The English Department’s distinctions start with the renowned faculty. Every professor—no matter how distinguished, no matter how many books he or she has written—teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. And all teach primarily in small seminars, so undergraduates get the best of what a research university has to offer while getting the kind of personal attention ordinarily possible only at a small liberal arts college. Courses provide both the core of a liberal arts education and the basis for the advanced study of literature, and range from historical surveys (British Literature from Chaucer to Pope; The Nineteenth Century Novel), introductory courses in critical method (Introduction to Literary Study), to advanced seminars in particular periods, authors, genres, and literary issues (Class and Fiction; The Postmodern Novel; Literature and the Holocaust).

Academic Details

Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Undergraduate English majors take courses ranging from historical surveys of English and American literature and introductory courses in critical method to advanced courses and seminars in particular periods, authors, genres, and literary issues. Students must also complete two introductory non-English humanities courses and study a foreign language beyond the elementary level.

Honors Opportunities

All students who graduate with a cumulative G.P.A. in the department of 3.6 or higher are eligible to graduate with honors. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher in English Department courses at the end of the fall term of their junior year also have the option to write a senior essay. Students choosing to pursue the senior essay work closely with a faculty adviser to produce a 30-35 page paper over the course of one semester. Many students bound for graduate study in English take advantage of this option to produce the required writing sample for their graduate school applications.

Student Stories


All upper-level seminars, which make up the majority of the department’s teaching, engage students in an intensive course of study that provides them with a taste of what professional literary critics do. Additionally, students have the opportunity to pursue semester-long courses of independent study on topics of their own choosing with individual faculty members of relevant expertise.


Ashley Hongisto ‘09 interned at a New York City literary agency and publishing house, Ruthie Chen ’15 interned at the Baltimore Sun, and Zoe Ovans ’15 spent a summer at Harvard Business Publishing, the business magazine attached to Harvard Business School. Other English majors have interned at large publishing firms in New York—Simon & Schuster, for example—the City Paper in Baltimore, and Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta.

Study Abroad

Oxford University and others in the UK are the most popular destinations for English majors, but students have also participated in study-abroad programs in France, Ireland, Italy, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Spain.


Related Student Groups

Baltimore by Hand

Black and Blue Jay

English Club

Story Pals

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

Word Planet

Campus & Baltimore Resources

George Peabody Library

Folger Shakespeare Library

The Library of Congress


Majors & Minors Programs