May 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, B.A.

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   Member of the Division of Humanities


Stephen Andrews


Sherif Abdelkarim
Leah Allen
Timothy Arner
Constantine Bakopoulos
George Barlow - Senior Faculty Status
John Garrison
Astrid Henry
Carolyn Jacobson
Lakesia Johnson

Shuchi Kapila
Makeba Lavan
Nathaniel Likert
Hai-Dang Phan
Santiago Sanchez
Ralph Savarese
Erik Simpson
Paula Smith
Sejal Sutaria

Every English major at Grinnell receives a thorough grounding in the tools of literary analysis, studies the literary traditions of a variety of ages and places, and completes ambitious research projects. Many students also pursue creating writing, both within the English curriculum and through co-curricular events and publications.

The department offers students a range of choices as they pursue those ends. The flexible curriculum allows students to read American, British, Irish, and postcolonial literatures from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives. We represent the relationships among our courses, requirements, and departmental goals on our English curricular map.  Within this curriculum, English majors develop their own questions and interests.

The major begins with a 100-level course in which students develop their analytical skills by paying close attention to texts and developing an awareness of contemporary approaches to literary study. The 200 level includes courses that introduce students to the practices of creative and argumentative writing; the traditions of American, African-American, ethnic American, British, Irish, and postcolonial literatures; and the theoretical tools of historical linguistics and gender studies.

Those courses provide the necessary background for the three 300-level seminars that every English major completes. Courses at the 300 level require more advanced work in literary study and creative writing; these courses train students in advanced skills of self-directed research and writing. To complement this intensive study of English as a discipline, English majors also complete at least introductory study of a foreign language and once course that involves an interdisciplinary approach to humanistic inquiry.

Major Requirements: a minimum of 36 credits

 A minimum of 36 credits in English, including at least 24 credits in the Department of English at Grinnell.

Core Requirements: 20 credits

300 Level Requirements: 12 credits

  • Three four-credit 300-level courses, excluding individual study, in the English department at Grinnell. At least two must be literature courses.

Elective: 4 credits

  • One four-credit English course

Also required:

  • One four-credit Humanities (HUM) or GLS course or a four-credit literature course taught in another language department at the 200-level or above.
  • Knowledge of a non-native language at a level demonstrated by
    1. completion of second-semester college coursework in a non-native language, or
    2. examination at Grinnell showing equivalent competence.


To be considered for honors in English, graduating seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a major GPA of 3.75 by the end of their seventh semester.  In special circumstances students may be nominated by two or more faculty members for honors based on other scholarly achievements or contributions to the department.

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