College of Arts and Sciences


Program Options

English department web site

The information on this page pertains to program requirements for students who matriculated in the 2023-2024 academic year.  View requirements for previous catalog years here.

Program Overview

The program in English is committed to establishing a habit of lifelong learning that emphasizes the relationship of reading, writing and critical thinking. Our students:

  • learn to read and write texts in a variety of modes and genres. They read and write imaginatively, critically, analytically, and interpretively, with close attention to detail, and they situate their reading and writing within established and contested historical, cultural, critical, and literary traditions. They understand that reading and writing are deeply inter-related activities, whether their major emphasizes the production or the reception of texts. 
  • think, read, and write collaboratively, sharing their work with others and drawing on their individual and collective knowledge, experience, wisdom, understanding, and background to advance their learning. They become adept at working creatively and effectively with others, through dialogue, debate, and critique.
  • come to English and writing from a broad range of backgrounds, with a variety of beliefs, motivations, and tastes, to pursue a broad range of personal, professional, and expressive goals. Our faculty are co-learners with our students, taking active part in the challenging and rewarding practices of critical literacy and creative writing.
  • develop into culturally aware users of language, attuned to the way language and the variety of meanings to which it gives rise change and respond to contemporary developments, including the political, social, technological, and aesthetic. They learn to question and reflect on these changes and to adapt their readerly and writerly sensibilities to address them.
  • develop the desire to better understand themselves and their world through language, as exploratory writers and inquisitive readers. They are able to achieve that understanding by using language in critical and imaginative ways to advance their learning throughout their lives.
  • become reflective and informed readers, able to generate and pursue complex questions of language’s meanings and uses. By focusing on textual details in relation to larger questions of form, purpose, and context, our students are able to articulate well-reasoned understandings of the language they encounter.
  • learn to take pleasure in the play of language and other representational, symbolic systems of thought and expression. They value novelty and experimentation, both in their critical and writerly endeavors, and become adept at seeing and pursuing opportunities for playful engagement with language and meaning.
  • contend with ambiguity and respond meaningfully and responsibly to changes in the way language functions, whether in its literary or everyday manifestations.
  • develop the critical and creative wherewithal to recognize that language and representation are complex and important, wherever they manifest themselves. They are able to use the critical and creative approaches for thinking about film, drama, new media, novels, stories, poems, and other literary artifacts to analyze and reflect on symbolic representation of all kinds, from popular music to painting to political discourse and beyond.

Our courses involve students in a range of activities, including discussions (in class and online), collaborative projects, conferences, presentations, independent study, internships, and service learning.

The English Department is committed to supporting interdisciplinary programs and encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary concentrations, second majors and/or minors. A number of the Department's courses are cross-listed with interdisciplinary programs, facilitating such study. In addition, the English major permits students to include related courses taken outside the department for credit toward their program of study, subject to approval by the student’s English Department adviser.

Our graduates pursue professional careers in such fields as professional writing, editing, advertising, publishing, education, management, computers, public relations and public service, or pursue post-baccalaureate study in English studies, law school or medical school. Students contemplating graduate study should confer with their advisers about special preparation and should be aware that many graduate schools typically expect proof of competence in foreign languages. Students interested in pursuing careers in primary or secondary education can obtain certification by completing the appropriate professional courses in teacher education.

B.A. Degree Requirements

The English major requires 12 courses: at least 5 at the lower division and at least 6 at the upper division. The English major allows for 3 electives, 2 of which must be 100-level courses. An English course may be used only once to fulfill a particular major requirement. Transfer students majoring in English must take at least 6 courses in English at Drake. Students with advanced placement (A.P.) will be credited one lower-level elective toward the major.



Lower Division Core



ENG 038 - Literary Study


ENG 039 - Writing Seminar


History and Traditions


Any ENG course numbered 040-059


Culture and Identity


Any ENG course numbered 060-079


Writing: Topics and Genres


Any ENG course numbered 080-099


Electives - Courses may be taken outside of the department with advisor approval. Up to six individual experience hours (internship, independent study, or portfolio) may be counted as electives.


One ENG course numbered 020-099


At least fifteen hours of ENG courses numbered 100 or higher


ENG 195 - Capstone in English and Writing




English Minor

Students who wish to complement their degrees in other areas of study, to pursue personal interests in critical reading and creative writing, and to provide employers or graduate schools with supplementary credentials in writing or English can choose a six-course minor.  Students majoring in writing may not minor in English; students may not double-minor in English and writing.

Course Credits
ENG 038 - Literary Study 4
ENG 039 - Writing Seminar 4
Lower Division Electives - Select two ENG courses numbered 020-099 6-8
Upper Division Electives - Select two ENG courses numbered 100 or higher 6
TOTAL 20-22

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.