English (B.A.)

English (B.A.)
English students in class

What is English?

You love reading novels, you love to write, or you’re fascinated with the origins of the English language. These are all good reasons to pursue a degree in English, which will give you broad exposure to the history and literature of the English language, while you also learn critical thinking skills and how to write clearly and persuasively. English majors are experts in the art and science of words, allowing you to expand your imaginative potential and solve real-world problems.

Why study English at UNH?

The English program at UNH offers a great deal of flexibility. After completing the basic degree requirements, you’ll be able to focus your studies on literature; writing, including fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry; or areas within linguistics, such as language formation. Other program highlights include our small discussion-and research-oriented seminars; internships with publishers, businesses, and arts and service organizations; and study-abroad opportunities in London, England.

Potential careers

  • Business executive
  • Communications specialist
  • Editor
  • Government consultant
  • Lawyer
  • Publisher
  • Teacher
  • Writer
  • Lori Robinson among service colleagues
    English Major | Retired U.S. Military General
    Following in her father’s footsteps, General Lori Robinson ‘81 came to the University of New Hampshire and developed newfound confidence and lifelong connections. Watch Video.
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  • photo of Katie Bouton
    English and Women's Studies Majors | Co-Founder & CEO, Koya Leadership Partners
    Work-life integration skills gained at UNH strengthen the capacity of Katie Bouton '96 to create a positive impact through Koya Leadership Partners. Watch video.
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  • berlin-katherine
    English Major | Co-President of the UNH Northern California Alumni Network
    Read more about Katharine's success using her English degree on UNH Tales.
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  • Picture of Rachel
    English Major | Internal Communications for Deloitte
    Read more about Rachel's success using her English degree on UNH Tales.
    Learn More
  • miller meridith
    English Major | Librarian at a Sports Museum
    Read more about Meredith's success using her English degree on UNH Tales.
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

Our general English major has two objectives: provide our students with a common core of literary experience and expertise, and offer them the opportunity to shape a course of study suited to their personal interests. By offering flexible requirements, we encourage students to devise a path through coursework that has an intelligent rationale. Students whose primary interest is in literary studies can focus on our many offerings in that area; those who have a special interest in writing can take multiple writing courses in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry writing (in addition to literature courses). Alternatively, they can match up courses from different areas in the department (say, literature and writing courses focused on poetry). Our major requirements encourage students to sample a range of courses in literature, linguistics, creative or nonfiction writing, and English teaching, so that students become familiar with the various strands of inquiry that compose contemporary English studies. The guiding principle of the general English major, then, is that it is open and liberal by design. It allows students to sample a variety of courses in order to study the operation of language from many perspectives. 

If you're interested in majoring in English please contact Carla Cannizzaro, Senior Academic Advisor, Department of English, 230F Hamilton Smith Hall, (603) 862-1313.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 40 credits of with a minimum grade of C-.
  2. The required minimum overall GPA is 2.0.
  3. Only one online course may count toward major requirements.
  4. Capstone must be completed with a minimum grade of C.

  5. ENGL courses may not be double-counted across English major requirements.

Required Courses
ENGL 419How to Read Anything (Minimum grade of C)4
Foundational Surveys
Select one course in Early Literature from the following:4
ENGL 512
British Literature I Age of Heroes: Beowulf to Dr. Faustus
British Literature II Age of Revolutions: Shakespeare to Austen
ENGL #515W
American Literature I Conquest and Nation: First Contact to the Civil War
Select one course in Modern Literature from the following:4
British Literature III: Revolts, Renewals, Migrations
American Literature II Money, Migration, and Modernity: Huck Finn to Beloved
ENGL 581
Reading the Postcolonial Experience
A. Linguistics & Writing
Select one course from the following:4
ENGL 501
Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
ENGL 502
Professional and Technical Writing
ENGL 503
Persuasive Writing
ENGL 526
Introduction to Fiction Writing
ENGL 527
Introduction to Poetry Writing
ENGL 534
21st Century Journalism: How the News Works
ENGL 623
Creative Nonfiction
ENGL 625
Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop
Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop: Screenwriting
ENGL 627
Intermediate Poetry Writing Workshop
ENGL 701
Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop
ENGL #703T
Travel Writing
ENGL 729
Special Topics in Composition Studies
ENGL 752
History of the English Language
ENGL 791
English Grammar
B. Genres or Theory
Select one course from the following:4
ENGL 510
Introduction to the Digital Humanities
Bible as Literature
ENGL 520
Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
ENGL 521
Nature Writers
ENGL 533
Introduction to Film Studies
ENGL 555
Science Fiction
ENGL 575
Sex and Sensibility: The Rise of Chick Lit
Studies in Film/Genre
Studies in Film/Authorship
Studies in Film/Culture and Ideology
Studies in Film/Narrative and Style
ENGL 618
Film Theory
ENGL 655
Reading in all Directions: Comics and Graphic Narrative
ENGL 714
Critical Skills
ENGL 736
Environmental Theory
C. Race, Gender and Postcolonial Studies
Select one course from the following:4
ENGL #517
Black Creative Expression
ENGL 549
In the Groove: African American Music as Literature
ENGL 550
Introduction to the Literature and Culture of Race
ENGL 560
Introduction to Latinx Literature and Culture
Introduction to Women in Literature
ENGL 609
Ethnicity in America: The African American Experience in the 20th Century
ENGL 681
Contemporary African Literature
ENGL 690
African American Literature
ENGL 738
Asian American Studies
ENGL 739
American Indian Literature
Modern & Contemporary British Literature: New Departures
ENGL 778
Race and Gender in Film and Popular Culture
D. Literature before 1800
Select one course from the following:4
ENGL 650
I Hear America Singing: Studying American Literature and Culture
ENGL 657
ENGL 751
Medieval Romance
ENGL 753
Old English
ENGL 758
Advanced Shakespeare
ENGL 759
ENGL #767
Literature of the Restoration and Early 18th Century
ENGL 780
Drama of Shakespeare's Contemporaries: Will and Company
ENGL #783
English Novel of the Eighteenth Century
E. Literature after 1800
Select one course from the following:4
ENGL 636
Literature and the Environment
ENGL 650
I Hear America Singing: Studying American Literature and Culture
ENGL 693
Special Topics in Literature
ENGL 742
American Literature, 1815-1865
American Literature, 1865-1915: The Birth of the American Empire
Major American Authors
ENGL 773
Literary Modernisms: Return, Revolt, Recycle
Modern & Contemporary British Literature: New Departures
ENGL 775
Modern Irish Literature: A Changing Landscape
ENGL #777
The English Novel in the World
ENGL 784
English Novel of the 19th Century
Select two additional ENGL courses at the 600 or 700 level.8
ENGL 787English Major Seminar4

Please see your advisor if you have questions about other courses that might fulfill these requirements.

All undergraduate English majors acquire the same core skills. These include:

  • Proficiency in analytical writing, critical thinking, and public-speaking.
  • Knowledge of important literary genres and subgenres
  • Fluency in literary terminology,
  • A broad understanding of British-and-American literature, from the medieval period in England and the moment of first contact in America to the present day.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in writing an analytical essay that offers a sophisticated close-reading or explication of a literary text. This essay will have a clear thesis and proceed in a logical fashion, with interpretive claims supported by evidence from the text.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in literary research and in writing an extended thesis-driven research paper in which sources are correctly and responsibly cited.
  • Demonstrated understanding of how to read across the color line in the US and /or how to analyze literary works written in English from outside the UK and the US--from India, Africa, and the Caribbean, for example.


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