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Department of English Language and Literature


An open copy of the novel "The Baroque Cycle" by Neal Stephenson.

Explore Our Majors

We have 4 different major tracks to choose from in English, designed for your interests and career plans.

General Major (BA)

The General Major

Interested in exploring rich literary traditions, from William Shakespeare to Toni Morrison, or in investigating cultural forms as diverse as comic books and digital writing? All while sharpening your skills in critical analysis and writing? The General Major offers our widest selection of courses, allowing you the flexibility to tailor a program of study to your interests and career plans. The General Major is also a good choice to pair with a second major or minor.

Literature Core (5 courses):

  • Choose 2 courses in literature before 1800
  • Choose 3 courses in literature from 1800 to today

Add (5 courses):

  • Choose any 5 additional ENGL courses numbered 300 or above—from offerings in literature, creative writing, professional writing and rhetoric, film and media, and linguistics
  • At least 1 course will be a linguistics course (ENGL 370, 389 or 450-456); this course can be part of the Carolina Core, your major courses, or minor, cognate, or electives

Click here for the Checklist for the General Major

Click here for details on the General Major in the USC Bulletin

Writing Concentration Major (BA)

The Writing Concentration Major

Interested in creative writing, professional writing, editing, digital literacy, or public relations? This track lets you concentrate on a specific genre—fiction or poetry, say—or gain broad experience in a range of forms, including fiction, poetry, non-fiction, professional, and digital writing. The Writing Concentration Major is a good choice to pair with a second major or minor.

Literature Core (4 courses):

  • Choose 2 courses in literature before 1800
  • Choose 2 courses in literature from 1800 to today

Add (6 courses):

  • Creative Writing – ENGL 360
  • Introduction to Rhetoric – ENGL 387
  • Choose 3 writing workshops and/or rhetoric courses
  • Choose 1 additional ENGL course numbered 300 or above—from offerings in creative writing, professional writing and rhetoric, literature, film and media, and linguistics

Click here for the Checklist for the Writing Concentration Major

Click here for details on the General Major in the USC Bulletin

Secondary Education Major (BA with MT option)

Thinking about teaching at the secondary school level? This program enables you to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English geared toward meeting undergraduate course requirements for secondary education certification in most states. The major leads directly into the College of Education’s Master of Teaching in Secondary Education (MT) and is part of its accelerated degree program, which allows you to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. The use of dual credit (courses that can be used toward both degrees) enables acceleration of the program, reducing your total enrollment time by one semester.

Literature Core (3 courses):

  • Choose 1 course in literature before 1800
  • Choose 2 courses in literature from 1800 to today

Certification requirements (8 courses):

  • English Grammar – ENGL 450
  • 1 course in the English language: ENGL 389 or ENGL 453
  • 1 course in theory and criticism – ENGL 388, 440 or 449
  • 1 course in African-American literature: ENGL 428a or 428b
  • Young Adult Literature – ENGL 432
  • Women Writers – ENGL 437
  • Advanced Writing – ENGL 460
  • The Teaching of Writing – ENGL 461

Add (2 courses):

  • Choose any 2 additional ENGL course numbered 300 or above—from offerings in writing, rhetoric, literature, film and media, and more

Plus an education component (5 courses, in place of a cognate or minor):

  • Schools in Communities – EDFI 300
  • Learners and the Diversity of Learning – EDPY 401
  • Teachers and Teaching – EDSE 302
  • Equity and Community Engagement – EDSE 500
  • Teaching Middle and High School (English) – EDSE 547

Click here for the Checklist for the Secondary Education Major

Click here for details on the Secondary Ed BA+MT at the College of Education and in the USC Bulletin

Intensive Major (BA)

The Intensive Major

If you’re considering graduate school or just wanting to take more of the English classes you love, this is an ideal option. The Intensive Major track requires a methods course and a thesis, which lets you work closely with a professor in your chosen area.

Literature Core (7 courses):

  • Choose 3 courses in literature before 1800
  • Choose 4 courses in literature from 1800 to today

Methods (1 course):

  • 1 course in theory and criticism – ENGL 388 or ENGL 440

Senior Thesis or ENGL 490 (1 course)

Add (4 courses):

  • Choose any 4 additional ENGL courses numbered 300 or above—from offerings in literature, creative writing, professional writing and rhetoric, film and media, and linguistics
  • At least 1 course will be a linguistics course (ENGL 370, 389 or 450-456); this course can be part of the Carolina Core, your major courses, or minor, cognate, or electives.

Click here for the Checklist for the Intensive Major

Click here for details on the General Major in the USC Bulletin

All four tracks lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and each one:

  • requires 2 prerequisites, which can be used to satisfy general education requirements (ENGL 287 and ENGL 288, introductory courses in American and English Literature)

  • gives you experience with a range of literary and cultural traditions (American, English, and global) alongside more specialized training in writing, critical analysis, and creative work, depending on your concentration

  • lets you choose from a wide array of courses, award-winning faculty, and small classes

With any of these majors, you can earn a degree with “Distinction in English”:

Undergraduate Research Track (BA with Distinction)

The BA with Distinction can be earned with any of the four major tracks. It requires:

  • Overall GPA of 3.30 or higher and a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major
  • Senior Thesis (may be the same thesis submitted for the Intensive Major or Honors College in English)
  • Submission of the distinction intent form to the English undergraduate office at the beginning of the semester in which you write your thesis
  • Public presentation of thesis in an approved venue (e.g., USC Discovery Day, INK! conference, scholarly publication)

Click here for details on the English BA with Distinction in the USC Bulletin

In any major you can also earn a degree “With Leadership Distinction”:

Graduation with Leadership Distinction

The Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) lets you develop, and demonstrate (to future employers, graduate programs, etc.), purposeful engagement beyond the classroom. Students choose one or more of several GLD pathways: Community Service, Diversity and Social Advocacy, Global Learning, Professional & Civic Engagement and Research.

  • for details on pathways and requirements, visit GLD online