medieval/early modern or 18th/19th century literature*
  • 5 electives

*fulfilled by courses in either British or American literature

English majors can receive credit for up to two courses (electives or distribution requirements) for each semester of study abroad in an approved program. Courses need to be approved by the Assistant to the Chair, Treseanne Ainsworth. E-mail for an appointment: Requirements ordinarily include detailed course descriptions or syllabi, a minimum of 11 pages of writing, and coursework based on textual analysis, either in English or the language of the host country.

Summer courses or evening courses taken through the Woods College of Advancing Studies do not count for Core credit or credit towards the major.