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Major & Minor Requirements & Timeline

English Major Degree Requirements Heading link

The English major consists of 36-42 credit hours, depending on the concentration selected.



All English majors, regardless of concentration, are required to take four core courses. Through the core sequence, students will become familiar with a wide variety of primary texts, a sense of literary history, and a methodology of contemporary literary practice in the discipline.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of literary theory and methods, e.g. how and what literature practitioners “do” with literary and cultural texts. In order to continue in the program, students must earn a grade of ‘C’ or above in the four core courses (ENGL 240, 241, 242, 243).


Within the major, there are five concentrations: American Literature, British and Anglophone Literature, Media Rhetorical and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing and Professional Writing. Concentrations require three or four courses to build content expertise and the sequence creates an opportunity for students to interact with faculty who specialize in their chosen area of study. While students may not declare more than one concentration, they are welcome to take courses within other areas to count towards their major electives.

To discuss the details and coursework within specific concentrations and create a plan of study, please visit the course catalog or schedule an appointment with your English advisor. You can also review the overview of the English major for a list of faculty within these concentrations.


Students must take five electives in the major. There is a variety of  English departmental offerings, cross-listing with other departments (such as Latin American and Latino Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, African American Studies, etc.), and pre-approved courses taught in other departments that may be advantageous to English majors (such as Philosophy, Russian, Polish, Classics, etc.)

Students sometimes opt to take more courses within their chosen concentration to fill their electives, while others use the electives as designated space to branch out and sample other concentrations.

For a breakdown of these elective options and restrictions, please visit the course catalog or schedule an appointment with your English advisor.


In addition to electives, English majors must also complete advanced-level courses (two courses needing to be at the 300-level or above) as well as three distribution requirements. These content distribution requirements may be completed via a student’s concentration or elective coursework within the major. One course may fulfill more than one distribution requirement. Distribution requirements are as follows:

  • One course in materials before 1900
  • One course in materials after 1900
  • One course in U.S. Social and Cultural Diversity

To review specific course requirements and your progress in the major, make sure to schedule regular semester visits with your academic advisor and also review the course catalog.

Teaching of English Major Degree Requirements Heading link

The Teaching of English major consists of 58 credit hours, including collateral courses and additional requirements for the teaching license.

Please note that before pursuing certain courses in this sequence, a student must be an accepted teaching candidate in the program. For questions about candidacy, please contact the Teaching of English Advisor.


All Teaching of English majors are required to take four core courses. Through the core sequence, students will become familiar with a wide variety of primary texts, a sense of literary history, and a methodology of contemporary literary practice in the discipline.


Three electives are the space within the major where students can pursue their own interests, such as fiction writing or American literature. They are also valuable courses for strengthening content knowledge to become a more effective classroom teacher– for example, courses like Young Adult Literature and Shakespeare can support this goal.


The program requires four teaching methods courses feature extensive field instruction in schools and opportunities to engage in practice with actual students and not just theory.

  • ENGL 459: Introduction to the Teaching of English in Middle and Secondary Schools
  • ENGL 481: Methods of Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools
  • ENGL 486: The Teaching of Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools
  • ENGL 489: The Teaching of Reading and Literature in Middle and Secondary Schools


The concluding semester requires a full-time commitment to student teaching,  English 489/499, accomplished over the course of the university semester timeline, within a school placement. Each student is assigned to both a university field instructor and a school-based mentor teacher, and the students also meet each week as a group in a seminar class session at the university.


Since a student in this major is not only completing a bachelor’s degree in the subject, but is also being licensed to teach in the state of Illinois, the student must complete state-mandated courses in required content areas. Currently, courses include:

  • ED 200: Education Policy Foundations
  • ED 210: Principles of Learning and Instruction
  • ED 425: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • SPED 410: Exceptional Learners

Timeline to Degree Heading link

Below is a recommend timeline, or 4-year plan, for both the English and Teaching of English majors.

The department recognizes that many students begin their studies as transfers from another institution, or even choose to major in English after they have already completed their first, second, or sometimes even third year at UIC.

Because every student has a unique timeline, as well as individualized interests, it is recommended to check in with the English Advisor to discuss the best plan of study.

Additionally, in the Teaching of English major, students must meet program benchmarks at certain times in order to maintain their progress in the licensure program and also stay on track for graduation. To this end, the Council on Teacher Education works with program advisors to help students stay on track.

Timeline for BA in English

Timeline for BA in Teaching of English