Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences


Undergraduate Degrees

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of English offers a broad range of courses in English, American and Anglophone literature of all periods and genres, and in related areas such as creative and expository writing, literature and visual arts, ethnic literature and cultural studies, history of the English language and of literary criticism, and literary and cultural theory. Instructors assign extensive reading and writing in order to help students become perceptive readers, critical thinkers and strong writers. Class sizes are kept at 19 to enable full discussion in literature classes and at 12 in creative writing workshops.


All students meet with a facuty adviser before registering for courses each semester. Faculty advisers help students shape their majors according to their evolving interests and the requirements of the majors. Students should consult the the director of undergraduate studies and the undergraduate staff adviser about departmental clearances and course substitutions.

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in English

Undergraduate majors in English are required to take 40 units (usually 10 courses) for a B.A. in English with an emphasis in either literature or creative writing. All majors must take three introductory courses, including at least two from the survey sequence:

ENGL 261 English Literature to 1800 4
ENGL 262 English Literature since 1800 4
ENGL 263 American Literature 4

One introductory course may be from the genre sequence:

ENGL 290 Cultural Studies: Theories and Methods 4
ENGL 298 Introduction to the Genre of Fiction 4
ENGL 299 Introduction to the Genre of Poetry 4

Students should take at least two introductory courses before enrolling in upper-division literature courses or creative writing workshops.

Majors emphasizing English literature must take seven upper-division courses, including two courses in literature written before 1800, one course in 19th-century literature, one course in American literature, and two electives.

Majors emphasizing creative writing must take seven upper-division courses, including two introductory creative writing workshops in poetry and prose, and a third workshop at the 400-level. The remaining upper-division courses must include one course in literature written before 1900, one course in literature written after 1900 and one elective.

All major students must complete ENGL 491 Senior Seminar in Literary Studies.

Requirements for a Minor in English

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

Bachelor of Arts in Narrative Studies

Narrative studies prepares students for the development and evaluation of original content for novels, films, theatre and other narrative platforms, but recognizes that the range of professional opportunities in literature and the performing arts is much wider than the roles of author, screenwriter or playwright. To recognize a good story, to critique, help shape, realize and transform it, requires a background in the history of narrative, cross-cultural and contemporary models, and an understanding of the broader context of popular culture.

Narrative Studies assumes that an effective narrative will be adapted from the medium in which it first appears as new media become available. To prepare students for a future in which the platform is likely to change, the Bachelor of Arts in Narrative Studies allows students to study across the current platforms while concentrating on the techniques of effective construction common to them all.

In so doing, it draws upon course work from several schools of art but finds its home in the humanities. To help develop the flexibility necessary to understand how stories change across platforms, students are expected to complete at least three courses in literary and three courses in performance-based media. The remaining three courses may be chosen to reflect the student’s personal preference and initial career aspirations.

MDA 490 Directed Research or MDA 494 Directed Creative Projects are capstone experiences: Students work under the guidance of a faculty member in a relevant discipline or professional field, which may include full-time faculty from the college or the participating schools of the arts. Projects intended for the stage should be done under the direction of School of Dramatic Arts faculty.

Requirements units
Nine or 10 courses totaling 36 units; no more than two at the 100- or 200-level, selected from the following lists.

Introduction to Narrative Media (choose one course):
COLT 101 Masterpieces and Masterminds: Literature and Thought of the West 4
CTCS 190 Introduction to Cinema 4
CTCS 191 Introduction to Television and Video 4
CTIN 190 Introduction to Interactive Entertainment 4
ENGL 261 English Literature to 1800 4
ENGL 262 English Literature Since 1800 4
ENGL 263 American Literature 4
ENGL 471 Literary Genres and Film 4
ENGL 481 Narrative Forms in Literature and Film 4
FACS 150 Visual Culture and Literacy I 4
PHIL 446 Aesthetics and the Film 4
THTR 125 Text Studies for Production 4
THTR 403 The Performing Arts 4

Writing and Narrative Forms (choose one or two courses, totaling 4 units):
CTWR 412 Introduction to Screenwriting, and 2
CTWR 415a Advanced Writing 2
ENGL 303 Introduction to Fiction Writing 4
ENGL 305 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 4
ENGL 405* Fiction Writing 4, max 8
THTR 365 Playwriting I 4
THTR 366* Playwriting II 4

Popular Culture and Ethnicity (choose one course):
AMST 200 Introduction to American Studies and Ethnicity 4
AMST 274 Exploring Ethnicity Through Film 4
AMST 285 African-American Popular Culture 4
ANTH 333 Forms of Folklore 4
COLT 365 Literature and Popular Culture 4
CTCS 192 Race, Class and Gender in American Film 4
CTCS 392 History of the American Film, 1925–1950 4
CTCS 393 History of the American Film, 1946–1975 4
CTCS 394 History of the American Film, 1977–Present 4
CTCS 407 African-American Cinema 4
CTCS 414 Latina/o Screen Cultures 4
ENGL 392 Visual and Popular Culture 4
HIST 380 American Popular Culture 4
MUSC 400 The Broadway Musical: Reflections of American Diversity, Issues and Experiences 4
MUSC 420 Hip-Hop Music and Culture 4
MUSC 460 Film Music: History and Function From 1930 to the Present 4
THTR 395 Drama as Human Relations 4
THTR 405 Performing Identities 4

Narrative in Cross-cultural Perspective (choose one course):
ANTH 372 Interpretation of Myth and Narrative 4
COLT 264 Asian Aesthetic and Literary Traditions 4
CTCS 200 History of the International Cinema I 4
CTCS 201 History of the International Cinema II 4
EALC 125 Introduction to Contemporary East Asian Film and Culture 4
EALC 332 Korean Literature in English Translation 4
EALC 342 Japanese Literature and Culture 4
EALC 452 Chinese Fiction 4
EALC 455 Japanese Fiction 4
ENGL 444 Native American Literature 4
ENGL 445 The Literatures of America: Cross-Cultural Perspectives 4
FREN 320 French Cinema and French Society: 1900 to the Present 4
GERM 360 20th Century German Prose: Texts and Films 4
ITAL 446 Italian Cinema and Society 4
THTR 210*** Theory and Practice of World Theatre I 4
THTR 211*** Theory and Practice of World Theatre II 4

Western Narrative in Historical Perspective (choose one course):
CLAS 325 Ancient Epic 4
CLAS 337 Ancient Drama 4
CLAS 380 Approaches to Myth 4
COLT 312 Heroes, Myths and Legends in Literature and the Arts 4
ENGL 423* English Literature of 18th Century (1660–1780) 4
ENGL 424* English Literature of the Romantic Age (1780–1832) 4
ENGL 425* English Literature of the Victorian Age (1832–1890) 4
ENGL 426* Modern English Literature (1890–1945) 4
ENGL 430 Shakespeare 4
ENGL 440** American Literature to 1865 4
ENGL 441** American Literature, 1865–1920 4
GERM 340 German Prose Fiction From Goethe to Thomas Mann 4
GERM 372 Literature and Culture in Berlin of the 1920s 4
SLL 302 Modern Russian Literature 4
SLL 344 Tolstoy: Writer and Moralist 4
SLL 345 Literature and Philosophy: Dostoevsky 4
SLL 346 Russian Drama and the Western Tradition 4
SPAN 304 Survey of Fiction (taught in Spanish) 4
THTR 301*** Greek and Roman Theatre 4
THTR 302*** Shakespeare and His World 4

Contemporary Fiction and Drama (choose one course):
AMST 448 Chicano and Latino Literature 4
AMST 449 Asian American Literature 4
COLT 345 Realist Fiction 4
COLT 348 Modernist Fiction 4
COLT 351 Modern and Contemporary Drama 4
COLT 420 The Fantastic 4
COLT 472 Los Angeles Crime Fiction 4
COLT 475 Politics and the Novel 4
EALC 354 Modern Chinese Literature in Translation 4
ENGL 375 Science Fiction 4
ENGL 442** American Literature, 1920 to the Present 4
ENGL 447 African American Narrative 4
ENGL 455 Contemporary Prose 4
ENGL 463 Contemporary Drama 4
FREN 347 Race, Gender and Power in Francophone Literature 4
SLL 303 Contemporary Russian Literature 4
SLL 348 Nabokov’s Novels: Art and Exile 4
THTR 300 Introduction to Modern Drama 4
THTR 314*** Advanced Topics in Modern Drama 4

Two additional courses (three if CTWR 412/CTWR 414 are chosen) (8 units) at the upper-division 300 or 400 level, from different departments, chosen from the lists above.

Capstone Enrollment:
MDA 490x Directed Research, or
MDA 494 Directed Creative Project 4

*Prerequisite required

**Corequisite required

***Recommend preparation suggested

Total: Nine or 10 courses, including at least seven at the upper-division level, for a total of 36 units.

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 384 Interpreting Popular Culture 4
CTCS 407 African American Cinema, or
CTCS 411 Film, Television and Cultural Studies 4
ENGL 392 Visual and Popular Culture, or
ENGL 472 Literature and Related Arts 4

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 263 Exploring Culture Through Film 4
AHIS 363 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art 4
AHIS 469 Critical Approaches to Photography 4
CTCS 406 History of American Television 4
CTCS 407 African American Cinema 4
CTCS 478 Culture, Technology and Communications 4
COMM 339 Communication Technology and Culture 4
COMM 340 The Cultures of New Media 4
COMM 360 The Rhetoric of Los Angeles 4
COMM 370 The Rhetoric of Ideas: Ideology and Propaganda 4
COMM 395 Gender, Media and Communication 4
COLT 365 Literature and Popular Culture 4
ENGL 473 Literature and Society 4
ENGL 478 Sexual/Textual Diversity 4
FACS 350 Art Theory and Criticism 4
FREN 320 French Cinema and French Society: 1900 to the Present 4
HIST 225 Film, Power and American Society 4
HIST 255 American Popular Culture 4
PAS 400 New Models of Art in City-Space 4
SOCI 342 Race Relations 4

Total Units: 24

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

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 USC Thornton School of Music, and the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

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.

REQUIREments, Lower-division UNITS
Choose one, 4 units:
AHIS 230 Art and Culture in Early Modern Europe 4
ENGL 261 English Literature to 1800 4
HIST 103 The Emergence of Modern Europe 4

Requirements, Upper-Division
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, DANC 380, 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

Senior Seminar in Early Modern Studies (capstone):
ENGL 497 Seminar in Early Modern Studies 4

Double Majors

The department strongly encourages majoring in both English and in another department in the USC Dornsife 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 senior honors thesis while enrolled in ENGL 496, and having a 3.5 final GPA. ENGL 491 Senior Seminar in Literary Studies is a prerequisite for ENGL 496. Students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in English courses can apply for ENGL 496; application is due at the start of fall semester of senior year. For additional information, contact a departmental adviser 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 (or refer to this catalogue page), and the undergraduate adviser in the English department for up-to-date information. The English department usually offers courses that satisfy most, if not all, of these requirements.