The B.A. program in English Literature provides students with a solid foundation in the history and development of English and American literature, while also aiming to develop high-level skills of analysis, critical thinking, argumentation and self-expression.
First-year courses give students the essential tools for academic writing, research, and critical analysis of poetry and fiction, while also introducing them to the literary and intellectual backgrounds of English literature. Second-year surveys offer a systematic introduction to different historical periods of English and American literature, as well as to the work of William Shakespeare.
Seminars and electives focus on special topics and themes and demonstrate different approaches to the study of literature, whether classic or contemporary.
Electives are numbered in the 600-level range and can be taken starting in the secod year of studies.
The 400-level seminars (course number beginning with 4) are intended for second- and third-year students.
The 700-level seminars (course number beginning with 7) are for both undergraduate and graduate students, and they are open to B.A. students starting from their third year of studies.
Students with a high grade average can ask to register for graduate seminars (numbers in the 8xx range) with the permission of the instructor.
Students have a wide choice in B.A. tracks in English literature:
Expanded majorin English Literature – Except for Jewish studies, the student’s courses are all literature courses taken in the English Department. For more information, see the Expanded Major in English Literature page.
Major in English Literature – The student takes a substantial number of literature courses in the English Department, and can have also have a minor in another area of studies. For more information, see the Major in English Literature page.
"Major at your own pace" - New option for students whose jobs or other commitments leave them with less free time for taking classes. The requirements are the same as in the regular major, but they are taken over a five-year period, with fewer courses required each year. For more information, see the Five-Year Major in English Literature page.
Double major in English literature and English linguistics The student’s degree involves equal specialization in English literature and English linguistics. We call this a "planned" double major. For more information, see our double major page.
Double major in English literature and another field – The student’s degree involves equal specialization in English literature and in another area of studies. For more information, see our double major page.
In their third year of studies, students must write between one and three seminar papers. The seminar paper (about 15 pp.) is the chance to exercise all the skills you have learned during your first two years - literary analysis, argumentation, and research. The topic is to be decided on together with the course instructor.
The number of long papers you need to write in the English Department depends on your track (major, minor, etc). The office staff can help you figure out what your individual requirements are. You can choose which of the seminars (numbers in the 4xx and 7xx range) to write your long paper for. In your other seminars, you will be writing shorter assignments.
Seminars in Creative Writing and Literary Translation
B.A. students in English literature can choose to study creative writing and literary translation as part of their seminar work. We offer undergraduate creative writing workshop (450 or 451) and an advanced-undergraduate/graduate translation workshop (726). BA students can take no more than two of these courses in the course of their degree.
(1) Unlike in other seminars, there is no "short paper" option in these courses, which require all students to produce a portfolio of work;
(2) Work done in these seminars can only be counted as one of the seminar papers required for the degree;
(3) We offer another advanced-undergraduate/graduate translation course, 727, which is a regular literature seminar and is not included in this group. Students taking it will write a regular critical assignment as a final paper in addition to their translation work.
Key to Course Numbers
Three kinds of undergraduate courses are offered in the department; these can be distinguished by their course number:
Required introductory courses for 1st/2nd year students.
Advanced elective courses/seminars for 2nd year students and above.
Students may take these during their 3rd year only