The Undergraduate Major

Female student writing in notebook sitting outside on campus.


The B. A. in English allows students to explore the study of literature and interpretation of novels, stories, poems and essays through critical approaches and writing, build the skills to craft meaningful creative work, and develop skills in professional writing and editing. Through classes, as well as research opportunities and internships, students build skills in critical reading and writing, research, and instruction that support a range of career fields in business and education.

The English Major

Students take a range of classes in American, British, and world literature including areas such as African American and Native American literature, rhetoric and composition, gender studies, film studies, health and healing, and sound culture studies. Classes on crime fiction, horror, and science fiction invite students to consider popular narrative forms.

▼   Requirements for the English Major

General Requirements

  • 2.0 GPA or better.
  • At least 120 total hours. (NOTE: Even if all other requirements are met, you might need additional hours. You must have 120 to graduate.)
  • 30 hours of 300- and/or 400-level coursework at USA.
  • 15 hours of 300- and/or 400-level coursework in English at USA.
  • 9 hours of 400-level coursework in English at USA.
  • 39 hours of English coursework, excluding freshman composition. (NOTE: Only four 200-level courses can count toward this requirement.)
  • Minor field, other than English. At least 9 hours must be completed at USA.
  • Portfolio requirement (.pdf)
  • Distribution requirements A-H (below).

Distribution Requirements

A) Survey Sequence (6 hrs). One of the following pairs: 215/216, 225/226, or 235/236.

B) Gateway course (3 hrs). EH 300 should be completed prior to enrollment in any 400-level English course. (Also fulfils technology requirement.)

C) Literature prior to 1660 (3 hrs). At least one of the following: 314, 315, 320, 321, 324, 461, 465, 467, 470, 471, 472. NOTE: Classical Mythology (EH/PHL/REL/CLA 310) cannot satisfy this requirement.

D) British or American literature, 1660-1900 (3 hrs). At least one of the following: 331, 332, 334, 340, 342, 343, 351, 352, 353, 354, 462, 474, 475.

E) Literature after 1900 (3 hrs). At least one of the following: 360, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 369, 380, 463, 468, 476, 478, 479.

F) Criticism, theory, rhetoric (3 hrs). At least one of the following: 402, 421, 422.

G) Diversity, equity, and inclusion (3 hrs). At least one of the following: 207, 335, 357, 468, 480.

H) English electives (15 hrs). Five additional EH courses. (Any will qualify, not just those listed above.  See limits on 200-level courses.)

Concentration in Creative Writing

Students have the option of a concentration in creative writing, which offers workshops, craft classes, and topics classes across genres. The Stokes Center for Creative Writing in English fosters a vibrant writers’ community that showcases local and national writers and engages students in community projects

▼   Requirements for the Creative Writing Concentration

CW Requirements

To major in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, all requirements for the major (listed above) must be met.  In addition, creative writing students must take:

  • EH 200, EH 391, and EH 395.  (9 credit hours)
  • At least one 400-level CW course.  (3 credit hours)
  • One additional CW course.  (3 credit hours)

The five courses required for a Concentration in Creative Writing simultaneously count towards the English major's five-course elective requirement.

CW Courses

The department's creative writing courses are as follow; required courses are marked with an asterisk:

  • EH 200: Introduction to Creative Writing*
  • EH 391: Fiction Writing: Crafting the Story*
  • EH 393: Creative Nonfiction Writing
  • EH 395: Poetry Writing: Spoken Word and Other Forms*
  • EH 483: Advanced Fiction Writing: Forms and Workshop
  • EH 485: Advanced Poetry Writing: The Contemporary Lyric
  • EH 487: Screenwriting for Film
  • EH 488: Screenwriting for Television
  • EH 497: Adv. Creative Nonfiction Writing

Concentration in Professional Writing and Editing

The concentration in professional writing and editing is designed for students who wish to major in English and to study literature while also acquiring specific job skills in professional writing and editing. The concentration prepares students for careers in freelance professional and technical writing and provides essential training for positions in business or government that emphasize written communication. 

▼   Requirements for Professional Writing and Editing Concentration

Professional Writing and Editing Requirements

To major in English with a Concentration in Professional Writing and Editing, all requirements for the major (listed above) must be met.  In addition, Professional Writing and Editing students must take:

  • EH 372:  Technical Writing OR EH 373:  Writing in the Professions
  • EH 404:  Grant Proposal Writing
  • EH 405:  Professional Editing and Document Design

In addition, students should select from these classes to reach 18 hours:

  • EH 371:  Approaches to English Grammar
  • EH 372: Technical Writing
  • EH 373:  Writing in the Professions 
  • EH 481:  Studies in Composition and Rhetoric (can be repeated for credit)
  • EH 496:  Professional Studies/Internship (1-2 hours, can be repeated for credit)

The six courses required for a Concentration in Professional Writing and Editing simultaneously count towards the English major's five-course elective requirement.

Honors in English

Students who want to build credentials for future opportunities can benefit from pursuing Honors in English. Whether you are interested in literature, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition, the English Honors thesis provides you with a polished writing sample, advanced skills, and the chance to demonstrate your own motivation and initiative to a prospective employer or graduate program.

▼   Requirements for Honors in English

Honors Requirements

To receive a B.A. in English from the University of South Alabama with departmental honors, a student must:

  • Complete all the standard requirements for the major in English.
  • Maintain a 3.5 overall GPA (University requirement) and a 3.5 GPA in all course work in English.
  • Receive permission from the Department Chair and agreement from a department member to serve as mentor.
  • 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 39. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: the latest version of the USA Undergraduate Bulletin is the official source for all degree requirements.