Program Requirements and Information
Concentration Program in Literature
Passing grades in a minimum of eight departmental courses, with a concentration GPA of 2.0 averaged over all courses taken in the department. Students are strongly encouraged to elect more than the required minimum of eight courses and to support their studies in English with appropriate courses in art, music, history, the literatures of other languages, and the Classics. The minimum of eight courses must include the following:
1. Two courses at the 200 level, one from each of two of the following groups of courses: Introductions to Literary Study, Literary Forms and Genres, and Surveys of Literature in English. (English 217 and Introductory Theater courses do not fulfill this requirement, with the exception of English 266 which does count toward the 200-level requirement.)
2. Four courses at the 300 and 400 level, one of which must be a 400-level seminar in literature. (ENGL 477, 490, and 491 do not meet the seminar requirement.) Among the courses taken at the 300 and 400 level must be two courses in literature before 1800 and two courses in literature after 1800. Only one of the courses meeting the pre-1800 requirement may be ENGL 321 or 322.
Minor Concentration in Literature
Passing grades in six departmental courses, with a GPA of 2.0 averaged over all courses taken in the department. The minimum of six courses must include the following:
1. One course at the 200 level, selected from one of the following groups of courses: Introductions to Literary Study, Literary Forms and Genres, or Surveys of Literature in English.
2. Three courses at the 300 and 400 level, including one course in literature before 1800 and one course in literature after 1800.
Concentration with an Emphasis in Creative Writing
English concentrators may pursue a ten-course sequence leading to a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. They must receive passing grades in all courses counted for this concentration, with a GPA of 2.0 averaged over all courses taken in the department. The minimum of ten courses must include the following:
1. Two courses at the 200 level, one from each of two of the following groups of courses: Introductions to Literary Study, Literary Forms and Genres, and Surveys of Literature in English.
2. Three workshop courses, two of them chosen from among the following: ENGL 217 (which also may be used to fulfill part of the requirement for courses at the 200 level), 356, 374, 377, or 378. The other workshop course must be either 477 or 491, Independent Study: Creative Writing. For independent study, the invitation of the instructor is necessary.
3. Four courses in literature at the 300 and 400 level, including a 400-level seminar. Courses taken at the 300 and 400 level must include at least two courses in literature before 1800 and at least two courses in literature after 1800.
Students interested in the concentration with an emphasis in creative writing should talk with the department chair or with a member of the department who teaches the writing workshops in order to plan an appropriate program of study.
Minor Concentration in Creative Writing
Passing grades in a minimum of five courses, with a minimum GPA of 2.0 averaged over all courses counted for this minor concentration. The minimum of five courses must include the following:
1. Three workshop courses chosen from among the following: ENGL 217, 356, 374, 377, 378, 477, or 491, Independent Study: Creative Writing. For independent study, the invitation of the instructor is necessary.
2. Two literature courses, one of which must be at the 400 level. These literature courses may be chosen from English offerings at the 300 and 400 level and from approved literature-in-translation courses.
Students interested in the minor concentration in creative writing should talk with a member of the department who teaches the writing workshops in order to plan an appropriate program of study.
Concentration in Theater
A minimum grade of C in all courses counted toward the theater concentration; the minimum of eight courses must include the following:
1. Two courses in the literature of theater, normally ENGL 266 and 267 (formerly 226 and 227). With permission of the director of the program, ENGL 211, 321, or 322 may be substituted for 266.
2. Two courses in craft, ENGL 250 and 254. These are ordinarily taken in the first two years of a student’s program.
3. A 400-level course, either ENGL 454 or 455, although concentrators are advised to take both.
4. Three additional full-credit courses (or full-credit equivalents) from a list of approved electives in the Theater Program, the English Department, or from among drama courses in other languages — Greek, Latin, German, French, Spanish. English electives include ENGL 211, 252, 253, 257/357, 259, 321, 322, 332, 349, 350, 352, 354, 355, 356, 359, 454, 455, and 490 or 491 (independent studies) if supervised by a faculty member in the Theater Program. With the permission of the student’s adviser and the director of the program, courses in art and art history (ARTS 327, 221, and 322) and selected courses in dance, music, English non-dramatic literature or creative writing, or philosophy and religion may count as cognate courses toward a concentration in theater, each cognate course counting for one-half credit toward concentration.
5. A total of 40 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses taken. No more than 20 hours may be completed in a single semester. These hours are done in support of the University Theater Program.
Minor Concentration in Theater
A minimum grade of C in all courses counted toward the theater minor concentration, which must include five courses or their equivalent in the categories below:
1. ENGL 266 (formerly 226) or 267 (formerly 227), 250, and 254.
2. Two or more full-credit courses (or full-credit equivalents) from the required, elective, or cognate courses listed above in the description of the theater concentration.
3. A total of 20 hours of backstage or technical work beyond what is required in any theater courses taken. These hours are done in support of the University Theater Program.
Honors and High Honors
Students with an average of 3.5 in English Department courses are eligible to apply to pursue an honors project. This is normally done in the fall term of a student’s senior year, although students occasionally begin this process during the spring term of their junior year. An informational meeting is held in early September to discuss, in general, the department’s expectations for honors, the honors process, and significant deadlines. However, the privilege to work toward honors is granted at the discretion of individual faculty and involves a multi-step process, as outlined below.
First, the student selects a topic, which customarily emerges from a paper prepared in a 300- or 400-level course. Then the student must submit a formal, written prospectus with a short reading list, which is approved by the faculty supervisor and the director of the honors program. (In some cases the faculty supervisor may engage a second faculty reader. In this instance, both faculty members and the director of honors must approve the prospectus.) The deadline for submission of the prospectus is normally in mid-October.
Second, the student enrolls in ENGL 490 — an honors seminar — during the spring term of the senior year. The seminar must be taken in addition to the required 400-level seminar and to the minimum eight courses required for the concentration. Also, ENGL 490 is considered to be a formal course, and must be completed successfully in order for the student to remain in the honors program. ENGL 490 is designed to work in tandem with the writing of the thesis. Among other things, students write drafts of the thesis and share them both with their thesis supervisor(s) and with students in the honors seminar.
During the final stage of honors work, the student submits a completed version of the thesis on a date specified by the department. If the thesis is provisionally approved by the supervisor, the student then discusses the thesis at an oral presentation normally scheduled during finals week. The quality of the project, as judged by the work completed in both the honors seminar and the completed paper, determines whether the student receives honors or not.
If the project passes approval, the student receives a grade in ENGL 490 and is awarded a degree with honors, depending upon the student’s final departmental GPA. A degree in English with honors is conferred upon a student who has maintained at least a 3.5 average in departmental courses. Students whose departmental average is 3.7 or higher are awarded degrees in English with high honors. If a student withdraws from the program, or the written paper is judged unworthy of honors, then ENGL 490 is converted to ENGL 491, Independent Study, and a grade is assigned by the thesis supervisor.
Students with further questions should contact the director of honors in the English Department.
Allen Prizes in English Composition
— established by the Rev. Dr. George K. Allen, a member of the class of 1870,
in memory of his wife, Hattie Boyd Allen — two prizes in English composition.
Phillip K. Dorn Memorial Prize —
established in memory of Phillip K. Dorn by Norstar Trust Company. The award is
given to a graduating senior English concentrator who is distinguished in the
study of English and who plans, on graduation, to pursue further professional
training or begin a career in medicine, business, finance, or law. When
possible, the award is given to a student with an interest in poetry.
Jonathan H. Kistler Memorial Curricular Innovation Fund in English
— established in 1996 by Harry F. Lee ’57 to support and nurture new
curricular and pedagogical ideas within the English Department.
Lasher Prize — established as an
award to a member of the junior class in recognition of outstanding talent.
Lasher Prize for Distinction in English Composition
— established by the Rev. Dr. George W. Lasher, a member of the class of 1857,
and awarded for distinction in the various types of writing.
Howard W. and Anne T. Pike Memorial Prize
— established in 1993 by William R. and Gloria Pike in memory of Howard W. and
Anne T. Pike. Awarded annually to a graduating senior for outstanding
achievement and contribution to the University Theater Program.
Scott Saunders Prize for Excellence in Literature
— established in memory of Scott Saunders ’89, and awarded annually to a
senior concentrator in English who participated in the Colgate English
Department study group to London, in recognition of work done in London which is
distinguished in its own right or which contributed to the completion of a
The department does not accept Advanced Placement credits toward the concentration requirements.
No more than two courses may be transferred for concentration credit. Transferred courses must conform in content to departmental offerings and have the approval of the department chair. Students wanting concentration credit for courses offered at other institutions should consult their advisors and the Transfer Credit Advisor, Professor Constance Harsh, before enrolling in the courses.
For minor concentrators, no more than one course may be transferred for minor concentration credit. That course must conform to the same standards of courses transferred for concentration credit.
See checklist for students seeking transfer credit in English.
M.A.T. and M.A. Degrees in English
The Masters of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in English is awarded by Colgate under the program described above under teaching certification. While the English Department is authorized by the State of New York to confer the master’s degree, the department will do so only under the special circumstances of a candidate’s application to work with particular members of the faculty.