University Bulletin 2019-20

Majors in Arts and Sciences may be completed with a minimum of 120 semester hours unless designated otherwise. At least 30 hours of course work, which represents 25% of the required 120 hours, must be at the upper division level in order to fulfill the University’s residency requirement. At least 15 of the 30 upper-division hours must be in the major or concentration area. An overall grade-point-average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for graduation. In addition, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the student’s major or concentration area.

Major in English Credit Hours
Requirements: A minimum of 39 semester hours, exclusive of Freshman English. 39
Majors are required to take at least one survey sequence 6
EH 215/216 or
EH 225/226 or
EH 235/236
In addition to the survey sequence EH 300 must be completed prior to taking any 400-level courses 3
Any additional 200-level courses may be used to fulfill the 39-hour requirement; however, no more than four 200-level courses can count toward the major.  
The remaining hours must come from courses at the 300 level or above and include:  
1.  At least one course in literature prior to 1660 3
EH 314
EH 315
EH 321
EH 322
EH 323
EH 324 
EH 461
EH 465
EH 467
EH 470
EH 471
EH 472
2.  At least one course in British or American literature from 1660 to 1900 3
EH 331
EH 332
EH 334
EH 340
EH 342
EH 343
EH 351
EH 352
EH 353
EH 354
EH 462
EH 474
EH 475
3.  At least one course in literature after 1900 3
EH 360
EH 362
EH 363
EH 364
EH 365
EH 366
EH 369
EH 380
EH 463
EH 468
EH 476
EH 478
EH 479
4.  One of the following courses 3
EH 402
EH 421
EH 422
5.  At least three 400 level English courses are required 9
6.  A writing portfolio, to be submitted in the student's senior year, that includes two critical essays written for coursework in the Department as well as one reflective synthesis letter (details and deadlines are available in the English Department office).  
A student wishing to deviate from the standard curriculum and devise a unique program of study must demonstrate in writing to the English Advising Committee that such a program best serves that student's intellectual needs or career goals.  
General Education Requirements For English Majors  
General Education Requirements for English are specified in the College of Arts and Sciences section. Note that Area II requirements are partially satisfied and the Sequence Requirement is fully satisfied by the major requirements specified above.  

Department of English website

Through its focus on the interpretation, analysis, and production of literary and other texts, the English Department teaches students how those texts shape and are shaped by the world around them. In so doing, the Department helps students acquire the critical skills they need to analyze and participate in these interactions and contribute to the shaping of their worlds. The faculty's teaching and research in literature, creative writing, and composition/rhetoric combine to foster excellence in critical reading, creative thinking, and effective writing.

For all students, the Department provides the composition skills essential for success at the University and offers courses introducing the cultural diversity and historical breadth of British, American, and world literatures. For students majoring or minoring in English, the Department teaches critical strategies needed for intensive study in creative writing, professional writing, and in diverse literatures in English. For students pursuing graduate study in English, the Department provides advanced training in creative writing, literary analysis, rhetoric, methods of scholarly research, and critical theory. In all cases, by asking students to read, discuss, and write about a wide variety of texts, the Department promotes an inclusive and evolving understanding of English Studies.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100, First Year Experience, as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry. EH 300 will fulfill the technology proficiency requirement.

Honors in English

To be awarded Departmental Honors in English a student must:

  1. Complete all the standard requirements for the major in English.
  2. Maintain a 3.5 overall GPA (University requirement) and a 3.5 GPA in all course work in English.
  3. Receive permission from the Department Chair and agreement from a Department member to serve as mentor.
  4. Complete a Senior Honors Thesis (EH 499), with a grade of "A" or "B" in addition to the standard requirements for the English major. EH 499, Senior Honors Thesis (six semester hours credit), may be counted toward three hours of the 39 hours required for the major and toward three hours of the nine 400-level hours required for the major. Thus, the student receiving honors in English will be required to take a total of 42 hours in English instead of 36. In EH 499 the student will normally take three hours in the Fall semester for research and three in the Spring for writing. A final committee of three or more faculty members, including a representative of the University Honors College, will conduct an oral defense. The thesis must be approved by the director of the University Honors College.

PLEASE NOTE:  To be eligible to undertake an honors thesis in creative writing, the student must first complete four creative writing courses at the University of South Alabama.  This policy on creative writing theses not only applies to students seeking departmental honors but also to students enrolled in the Honors College.

Graduate studies

The Master of Arts degree program in English is designed to meet the needs of students pursuing a terminal M.A. and of those planning to work toward the Ph.D. and a career in university teaching. The terminal M.A. serves such career tracks as junior college or secondary-school teaching and writing or editing in the business or corporate community. Creative writers find the degree meaningful in careers both in and out of the academic community since the M.A. provides guidance towards book publication and time to study successful literary texts.

Requirements for admission

Students are admitted each semester. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission):

  1. For the Literature Concentration, applicants normally have an undergraduate major or minor in English or at least 21 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level, at least 12 of these hours in upper-division literature courses. For the Creative Writing Concentration, applicants normally have 15 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level. Students lacking prior coursework can complete additional upper-division courses in English to strengthen their applications.
  2. Applicants to graduate programs in Arts and Sciences typically have a minimum GPA of at least a 3.0 on all undergraduate work. In exceptional cases, applicants may be considered with at least a 2.5 GPA on all undergraduate work, or at least a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. The English Department normally requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 in junior- and senior-level courses presented in fulfillment of requirement 1.
  3. Applicants normally have a score of at least 153 on the Verbal section of a GRE General Test taken within the past seven years. Admission with a lower Verbal GRE score requires specific approval of the Department’s Graduate Committee. In rare cases, applicants may be admitted provisionally without submitting a score, but one must be submitted before the student can progress to the second semester.
  4. All applicants should submit a personal statement of no more than 500 words, a writing sample of 5-15 pages in the area of concentration (creative writing or literature) and three letters of recommendation.* 
  5. All applicants for whom English is a second language should submit a TOEFL IBT score of at least 79 or IELTS score of at least 6.5. (Note that ESL applicants must apply through the International Admissions Office at USA.)

*Students must specify their concentration at the time of application and may not thereafter change concentrations without the specific approval of the English Department's Graduate Committee.

Graduate assistantships

The English Department awards both teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Teaching assistantships involve responsibility for freshman composition classes. Graduate students holding research assistantships are usually assigned tasks involving tutoring, research, editing, or administrative/clerical tasks. Awards are normally made for the academic year; occasionally, assistantships become available for spring semester. Applications are taken continuously; competition for appointments begins in May for the following year. See Graduate Coordinator for information and application. (See also Bulletin section on Graduate School, "Assistantships and Fellowships.")