Tell your story.

Our English major weaves elements of both literature & creative writing into a self-directed course of study that will develop your ability to think critically and communicate effectively. English division faculty offer a wide range of courses, from traditional British and American surveys to writing workshops in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and playwriting; from Women Writers to African American literature to Bob Dylan; and from Shakespeare to Gothic Lit to Literature & the Environment, as well as other period, genre, and topics courses.


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


English (BA)



All English majors take 18 credits of core courses:

  • One 200-level literature class (“A” Area of Knowledge)
  • ENGL 325 Survey of British Literature I
  • ENGL 326 Survey of British Literature II
  • ENGL 327 Survey of American Literature
  • ENGL 328 The Language of Literary Art

Students choose the remaining 26 credits for the major from a range of upper-division seminars in literature and creative writing. Recent offerings include:

  • ENGL 475: Writing Formal Poetry
  • ENGL 474: Writing the Short Story
  • ENGL 472: Dramatis Personae
  • ENGL 461: Social Class in American Lit
  • ENGL 461: 21st Century Literature
  • ENGL 461: Documentary Film and Documentary Fiction
  • ENGL 460: Flash Fiction
  • ENGL 460: Humor Writing
  • ENGL 460: Creative Nonfiction Workshop
  • ENGL 451: Publishing Practicum
  • ENGL 434: African American Literature
  • ENGL 433: British and American Poetry
  • ENGL 431: 19th Century American Literature
  • ENGL 422: Modern & Contemporary Drama
  • ENGL 415: Victorian Literature
  • ENGL 412: Shakespeare’s Tragedies
  • ENGL 411: Shakespeare’s Comedies & Histories
  • ENGL 410: English Renaissance Literature
  • ENGL 409: American Realism: Race/Class/Gender/Place
  • ENGL 402: British Gothic Fiction
  • ENGL 400: Woolf & Joyce
  • ENGL 400: Bob Dylan
  • ENGL 400: Jane Austen

English majors are encouraged to assume responsibility for their education by developing a course of study based on their goals in consultation with a faculty advisor.


  • One 200-level literature class (“A” Area of Knowledge)
  • ENGL 325 Survey of British Literature I
  • ENGL 326 Survey of British Literature II
  • ENGL 327 Survey of American Literature
  • ENGL 328 The Language of Literary Art
  • 26 credits of 400-level coursework in writing and literature for a total of 44 credits.

Note: ENGL 450: Independent Study does not count toward the major. ENGL 496: English Honors Thesis may be counted toward the major. Also, the Division of English strongly recommends that English majors complete the intermediate level of a foreign language. Students may count one literature course (300-level or above) taken in a foreign language toward the English major.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the major in English, as well as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences general education requirements, students are required to complete the College's First Year Experience Program or Transfer Student Program.


  • Any 200-level writing or literature course in English
  • ENGL 325/326 Surveys of British Literature I & II
    or ENGL 327 Survey of American Literature
    or ENGL 328 Language of Literary Art
  • 10-12 credits of 400-level writing and/or literature coursework in English for a total of 20 credits

Note: ENGL 450: Independent Study does not count toward the minor in English.

The English division also offers minors in Writing and Literature.

Each student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must demonstrate writing competency through the successful completion of ENGL 102 or an equivalent (as approved by the English Division faculty). Depending on college entrance exam scores, students are placed in the appropriate level writing course. Normally students enroll in ENGL 101 and 102 in their first year in the College.

Students with the following scores must take both ENGL 101 and ENGL 102:

  • SAT Reading & Writing 539 or lower
  • ACT English 25 or lower

Students with the following scores should take ENGL 102:

  • SAT Reading & Writing 540-739
  • ACT English 26-29

Students with the following scores are exempted from ENGL 101 and 102, having demonstrated sufficient college level writing competency:

  • SAT Reading & Writing 740 or higher
  • ACT English 30 or higher

Students who have not taken the SAT or ACT but would like to take an optional written communication placement test should contact the division chair, Dr. Melissa Ryan. Students without test scores who do not take the placement test will be placed into ENGL 101.

AP Credits

Students who score a 4 on the AP English Language and Composition or AP English Literature and Composition test earn credit for ENGL 101 (4 credits) and should begin with ENGL 102.
Students who score a 5 on the AP English Language and Composition or AP English Literature and Composition test earn credit for ENGL 101 (4 credits) and 2 additional elective credits. They should also begin with ENGL 102.

First Prize: $4,000 in Scholarship Funding

All high school seniors and juniors are encouraged to participate in the competition for this scholarship. The first-place winner will be awarded a scholarship of $1,000 for each of the four years at Alfred University provided they enter the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and maintain a minimum of 3.0 index each year.

While only one scholarship is awarded every year, first-, second- and third-place entrants will receive prizes intended to help them begin their college careers. In addition to the scholarship, the first-place winner receives a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, and the second- and third-place winners receive $25 gift cards. These prizes will be awarded regardless of whether the winning students decide to attend Alfred University.

These awards, given in honor of a former member of the Alfred University English faculty, both recognize promising young writers and demonstrate our campus-wide commitment to writing excellence.

The procedure for the competition is as follows:

  1. Manuscripts must be submitted in both of the following categories:
    • Creative writing: 4 poems or a short story or a play, or a mixture of these genres.
    • Expository writing: a critical essay or a personal essay.
  2. Partial or incomplete manuscripts (missing either items from part 1 above) will be disqualified.
  3. Manuscripts should not exceed 12 pages.
  4. Entries must be typed and double-spaced.
  5. The portfolio must include a statement from the student's English teacher certifying the originality of the work.
  6. Entries can be submitted via USPS or email (with a scan of the certification of originality). The portfolio must be postmarked or emailed by March 31, 2023, and should be sent to:

    English Division
    Alfred University
    1 Saxon Drive
    Alfred, New York 14802

    or Email Your Submission

  7. Your name, address, email address, home phone, high school name, guidance counselor address, and phone number must be included on your entry (you can use this Tupper Entry Form Cover Letter).
  8. The English faculty will judge all entries.
  9. All winners will be notified in early April.

The purpose of this competition is to discover and reward excellence in writing. Alfred University, therefore, reserves the right not to make an award in any given year.

Questions? Email Melissa Ryan, chair of the English division, at ryanm@alfred.edu, or call the Alfred University Division of English at 607-871-2256.

Students who choose English as a major often wonder what kind of work they will be qualified to do. Consider: employers are always looking for individuals who can think critically, respond intelligently, analyze and synthesize information and communicate thoughts and ideas, especially in writing.

The skills you develop as an English major provide a wide range of career opportunities in areas such as publishing, teaching, advertising, event planning, business management, editing and public relations. This isn’t to say that some additional education or experience won’t be needed, but this major will give you a decided advantage in whatever field you choose.

Recent graduates include:

  • Teacher- Teach for America
  • Production Coordinator – Clarion Films
  • Freelance Writer – White Plains Times
  • Construction Administrator – Habitat for Humanity, New Orleans
  • Teacher/Assistant Director of Day Camp – Nature’s Classroom/Worchester Craft Center
  • Serials Assistant – University of Maine School of Law Library
  • Teaching Assistant – Head Start
  • Associate Manager – Hertz Local Edition
  • Instructor/Trainer; Assistant – Alfred University/Alfred Pharmacy
  • VISTA member for American Red Cross – AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Copyrights Assistant – Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Assistant Librarian – Burr & Burton Academy
  • Writing Specialist – Corning Community College
  • Reader/Test Evaluator – Kelly Services
  • Technical Writer – Rho, Inc.
  • Editor – American Institute of Physics

Similar Programs

Students majoring in English often bolster their education by either taking on a double major or adding a minor to their plan of study. Suggested complementary programs include:

All Undergraduate Programs