Course Options and Restrictions

Core Classes
Classes such as University Writing (ENGL C1010 or F1010) and Literature Humanities do not count toward the major.

Global Core
English Department courses used to satisfy the Global Core requirement may also count toward the major.

Elective Writing and Foreign Language Literature Classes
In general, only courses taught in the English Department may count toward the major/concentration.  However, up to two total courses taught in the following departments may also count: Creative Writing (including at Barnard); Comparative Literature; foreign language departments, as long as the course is an upper-level course concentrating on literature, rather than language.  These courses do not fulfill any distribution requirements.  (Please note that comparative literature courses with the designation CLEN are in fact English Department courses; there is, therefore, no limit on how many can be taken, and they do fulfill distribution requirements.)

Summer Classes
Only two summer classes may count toward the major.

Pass/Fail Courses and Ds
No course taken Pass/Fail may count toward the major (except the first course taken toward the eventual major).  Courses assigned a grade of D may not count toward the major.

Barnard English Classes
Most Barnard literature classes may be used for the major/concentration.  Please check with the D.U.S. to know which distribution requirements they fulfill. 

Independent Studies and The Senior Essay
Any number of independent studies may be taken, but only one independent study may count toward the major, and that one cannot be used to satisfy any distribution requirements. Likewise, the Senior Essay may count as one of the 10 courses for the major but satisfies no distribution requirements. Students may not count both an independent study and the Senior Essay toward the major.

Transfer Credit / Study Abroad
Students must obtain the approval of the D.U.S. to receive credit for courses taken elsewhere. Transfer students and students planning to study abroad should bring or email relevant material—transcripts, course descriptions, syllabi—to the D.U.S., who decides whether and how outside courses may be used for the English major or concentration. No more than five courses taken elsewhere may be applied to the major, and no more than four courses taken elsewhere may be applied to the concentration. (Barnard College does not count as “elsewhere”: there is no limit on how many Barnard English courses may be used for the major or concentration.)

The “BA/MA option” is a program available to Columbia undergraduate English majors who would like to pursue an MA with us after receiving a BA, and which allows them to receive the MA on a reduced timeline and at a reduced cost.