A GUIDE FOR MAJORS AND NON-MAJORS
We are pleased to present the fifteenth revised edition of the English Department Handbook. The Handbook will help you use the resources of our department in planning your course of study at Queens. It introduces the department's curriculum and policies and describes the options available for majors and non-majors. You should use this handbook in conjunction with the Queens College Undergraduate Bulletin, which includes course listings and descriptions, and the English Department website at english.qc.cuny.edu. We hope that the Handbook will help you develop a course of study that is both challenging and rewarding.
The Curriculum Committee
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHY MAJOR IN ENGLISH? 3
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR 4
DECLARING THE MAJOR 5
TRANSFER CREDITS 6
THE DOUBLE MAJOR 6
PREPARING FOR A CAREER IN ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY EDUCATION 6
THE HONORS PROGRAM 7
THE ENGLISH MINOR 8
THE ENGLISH MAJOR OR MINOR IN THE EVENING SESSION 8
SUMMER SESSION 8
RELATED PROGRAMS 9
REQUIRED COURSES AND ELECTIVES 9
CREATIVE WRITING 12
COURSES IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS 15
TAKING COURSES AT OTHER COLLEGES 15
THE ENGLISH COMPOSITION AND WRITING-INTENSIVE REQUIREMENTS 15
COURSES FOR NON-MAJORS 17
THE GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS 17
APPROVAL FOR GRADUATION 19
GRADUATE SCHOOL IN ENGLISH 19
THE WRITING CENTER 21
PRIZES AND AWARDS 22
ACTIVITIES AND PUBLICATIONS 23
WHY MAJOR IN ENGLISH?
One reason might be simply a love of literature. The creative and imaginative crafting of literary forms is one of the most fundamental and enduring of human drives and the thoughtful enjoyment of literature can become one of the ongoing themes of a lifetime. One purpose of the major in English, therefore, is to sustain, deepen, and inform your pleasure in reading and to give you the chance to study many novels, plays, poems, and nonfiction works which may be new to you, one or two of which may do for you what great books can do: change your life.
Another reason is to become a more skilled and sophisticated reader. As an English major you will develop your range as a reader by becoming aware of the conceptual and methodological choices available in the process of reading and by learning to articulate how and why you read in a particular way. You will learn to grasp the philosophical and theoretical issues that can help you situate texts in large frameworks and to become acquainted with terms and concepts used in the discipline of literary criticism. You will learn to pay close attention to language, to become sensitive to the connotations of words and phrases, and to use a vocabulary to describe the texts you read specifically and precisely. You will learn how the works you study fit into a historical context; understanding how the text embodies aspects of the place and era that produced it, and how it participates in the development of its own genre over time. In addition, you will experience something of the rich and challenging variety of literary and cultural theory emerging in recent decades, a particularly exciting and controversial period in English studies. In going from class to class, you will encounter such differing critical viewpoints as Feminism and Women’s Studies, New Historicism, Queer Theory, Postcolonial Theory, theories of race and ethnicity, Textual Theory, Cultural Studies, Ecocriticism, and Marxist and Psychoanalytic theories. Exposure to such a range of critical approaches will give you a richer and more complex sense of literature and encourage you to identify with, and participate in, multiple cultural perspectives vital to understanding human experience and society, past and present.
Another reason that students major in English is that they find writing a pleasurable and gratifying challenge and want to develop their writing abilities. In the major you will increase your capacity to produce expressive and well-constructed critical essays and creative work, and you will learn to write analytical research papers which show an ability to select reliable scholarly resources, both in print and online, to evaluate those sources, and to integrate them into your own thinking.
The students of Queens College are enormously diverse in ethnicity, age, income, and geographical affiliations and many of them lead complicated lives as parents and workers in addition to being students. We want the English major to serve these different constituencies and to give each of our students a richer and more critical sense of how to read and articulate the culture in which he or she lives.
You will find the English major a good basis for any career that requires a skillful and sensitive use of language and the ability to read and interpret texts of any kind with accuracy and subtlety. It prepares students not only for such careers as education, journalism, public relations, advertising, and publishing, but for a wide range of professions, such as law, the health professions, and social work, in which skills of analysis and communication are at a premium. Many jobs in government and the commercial world—for instance, in administration, personnel, research, public information, and job training—are routinely filled by English majors. And English majors, including a number at Queens, have gone on to become publishing writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Polls have found that English majors express a high degree of satisfaction with their major, whatever career they ultimately choose. Satisfaction of this kind is usually, of course, proportionate to the level of commitment and effort students devote to their work in the major. Those willing to make such a commitment will find in the English faculty a similar commitment. Queens College is a selective senior college and has one of the best English departments in the CUNY system. We are proud of our award-winning faculty, which includes internationally renowned fiction writers and poets and specialists on topics ranging from early medieval saints’ lives to Hamlet to Hemingway. You will be taught by experts who have published widely, bring the most exciting new developments in literary thought into the classroom, and are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals as an English major.
You must have completed English 110 before beginning the major, but 110 does not count toward the major.
1. Critical Reading and Writing (2 courses) 6 credits
ENGL 130 Writing About Literature in English (3 credits/ Pre-Req ENGL 110)
ENGL 170W Introduction to Literary Studies (3 credits/ Pre- and Co-Req ENGL 130)
2. Literary Research Methods (4 courses) 16 credits
ENGL 241 The Text In Its Historical Moment (4 credits/ Co-Req ENGL 170W)
ENGL 242 Literary History (4 credits/ Co-Req ENGL 170W)
ENGL 243 Genre (4 credits/ Co-Req ENGL 170W)
ENGL 244 Theory (4 credits/ Pre-Req ENGL 170W)
3. Senior Seminar 3 credits
ENGL 391W Topics in Literature (3 credits/ Senior status or consent of the Department)
4. Electives (7 courses) 21 credits
Seven (7) additional English courses at the 200 or 300 level
These courses must include:
At least one (1) course in British literature before 1800:
ENGL 251, 311, 312, 313, 320, 321, 322, 330*, 331, 332, 333, 334, 340, 341, 344
At least one (1) course in American literature before 1900:
ENGL 253, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352#, 354, 357*, 358*, 359*
At least one (1) course in global, ethnic, or post-colonial literature:
ENGL 255, 354, 355, 356, 360, 362, 363, 364, 366, 367, 368, 369, 377, 378, 379
Such courses may be general or focused on a single author or group of authors.
Of the seven (7) electives, at most three (3) creative writing courses may be applied to the major. The remaining four (4) electives must be literature courses.
You may meet the requirements for graduation as an English major by maintaining an index of 2.0 in the required and elective work in English.
* 330, 357, 358, 359 are no longer offered; if taken before Fall 2016, these courses count towards the listed requirements.
#English 352 (the American Novel to 1918) is no longer offered; if taken before Fall 2016, it counts towards the listed requirements. The new English 352 (Late 19th- and Early 20th-century U.S. Literature) does not count towards the listed requirements.
To declare a major, you must fill out a declaration of major form through MyQC: www.qc.cuny.edu/declare. If you need assistance locating the form, please contact the OCT helpdesk 718-997-3006. Print this form and bring it to the English Department in Klapper 607 for a departmental signature. You must then return the form to One Stop. You will, in addition, be given an Advisement Form, which lists the requirements of the major. A major should be declared not later than the lower junior semester.
It is important to take advantage of the department's opportunities for advisement. Your first advisor is a member of the department’s administration (the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Chairperson, the Associate Chair, or the Program Coordinator) who signs the Declaration of Major form. At this time you should ask any questions about courses and departmental policies and, in consultation with the administrator, fill out the Advisement Form with major courses taken previously or currently. You should also plan your courses for the next semester. This is also a good time to discuss career plans and to ask about such topics as summer session, preregistration, and whatever special interests and needs you may have.
We urge majors and minors to take advantage of the preregistration period offered by the English Department just before regular registration in early November and early April. During these periods you can register for up to three English courses. If you preregister, you immeasurably improve your chances of getting into courses that during the regular registration period might close before your assigned registration time. You can drop courses during the regular registration period if you change your mind. During the April preregistration, you can register for up to two Summer courses as well as Fall courses. It is a good idea to declare the major even before you have taken a course in the major so that you can participate in preregistration and thus be guaranteed a place in one or both of the gateway courses, 130 and 170W. Before preregistration, descriptions of courses are posted on the sixth floor of Klapper, as well as on the department website at english.qc.cuny.edu. These descriptions will help you determine which courses are of most interest to you.
If you have transferred to Queens from another college, any transfer credits not fully evaluated during the admissions process must be evaluated by a member of the Departmental Evaluation Committee. You will find a list of evaluators in the department office. When you visit an English evaluator, bring a transcript from your previous college and a catalogue or other official description of the course(s) you wish to have evaluated. If a course in the admissions process is transferred as English 499, take that course to the Department for re-evaluation. English 499 cannot be applied to the major, but the Departmental evaluators may find that the course is the equivalent of one of our courses.
A minimum of 18 credits toward the major must be taken at Queens College.
Students majoring in a variety of fields often elect English as an additional major. Those who do so should declare their English major as described above. A double major must meet all the requirements listed by each of two departments.
English and Elementary/Early Childhood Education
If you are interested in becoming an elementary school teacher, you should visit the Elementary Education Department in Powdermaker 054 for advisement during your first year at Queens. In order to be eligible for NYS Initial Certification in Childhood Education, Grades 1-6, you are required to major in Elementary Education and minor with at least thirty credits in one of the liberal arts and sciences programs, such as English. You must also complete English 110 and three writing intensive courses with a B average or better. As a minor in English, you should apply to the Professional Preparation Sequence of the Elementary Education program when you have no more than 9 credits remaining in the English major, have completed the prerequisite education courses (EECE 201, 310, 340; Math 119; Music 261), and have a G.P.A. of at least 2.75.
English and Secondary Education
If you are interested in becoming a certified secondary school English teacher (grades 7-12), you must complete both the 27-credit Secondary English Education major (SEYS with minimum 3.0 GPA) and the 46-credit English major (ENGL with minimum 3.0 GPA) from the English department. There are also some English electives (ENGL) that are particularly recommended for prospective English teachers; please check with the Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services (Powdermaker Hall 150).
There is a two-step process toward declaring the English Education 7-12 major. First, declare only the English major and complete at least 15 English (ENGL) credits at Queens College in which you achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA. (If you are a transfer student and have extensive English coursework at another college, please see an advisor to determine if you meet the requirement for admission to the English Education major.) Second, add the English Education major. During your second year at Queens College (or your second semester if you are a transfer student), file a second Declaration Form to add the Secondary English Education major once you have obtained the approval of an English Education (SEYS) program advisor. You should plan to complete this dual English Education major during the last 4 semesters of your degree (ending in a spring semester with student teaching).
Although your SEYS requirements will be completed in your third and fourth years at Queens College, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you seek advisement from an English Education (SEYS) program advisor as soon as you begin thinking about teaching English in order to learn more about the program and the requirements for teacher certification.
The Honors Program offers a highly advantageous academic experience for English majors with a 3.3 G.P.A. in English and a 3.3 G.P.A. overall. During the entirety of their senior year, Honors students are given the rare undergraduate opportunity to work together intensively in a small group. Students who complete the program are awarded Honors in English, a decided asset in any future endeavor, whether graduate study or a professional career.
There are two program requirements: a two-semester Honors Seminar in the senior year that includes a research project and participation in a student conference in May; and an Honors examination in March.
Each year, the Honors Seminar, 399W, is organized around a broad theme, often interdisciplinary, such as “Dreams,” “Reading Minds, Touching Brains,” and “Bad Romance.” Students study the theme in a variety of texts and materials and from a variety of perspectives, often with the participation of guest lecturers, and then each student develops a research project, tailored to his or her interests, in close cooperation with the seminar instructor. These projects form the basis of the student conference in the spring. Members of the seminar also work together in preparing for the annual Honors exam, as well as participate in special workshops and social events.
Students graduate with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors (marked on student transcripts). The Honors designation is based on four criteria: the cumulative G.P.A., the G.P.A. in English, the research project, and the performance on the examination. Graduating with Honors is a sign to graduate schools and employers that a student has taken the most challenging program offered by the department and completed it successfully. More important, former Honors students have spoken with gratification of the unique undergraduate experience of working for an extended time on a single project and of working closely with other highly motivated students in a small group.
Students must enroll in the first (Fall) half of the Honors Seminar during the Spring semester of their junior year. Registration forms are available in the English office and should be submitted to the Chair of the Department Honors Committee. It is not possible to join the seminar in mid-course. Each semester of the seminar receives a separate grade. The Fall grade for English 399W substitutes for English 391W; the Spring grade for English 399W counts as an elective English course. Each year there are two sections of the seminar, one in the day session and one in the evening.
The English minor is an attractive option for students interested in combining the study of English with a major in another field. You may meet the requirements for graduation as an English minor by maintaining a GPA of 2.0 in the required and elective work in English and by completing the following 30-credit course sequence: 170W, 241, 244, one course from 242, 243, and 4 other offerings of the English Department at the 200 or 300 level. The prerequisite for 170W is English 130, which you must complete before beginning the minor. You must take at least 12 credits required for the minor at Queens College.
Many students pursue an English major or minor in the evening session. The evening session is particularly suitable for people who are working or who have family responsibilities, and for students who are returning to school after an absence of several years. All courses for the major, including the senior seminar and a wide range of electives, are available in the evening. Most evening classes in English meet once a week from 6:30 to 9:20. As an evening student, you may carry as few as six credits or as many as sixteen, depending on your class standing and obligations. Advisors are available in the English Department to help in the planning of programs. Advisement hours are posted on the bulletin board outside the department office.
The English Department offers a wide variety of courses during Summer Session 1 (usually four weeks in June) and Summer Session 2 (six weeks in July and August). Most of the required courses for the major except the Senior Seminar are usually offered in one session or the other each summer. The Senior Seminar must be taken in the Fall or Spring semester. A number of electives are also available in the summer. The summer schedule will be available before Spring preregistration, when registration for summer courses also begins. If you have questions about Summer Session, please see the English Department Summer Session Supervisor or the Chairperson.
Queens College does not offer a major in journalism but does offer a minor, which is described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. If you are interested in journalism, you should major in English, History, Political Science, Media Studies, or one of the other liberal arts disciplines, and acquire as broadly based an education as you can. You can gain journalistic experience by working for the campus newspaper as an extracurricular activity, and in journalism and publishing internships sponsored by the departments of English and Media Studies and by the Journalism program. The following English courses would be of interest to journalism minors: English 211W: Introduction to Writing Nonfiction and English 303W: Nonfiction Workshop.
You will find courses related to English and American literature in Africana Studies, American Studies, Business and the Liberal Arts (BALA), Film Studies, Honors in the Humanities, Irish Studies, Jewish Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies. See the Undergraduate Bulletin and the brochures issued by the various programs for details. In addition, the Comparative Literature department is filled with courses that give students a chance to read wonderful literary works in translation from around the world. All these programs offer, in addition to relevant individual courses, minors that may be of interest to English majors.
The English major requires the completion of 46 credits, or 13 courses as listed on page 5. Of these, 6 are required courses and 7 are electives.
These courses will provide you with a basic structure for your studies in literature, as well as a shared frame of reference with other English majors. The two gateway courses (130 and 170W) introduce you to the fundamentals of literary study, including close reading, an awareness of a variety of critical approaches, and instruction in writing a literary paper. The four surveys (241-244) give you a comprehensive historical context for your readings and introduce you to many key works, some well known and some not yet well known, all of them chosen by your instructor because he or she believes they are important for an English major to know. The Senior Seminar (391W) gathers together the elements of your literary education and applies them, in the setting of a small seminar of advanced majors, to the intensive study of a specific topic. That topic varies from seminar to seminar, and the department offers several each semester to give you a choice of topic and time. Recent Senior Seminars have focused on Toni Morrison, the Literature of New York City, Contemporary Native American Novels, Apocalyptic Literature, African American Literature and the Civil Rights Movement, the Medieval and Renaissance Literature of Travel, and the Literature of the English Civil War.
Beyond the required courses, you have a wide variety of courses from which to choose your six electives. The department does not offer all courses listed in the bulletin in every semester, and every semester we offer a number of courses that may not be given again or given with the same content during your time at Queens. If you see an elective that inspires you, take it now.
The following will give you some idea of the range of choices for your electives. For conciseness, we have listed each elective under one category only, although some of the courses clearly fit into more than one. Fuller information on courses can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin, on the department website, and, especially, in the descriptions posted on the sixth floor of Klapper and on the web before each preregistration period. Course with VT in the title indicate that the course has a variable topic and can be taken more than once. However, the course can only be applied to the major once.
Courses in medieval literature:
311. Literature of the Anglo-Saxon Period
312. Medieval Literature, 1100-1500
313. The Arthurian Tradition
Courses in periods of British literature:
320. Early Modern Literature
321. Seventeenth-Century Literature
322. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
323. British Romanticism
324. Victorian Poetry and Prose
Courses in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British literature are listed under various categories below.
Courses in a single author:
332. Shakespeare I
333. Shakespeare II
Courses in Irish literature:
365. Celtic Myth and Literature
366. Introduction to Irish Literature
367. Modern Irish Literature
368W. VT: Irish Literature
Courses in drama:
308. VT: Studies in Drama and Performance
340. Medieval and Early Modern Drama
341. Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century
370. Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Drama
371. Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Drama and Performance
Courses in poetry:
306. VT: Studies in Poetry
373. Early Twentieth-Century Poetry
374. Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Poetry
Courses in fiction:
307. VT: Studies in Fiction
344. The Eighteenth-Century Novel
345. The Nineteenth-Century Novel
346. Early Twentieth-Century Fiction
372. Anglophone African Fiction
376. British and American Fiction, 1945 to the Present
Courses in periods of literature in multiple genres
319. Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature
Courses in periods of American literature:
348. The Early Black Atlantic
349. Colonial American Literature
350. Early American Literature
351. Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature
352. Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature
353. Mid Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century U.S. Literature
Courses in race, ethnicity, and cultural identity in American literature:
354. African American Literature I
355. African American Literature II
356. Literature of the American Indians
360. VT: Latino/Latina Literature in English
369. Asian American Literature
Courses in literature in English from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere in the world:
363. VT: Global Literatures in English
364. VT: African Literature and Culture
377. VT: Modern South Asian Literature
378. VT: Caribbean Literature
379. VT: Transnational/Postcolonial/Global Literature
Courses in themes and perspectives:
305, 305W. VT: Studies in Literature and Culture
309. VT: Studies in Theory
310. VT: Studies in Non-Fiction Prose
315. Digital Literary Studies
316. VT: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literature
317. Adaptation Studies
325. VT: Gender and Sexualities
326. VT: Women’s Writing
327, 327W. Environmental Literature
328. VT: Topics in Children's Literature
329. Young Adult Literature
380. Classical Backgrounds of Literature in English
381. The Literature of the Bible
389. VT: Literature and Folklore
390. Comedy and Satire
Courses in the English language:
290. The English Language
Courses in pedagogy:
397. Seminar in Teaching Writing
Courses in Writing:
200W. Essay Writing
201W. Essay Writing in Special Fields
210W. Introduction to Creative Writing
211W. Introduction to Writing Nonfiction
301W. Fiction Workshop
302. Playwriting Workshop
303W. Nonfiction Workshop
304. Poetry Workshop
Only THREE of these writing electives can be applied to the major. For further information on the writing electives, see the Creative Writing section below.
Undergraduates may take graduate literature courses with the permission of the instructor of the course and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such courses may be counted toward the six electives. Undergraduates may not take the graduate writing workshops.
The department offers many opportunities to students interested in creative writing. We treat the study of creative writing not as an alternative to rigorous scholarly engagement in the reading of and writing about literary and critical texts nor as an exercise in easy self-expression. Rather, it is a discipline whose students practice the techniques and strategies of close reading and whatever writing is appropriate to a given genre: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting. The English Department offers electives in each of these genres, as well as one course that introduces students to the writing of nonfiction and another that introduces them to the writing of poetry, fiction, and plays. Throughout the Creative Writing curriculum, students learn to see the crucial interrelationship of reading and writing practices, as they begin to note and to take part in the myriad choices a poet or essayist or novelist or playwright makes at the level of, for example, the word, the sentence, the poetic line, the line of dialogue, the scene, the stanza, the paragraph.
Over the past several years, undergraduate English majors have been admitted into seven of the top ten MFA Creative Writing programs in the U.S.; they have published novels and volumes of poetry; and their nonfiction has appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to The New York Times. These students attended equally to creative and scholarly studies, following the English Department’s curricular emphasis on the critical intersection of these disciplines. Even majors primarily interested not in creative writing but in literary criticism find that creative writing courses add a valuable dimension to their experience of and knowledge about literature, and many non-majors also take creative writing courses.
As an English major, you may take as many as three creative writing courses among the seven electives for the major. You may take more, and you may take any of the 300-level workshops more than once, but only three creative writing courses (and three different ones) may be applied to the major. Additional credits may be applied to the 120 needed for graduation. The courses, all of which feature reading and writing assignments in the strategies and techniques of a specific genre and the extensive use of peer review, are as follows:
English 200W: Essay Writing
The writing and criticism of formal and informal essays, various types of articles, reviews, and reportage, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of style and structure and the development of effective expression. This course is recommended for majors and non-majors who wish more work in the basics of essay writing.
English 210W: Introduction to Creative Writing
An introduction to the writing of poetry, fiction, and plays, with related readings. This course is the prerequisite for English 301W, 302, and 304.
English 211W. Introduction to Writing Nonfiction
An introduction to the writing of nonfiction as an art form, in such modes as the personal essay, the review, new journalism, the memoir, and the postmodernist pastiche, with related readings. This course is the prerequisite for English 303W.
English 301W: Fiction Workshop
Intensive practice in the writing of fiction, with related readings.
English 302: Playwriting Workshop
Intensive practice in the writing of plays, with related readings.
English 303W: Nonfiction Workshop
Intensive practice in the writing of nonfiction as an art form, with related readings. In some semesters, the course focuses on one mode of nonfiction, such as the memoir or environmental writing.
English 304: Poetry Workshop
Intensive practice in the writing of poems, with related readings.
Note that the prerequisite for 301W, 302, and 304 is a grade of B in 210W or permission of the instructor and that the prerequisite for 303W is a grade of B in 211W or permission of the instructor.
Tutorial work offers students the opportunity to coordinate semester-long independent study projects with individual instructors, in order to explore an area of specific intellectual or creative interest in greater depth than is allowed in a classroom setting. A tutorial is an extension and amplification of regular course work, not a substitute for that work, and a tutorial cannot be used as a substitute for any requirement. Rather, tutorials allow highly motivated students to engage in intensive creative, intellectual, and interdisciplinary approaches to writers, themes, genres, periods, and literary movements and styles that have not been fully explored in the students’ course work and are not available elsewhere in the department's curriculum.
To apply for a tutorial, you must identify a full-time instructor whose area of specialization is appropriate to the independent study project; you must demonstrate to the instructor that your interest in the project goes beyond what you have already been able to pursue in regular course work; and you must present a rationale that explains the nature of the project and how it might best be undertaken in an independent study. Approval of the tutorial is contingent on an instructor’s agreement to act as advisor.
In a tutorial you will work independently on the curriculum that you have drafted with the advisor, and you will meet with the advisor on a schedule to be worked out, perhaps once a week or once every two weeks. In addition to conferences, communication via email, and oral reports, tutorials require students to produce an agreed-upon volume of written work. You will receive one, two, or three credits depending on the amount of reading and writing undertaken for the semester. It is possible for a group of from two to five students to arrange a joint tutorial with an instructor and to meet with that instructor together.
Tutorial work is administered by the Office of Interdisciplinary and Special Studies. Arrangements for a tutorial must be completed by the end of the registration period in the preceding semester. Although credits for tutorials will be counted toward the total required for graduation, only one tutorial may count towards the English major. Tutorials appear on the transcript as Special Studies courses. It is the student's responsibility to inform the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who must approve transcripts for graduation, that a particular Special Studies course is an English tutorial.
In conjunction with the Office of Career Development and Internships, the English Department sponsors internships for students who arrange to work up to twelve hours a week at a company or firm whose business is related in some way to the discipline of English Studies. Students have interned, for instance, at cable news stations, educational publishers and trade publishers, and area newspapers. The Office of Career Development and Internships provides a list of companies that are affiliated with the Queens College internship program, or students can ask interested employers to register with Queens College. Professor Jeffrey Cassvan is the advisor and will design an independent study with each student intern, negotiating a workload that typically requires the student both to keep a journal reflecting on the day-to-day progress of the internship, and to write a 15-page paper on a topic that is pertinent to the intern’s duties and experience. Internships can be taken for one, two, or three credits, and only one internship may be applied toward the English major. English minors who wish to undertake an internship should consult Professor Cassvan. The internship appears on the transcript as English 299.
Although you are not required to take courses outside the department for the major, you may plan with your advisor a pattern of these electives helpful to your major and your career objectives. However, you may apply courses in other departments to the major only when they are cross-listed with an English course (that is, listed under the offerings of the English Department in a particular semester), or when, in rare cases, they are approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Courses in Comparative Literature or History may add a particular richness to a student's sense of English and American literature, as do literature courses in the foreign language departments. But courses in any of the other departments in the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences will add to the breadth of intellectual experience that you bring to the reading of literature.
You may take English courses at other institutions and get credit in the major with the permission of the department. The permit form, together with general information, is available on the QC website at: http://www.qc.cuny.edu/registrar/perm/Pages/default.aspx.
There are separate permit forms for courses at CUNY and non-CUNY colleges. To take courses on permit, you must have a G.P.A of at least 2.0, be in at least your second semester in residence at Queens College (not including Summer Session), and have completed at least 6 QC credits. Remember that you must take at least 18 credits in the major here at Queens College. To request English Department permission, see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The English Department’s Composition Program serves as a foundation for all academic writing at Queens College. It offers the only course required college-wide, English 110, which provides students, whatever their future major, with essential tools for academic success.
In 110 you will learn through the discipline of frequent practice the elements of effective writing: analytical and creative thinking, pertinent research, the development of theses, the marshaling of support, careful editing, and rigorous and imaginative revision. You will increase your awareness of your responsibility to the reader not only through your attentiveness to grammar, syntax, and mechanics, but also through your usage of the conventions of genre, voice, structure, style, and diction.
These goals and practices are subsequently reinforced throughout your college career in Writing-Intensive classes. These classes, designated with a W, may be taken in any department, though you are urged to take at least one in your major. As a Queens College student, you must take two W classes, after English 110, during your undergraduate career, and each, in no matter what department, will build on the foundation of 110 to help you develop a writing competence that is essential to a liberal arts education and that will be valuable to you after college.
If you are an English major, you will fulfill the W requirements by taking English 170W and 391W, both of which are required for the major. If you are an English minor, you will fulfill one of the W credits through taking 170W.
English 110 is important not only as the beginning of the writing sequence; the 110 classroom also serves as an intellectual common space in which students from widely varying cultures and academic backgrounds become part of a community of interpreters and thinkers, responding to a wide range of texts, to their own writing, and to the writing of their peers, learning to integrate their colleagues' queries and suggestions into their revised essays, as well as learning to incorporate outside sources into their work, according to the accepted academic conventions of citation and documentation. Ultimately the goal of the Composition Program is to facilitate your entry into the cross-curricular discourse of the College through an understanding of the practices of reading and writing, thinking and revision, and an understanding of these practices as central to the making and representation of knowledge.
Following are descriptions of the composition courses offered by the department:
English 110. College Writing (4 hrs. 3 cr.)
110 is the only required composition course. Students must fulfill this requirement before they have taken 60 credits, preferably in their freshman year. This course instills the practice of effective writing and reading in college, with an emphasis upon the art of using language to discover ideas. It also teaches methods of research and documentation, as well as the use of rhetorical modes and strategies. Students spend at least one hour a week conferring with one another or with their instructor about their writing.
ENG 130: Writing about Literature in English (3 hrs. 3 cr.)
A methods course in the discipline. Students learn how to engage in scholarly conversations about Anglophile literature: by using close reading of primary and secondary sources; conducting original research; and developing analytical arguments about literary texts in different genres. Prerequisite: ENGL 110.
College Writing 1 (ENGL 110) and College Writing 2 (ENGL 130) are the prerequisites for English 170W, the 200-level surveys, and most 300-level English courses.
Many non-majors take English courses even beyond their college requirements. They do so for a variety of reasons: for more specialized training in writing, for enhanced background to their studies in other areas, for cultural enrichment, or simply for interest. Business, industry, and government service, as well as graduate and professional schools (business, law, medicine, social work, for example), now place emphasis on a student's ability to write well and on the breadth of his or her educational background. In an age of technology and specialization, background in the humanities is often regarded as a distinctive value.
If students majoring in such disciplines as history, art history, music, political science, and foreign languages intend to specialize in a particular historical era, they should consider taking English or American literature courses devoted to that period. Students with an interest in global studies should consider such courses as Studies in Global Literatures in English and Transnational/Postcolonial Literature.
Students who do not have the stated prerequisite for courses in the major but feel that they have its equivalent should see the Chair, Associate Chair, or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for permission to register.
Students matriculating in Fall 2009 or later must fulfill the General Education requirement. If you matriculated after Fall 2013, you must fulfill the Pathways requirements. If you matriculated between Fall 2009 and Fall 2013, you must fulfill the Perspectives (PLAS) General Education requirements.
All students who matriculated after Fall 2013 are required to take two College Writing courses (EC1 and EC2). In English, EC2 is fulfilled by ENG 130. Additionally, students must take 18 credits in the Flexible Core and 6-12 additional credits in the College Core.
Students are required to take two Perspectives Reading Literature (RL) courses in order to understand the contribution of literature to a liberal arts education, to learn the basic techniques of literary study, and to have the experience of reading outstanding works of literature.
The English department offers the following courses that fulfill Pathways and PLAS requirements:
151, 151W. Readings in British Literature.
An introduction to the development of English literature from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century through a study of selected poetry, drama, fiction, and/or nonfictional prose. Authors include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Keats, Dickens, and Joyce. Fulfills College Option Literature (Pathways) and RL, ET (PLAS)
152, 152W. Readings in American Literature.
An introduction to the development of American literature from its beginnings to the twentieth century through a study of selected poetry, drama, fiction, and/or nonfictional prose. Authors studied may include Thoreau, Hawthorne, Whitman, Dickinson, O’Neill, Hemingway, and Wright. Fulfills Flexible Core U.S. Experience in its Diversity and College Option Literature (Pathways) and RL, US (PLAS)
153, 153W. Introduction to the Bible.
Selected books of the Old and New Testaments in English translation. Cannot be taken for credit if student has taken ENGL 381. Designed for nonmajors. Fulfills Flexible Core Creative Expression (Pathways) and CV, WC, PI, (PLAS)
157, 157W. Readings in Global Literatures in English.
An introduction to the diversity of modern and contemporary Anglophone literatures and related literatures translated into English. Students will explore representative selections of works encompassing the complex transnational and postcolonial nature of much writing in English from the pre-modern to the post-modern. Fulfills College Option Literature and Fulfills Flexible Core World Cultures, Global Ideas (Pathways)
161, 161W. Introduction to Narrative.
This course studies, either through narrative in general or through some specific topic in narrative, why human beings produce and consume stories as prolifically as they do, and what role stories play in culture. Fulfills College Option Literature (Pathways) and RL (PLAS)
162, 162W. Literature and Place.
This course studies the relationship between the sense of place and the literary imagination. Particular sections will focus on a particular place or kind of place. Fulfills College Option Literature (Pathways) and RL (PLAS)
165W, 165H. Introduction to Poetry.
This course gives students practice in the reading and analysis of a wide variety of poetry, combining the study of literature with continued training in clear and effective written expression. It is a course that students contemplating a major or minor in English should take, but it is open to all students, and over the years non-majors have found it accessible and interesting and have made it one of the most popular courses in the department. Fulfills College Option Literature and Flexible Core Creative Expression (Pathways) and RL (PLAS)
A number of additional 300-level electives fulfill the College Option Literature (Pathways) requirement, and the ET requirement (PLAS). A student majoring or minoring in English will automatically fulfill the Pathways Literature requirement by taking courses in the three area requirements of the major. Students should familiarize themselves with the full list of General Education requirements. See http://gened.qc.cuny.edu/ for further information.
Students who entered the College between September 1981 and Spring 2009 have a choice of fulfilling the General Education requirements or the LASAR requirements that were in effect when they matriculated. Such students may not mix the two systems but must fulfill either one completely. For information on and help with LASAR requirements, students should consult the College's Advisement Office.
PLEASE NOTE: Majors and minors should understand that such courses as 161, 162, 165, and 151-156 may under no circumstances be applied to the major, although they may be applied toward the 120 credits needed for graduation. Majors and minors do have to fulfill all General Education requirements, but they should not take these courses to fulfill the College Option Literature requirement.
You will be approved by the Registrar for graduation only after the English Department affirms that you have fulfilled all requirements for the major. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is the administrator to whom you may address any questions or problems concerning graduation approval.
Students often wonder whether they should apply for an MA (Master of Arts), an MFA (Master of Fine Arts), or a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in English. The MA is a credential that offers you advanced academic training, although it doesn’t lead directly to an academic career. It may, however, make you more competitive in the non-academic job market by enabling you to develop stronger communication, analytic, interpersonal, and critical skills. The MA degree is also typically required for high school teachers. The MFA is a professional degree that involves intensive workshop work, total dedication to one’s writing, and a desire to advance one's original work in poetry, prose, drama, or literary translation. The MA and MFA usually take between 2 and 3 years to complete. The Ph.D. includes professional training to become a professor of English in an institution of higher education. If you think that you may wish to pursue a doctoral degree, you should talk with faculty who are familiar with you and your work. They will be in the best position to help you decide whether a doctoral degree is a good fit for you.
Graduate Study in English at Queens College
The English Department at Queens College offers both the MA and MFA degrees. Applications for the MFA program are due on February 15 for students planning to start the following Fall term. Applications for the MA program are due November 1 for starting in the Spring term; April 1 (with rolling admissions from February 15) for starting in the Fall term.
The department also participates in the Master of Science in Education/English program (MSEd), administered by the Department of Secondary Education.
The MA in English Literature is a 30-credit program that offers a diverse curriculum across British, American, and other Anglophone literatures, and critical and cultural theory. Course requirements include seminars in graduate methodology and the history of literary criticism, as well as 7 elective courses that enable students to pursue a wide variety of research interests. Elective courses are offered in a range of traditional fields and emerging areas of study, including but not limited to Gender and Sexuality Studies, Postcolonial and Global Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/o Studies, Cultural Studies, Rhetoric and Composition Theory, and Digital Humanities. In their final semester, MA students work on a culminating thesis essay of publishable article length, with the guidance of a faculty advisor. For further information please consult the director of the MA program, Dr. Caroline Hong (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the assistant director, Dr. William Orchard (email@example.com).
For information about applying for the MA, visit:
The MFA program is a highly selective, 36-credit program in creative writing and literary translation, designed to foster the artistic and professional development of writers. The program consists of genre-specific workshops in poetry, prose, drama, and literary translation; craft courses (genre and cross-genre); and elective courses in literature and literary theory. Extra academic opportunities are offered such as adjunct teaching and writer residencies. MFA candidates complete the program with a supervised thesis consisting of a novel, a full-length play, a collection of poetry, or a quality translation of equal length and complexity.
For further information please consult the director of the MFA program (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the department website at:
The MSEd consists of five courses in Education and five in English, and is primarily a credential for teaching English in the public middle and secondary schools. Further information is at the SEYS website:
Queens College does not award a doctoral degree in English on site; but many of our teachers also teach in the CUNY doctoral program in English, located at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center at 365 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. For further information, visit:
Applying to Doctoral Programs
For more information about applying to doctoral programs, consult the following:
The Modern Language Association (MLA) – Advice to Graduate Students
Stephen Karian, English Department, University of Missouri – A Guide to Graduate Study in English
English Department, UC Santa Barbara – “So you want to go to graduate school . . .”
English Department, Duke University, Graduate Admissions - FAQs
Survey on Doctoral Education and Career Preparation, Pew Charitable Trust – Advice for Selecting a Doctoral Program
Survey on Doctoral Education and Career Preparation, Pew Charitable Trust – English
The Writing Center is an open and inclusive space whose objective is to support student writers. It provides one-to-one and group tutoring, in addition to writing workshops covering a wide range of writing skills, strategies, and assignments. The Writing Center provides guidance throughout all stages of the writing process—from the earliest prewriting stages to the final revision stages. Its trained writing consultants help students make sense of assignments, interpret guidelines and rubrics, brainstorm topics, craft effective thesis statements, and plan, develop, and write research essays.
The Writing Center believes that all students have the ability to express themselves in thoughtful, creative, and intellectually rigorous ways. Its mission is to help students develop and hone their writing by challenging students to use their own unique languages and voices in their writing. By acknowledging and using students’ own unique histories, fluencies, and languages, it subscribes to the idea that there are a multitude of ways to write effectively, creatively, and academically.
The following are a few core ideas behind the work of the Writing Center.
· Consultants do not tell students what to think or what to write; they help students make these decisions for themselves.
· Consultants do not complete work for students; they work alongside students.
· Consultants do not proofread and/or edit students’ papers; they support students as they do so for themselves.
Students should see the work they do in the Writing Center as building on the work they do in their classes and in their lives. Even the most accomplished writers sometimes experience challenges when writing about complex or unfamiliar subjects. The Writing Center is here to provide guidance that is caring, professional, and challenging, and meant to help students develop the skills necessary to tackle more complex writing assignments.
The QC Writing Center is currently located in Kiely Hall 229. However, at some point during the 2018-2019 academic year, the Center will be relocating to the second floor of the Rosenthal Library. For more information about the Center, to schedule an appointment, to see a schedule of writing workshops, or to learn more about the services the Center provides, visit:
A note about the Center’s writing consultants:
Writing consultants are peer writing consultants. That is, they are undergraduate and graduate students at the college with intimate knowledge concerning what it means to write at the college. They are also immensely inquisitive about the writing process and are accomplished writers themselves. If you are interested in applying to work in the Writing Center as a writing consultant, see their website for more information.
In the Spring semester of each year, the English Department sponsors the Queens College Writing Prizes for all matriculated and regularly enrolled undergraduate students. These monetary awards honor their donors, which include active and retired English Department faculty members, former students of the English Department, as well as prizes named in memory of friends, colleagues, and family members of benefactors. Faculty members serving on the English Department’s Prizes Committee recognize outstanding undergraduate writing in the categories of poetry, fiction, literary translation, playwriting, nonfiction, and academic writing. In late April or early May, the Committee presides over the Writing Prizes Ceremony, where faculty members read excerpts of prize-winning student work. Rules for submitting work to the Queens College Writing Prizes are available in the English Department office, near the beginning of the Spring semester.
Following is a list of prizes, subject to update and revision:
Eichler Memorial Scholarship
Harry Glick Prize
Neal Feld Memorial Award
Silverstein-Peiser Award for Playwriting
Gregory Rabassa Prize
Composition Prizes for Work Done in SEEK 110, English 110, and English 130
The James E. Tobin Prize for an Essay on Poetry
The Leo Statsky Prize for Autobiographical Work on Encounters with American Life
The Faculty Prize for an Essay on Medieval or Early Modern Literature
The Cathy Davidson Prize for Scholarship on American Literature Pre-1865
The Kay Kier Memorial Prize for an Essay on Late Nineteenth- (Post-1865) or Twentieth-Century American Literature
The Edmund L. Epstein Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Essay on Twentieth-Century British Literature
The Maureen Waters Prize for an Essay on Irish Studies
The Clinton Oliver Prize for Scholarship in Black American Studies
The English Alumni Prize for an Essay on Asian American Literature
The English Alumni Prize for an Essay on Latinx Studies
The David B. Feinberg Prize for an Essay on Gender and Sexuality
The Faculty Prize for an Essay on Science Fiction, Fantasy or Children’s Literature
The Faculty Prize for an Essay on the Graphic Novel
Additionally, the Writing Prizes Ceremony includes awards for outstanding scholarship, including the following:
The Robert Greenberg Prize for Outstanding Work Done in English Honors
Every semester, the English Department offers a variety of readings, lectures, and talks by visiting writers and by student and faculty members of the Queens College community. Many of these events are coordinated either with the graduate MFA Program in Creative Writing and Translation, or the undergraduate literary journal, Utopia PKWY. Information about specific events is posted on bulletin boards on the 6th floor of Klapper Hall, the MFA program’s 7th floor bulletin board, as well as the MFA’s Bulletin Blog http://mfabulletinblog.qc.cuny.edu/, and on the English Department website http://english.qc.cuny.edu under the Events sidebar.
Utopia PKWY, our school’s journal of student writing, is not only an outlet for students to publish each other’s work, it also represents a unique opportunity for English majors and students from other disciplines to work together toward a community project. Online and print versions of the journal are published once a year, usually in the Spring semester, and while Utopia PKWY takes submissions from all Queens College undergraduates, it is selective in what work to publish. Many students whose work was included recent editions of the journal were accepted into nationally known MFA Creative Writing programs, including the Queens College MFA. Active engagement in the production of our literary journal, including staff meetings, public readings, editorial work, and interaction with faculty advisors provides students with the opportunity both to socialize with their classmates, and to gain insight into the editorial processes and business concerns involved in publishing an annual literary journal. For more information, please visit http://utopiaparkwayjournal.com/.
There is, additionally, another Queens College literary journal, Ozone Park, which is produced by the MFA program. This nationally-recognized online journal is constructed, edited, and maintained entirely by MFA students to publish new and innovative writing from emerging and established authors, worldwide. It accepts submissions in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translation, and art (including poetry comics) and has included work from such authors as Nancy Naomi Carlson, Mabel Lee, Rachel Klein, Johnny Lorenz, and Jee Leong Koh (forthcoming). Check out their website http://ozoneparkjournal.com/ for the latest issue and more information.
Over the years interested students have from time to time initiated and revived an English Club. Students who wish to organize such a forum, with its potential for varying types of events such as student readings and visiting speakers, should consult the Associate Chair.
Queens College also sponsors the Queens Evening Reading Series of readings and interviews with famous literary figures. The series, one of the longest-standing and best-known in the New York area, is organized by a member of the English Department, Joe Cuomo. In recent years, such writers as Salman Rushdie, Oliver Sacks, Tom Stoppard, Jamaica Kincaid, Doris Lessing, Derek Walcott, Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, and Edward Albee have participated in the series. The particular events are well publicized throughout the campus, with schedules for the year posted outside the English Department office.