University of Southern California
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Please note: Due to late revisions, some text on this page differs from what appears in the printed version of the USC Catalogue. The changes appear below as highlighted text, with corresponding explanations appearing in the right margin.

Undergraduate Degrees

Undergraduate Programs

With nearly 40 full-time faculty, the Depart­ment of English offers courses a broad range of courses in English, American and Anglo­phone literature of all periods and genres, but also in related areas such as creative and expository writing, literature and visual arts, ethnic literature and cultural studies, the history of the English language and of literary criticism, and literary and cultural theory. Class sizes are kept at 25 to enable full discussion (16 in creative writing workshops), and faculty are available for advisement. Instructors assign extensive reading and ­writing in order to help students become ­perceptive readers, critical thinkers and strong writers – skills that are their own lasting rewards and that also help prepare students for several areas of graduate study and for a number of professional and creative pursuits.


All students are assigned a faculty advisor with whom they should meet once a semester before registering for courses. Together with the director of undergraduate studies and the department's undergraduate staff ­advisor, whom students should consult about such matters as departmental clearances and course substitutions, faculty advisors help students shape their major according to their evolving interests and the major's requirements.

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in English

Undergraduate majors in English are required to take 10 courses (for a total of 40 units) for a B.A. in English or for a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. The major requirements are flexible enough to allow an in-depth exploration in any field of literary or cultural study – such as American or British literature, Renaissance or African American literature – while providing historical breadth. The creative writing emphasis has several of the same requirements as the B.A. in English, in addition to which students will enroll in at least three, but no more than four, beginning, intermediate or advanced workshops in both poetry and fiction.

All majors must take three introductory survey courses, including at least two among the survey sequence ENGL 261, ENGL 262 and ENGL 263. One of the courses may be a 100-300 level course that introduces students to a particular genre or to the study of literature generally. Students should take at least two introductory courses before enrolling in upper-division electives or creative writing workshops.

In addition to three introductory courses, seven upper-division courses are required. For the B.A. in English, those seven courses must include two courses in literature written before 1800, one course in 19th century liter­ature and one course in American literature. For the B.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing, students must take at least three, but no more than four, creative writing workshops, with at least one in poetry and at least one in fiction. The remaining three or four upper-division courses must include at least one in literature written before 1900 and one in literature written after 1900.

Requirements for a Minor in English

The Department of English offers a minor in English that requires 20 units, or five courses, including at least two introductory courses (among ENGL 261, ENGL 262 and ENGL 263) and at least three upper-division courses. Among upper-division courses, one must be in literature written before 1800 and one in American literature. An English minor may enroll in no more than one creative writing workshop.

Minor in Cultural Studies

Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines a broad array of issues of culture, including popular culture, identity, subcultures, nationalism, global culture and ethnography. This minor is designed for students majoring in the humanities or in the professional schools who wish to complement their majors with courses that investigate the politics of culture and cultural negotiation. Students are required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA and the completion of 32 units for admission to the minor.

Required courses Units
COMM 384Interpreting Popular Culture4
CTCS 407African American Cinema, or
CTCS 411Film, Television and Cultural Studies4
ENGL 392Visual and Popular Culture, or
ENGL 472Literature and Related Arts4

Elective courses Units
Choose three courses from the following. Students must take two electives outside the department of their major. Students may not take any more than two electives from any one department or school.
ANTH 263Exploring Culture Through Film4
AHIS 363Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art4
AHIS 469Critical Approaches to Photography4
CTCS 406History of American Television4
CTCS 407African American Cinema4
CTCS 478Culture, Technology and Communications4
COMM 339Communication Technology and Culture4
COMM 340The Cultures of New Media4
COMM 360The Rhetoric of Los Angeles4
COMM 370The Rhetoric of Ideas: Ideology and Propaganda4
COMM 395Gender, Media and Communication4
COLT 365Literature and Popular Culture4
ENGL 473Literature and Society4
ENGL 478Sexual/Textual Diversity4
FA 350Art Theory and Criticism4
FREN 320French Cinema and French Society: 1900 to the Present4
GEOG 325Culture and Place4
HIST 225Film, Power and American Society4
HIST 255American Popular Culture4
PAS 400Contemporary Public Art4
SOCI 342Race Relations4

Total units: 24

For more information or to apply to this minor, contact the Department of English, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

This new minor program is available beginning fall 2009.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Early Modern Studies

This minor brings together the resources of the Departments of English, History and Art History to study the literatures and cultures of Europe and the Americas from the late medieval period to 1800. It draws upon courses from the Departments of French and Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, Philosophy, American Studies and Ethnicity, the Thornton School of Music, and the School of Theatre.

The minor focuses on the interplay of literary and historical methodologies while promoting an area study in a wide context. Majors in any participating department can complement the strengths in their home department with courses in other participating departments; students with majors in most other areas should have room for the 20 units necessary to complete the minor.

The minor includes a capstone course, a senior seminar based on the resources of the Early Modern Studies Institute (a consortium between USC and the Huntington Library), which enables students to learn about current issues in this cross-disciplinary field and about research techniques employed to deal with those emergent issues.

Through its Early Modern Studies Institute, USC has recognized that the study of the literatures and cultures of Europe and the Americas prior to 1800 reaches beyond disciplinary boundaries. English studies are also historical, continental, multinational and multilingual. Historical studies are also literary and sociological. Both studies are enmeshed in art history and music. This cross-disciplinary understanding of early modern studies provides a model for research in many areas of the humanities and social sciences. Students who complete this minor will be able to use both literary and historical analyses to investigate other questions in which they are interested.

The minor requires 20 units. As with all minors, students must include at least four upper-division courses and four courses dedicated exclusively to this minor (not used for credit toward a major, another minor or general education requirements). Students must select four courses outside their major department.

AHIS 230Art and Culture in Early Modern Europe4
ENGL 261English Literature to 18004
HIST 103The Emergence of Modern 4

UPPER DIVISION REQUIREMENTS (choose at least one course from each of the following four categories)
Literary Studies (4 units):
ENGL 420, ENGL 421, ENGL 422, ENGL 423, FREN 351, FREN 470, FREN 471, FREN 472, ITAL 350, ITAL 430, ITAL 435, SPAN 350, SPAN 352

Historical Analysis (4 units):
AHIS 304, AHIS 343, AHIS 344, AMST 446, HIST 309, HIST 312, HIST 316, HIST 325, HIST 331, HIST 410, PHIL 320

Case Studies in Early Modern Discourse and History (4 units):
AHIS 430, AHIS 433, AHIS 453, AMST 373, ENGL 430, ENGL 444, ENGL 461, ENGL 465, ENGL 469, HIST 307, HIST 318, HIST 349, HIST 351, HIST 370, HIST 408, HIST 470, HIST 473, HIST 474, ITAL 450, MPEM 450, PHIL 421, PHIL 422, PHIL 423, SPAN 455, SPAN 460, THTR 302, THTR 313, THTR 354, THTR 380

Senior Seminar in Early Modern Studies (capstone):
ENGL 497Seminar in Early Modern Studies4

Double Majors

The department strongly encourages majoring in both English and in another department in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences or in another school of the university.

English Honors Program

Candidates for the B.A. in English can receive a designation on their transcripts of departmental honors by successfully completing a program of two courses: ENGL 491 and ENGL 496, both of which may count toward the 40 units required for the major, and having a 3.5 final GPA. ENGL 491 is the prerequisite for ENGL 496, but even students not eligible for honors can apply for admission to ENGL 491. The application is due in the spring of the junior year. Students studying overseas can apply online. Students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in English courses can apply for ENGL 496. For additional information, contact a departmental advisor or the director of undergraduate studies.

Teaching Credential Requirements

Credential requirements in California and elsewhere are complex and changeable. Students interested in preparing for public school teaching should contact the Credentials Office, Rossier School of Education, and the undergraduate advisor in the English department for up-to-date information. The English department usually offers courses that satisfy most, if not all, of these requirements.