Academic Programs in English and Related Areas

The programs below are new as of January 2014. This page explains the programs and provides information about the transition from our old programs.

- Navigate your transition from the old literature track to the new one with this handy flowchart.
- Download the flowchart in pdf.
- Read our FAQ on the transition.
- Still have a question after reading this? Post it to the English Programs Support Forum.

BA in English/Literature — as of January 2014 (All students)

Total credits required to complete major: 40

Basic requirements16 credits
ENGL 203: Reader and Text: (Subtitle)
ENGL 203 Reader and Text: (Subtitle) is the prerequisite for English courses at the 300 and 400 levels.
4
One ENGL course in early literature (before 1700)4
One ENGL course in modern literature (1700-1900)4
One ENGL course in recent literature (1900- )4
Electives in English selected under advisement (a minimum of 12 hours must be in literature)24 credits

Notes:

  • Majors must successfully complete at least 8 credits of English at the 300 level.
  • Majors must successfully complete at least 16 credits of English at the 400 level.
  • Majors must successfully complete the self-reflective advising requirement. (Applies only to students who begin their program in fall 2014 or later.)
  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all students must successfully complete a minimum of 40 credits.
  • A grade of C- or above is required in any course applied to the program.
  • Courses in film studies (FMST) may be used to meet these requirements.

Learning Outcomes in English/Literature

100 level: General Interest

100-level courses in English explore a variety of topics and media types in a way that is accessible to majors and non-majors alike. All courses at this level help students to develop fundamental skills for critical reading and effective writing. English majors in the literature or creative writing track may count no more than one course at this level towards the requirements of the major.

In literature courses at the 100 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to read texts closely
  • the ability to write clear and effective English prose in accordance with conventions of standard English
200 level: Reader and Text

The 200 level in the literature track provides students with an introduction to the discipline through the study of particular topics, issues, genres, or authors. Under the general heading Reader and Text: (Subtitle), literature courses at this level help students understand the theoretical questions that inform all critical conversations about textual meaning and value. They provide a working vocabulary for analyzing texts, relating texts to contexts, and discussing the difference that theory makes. Through discussion and writing, they invite students to participate in the ongoing conversation about texts and theory that constitutes English as a field of study.

In literature courses at the 200 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to read texts closely
  • the ability to write clear and effective English prose in accordance with conventions of standard English
  • the ability to write analytically about texts in accordance with the conventions of textual criticism
  • an understanding of how criticism as a practice gives rise to questions about how to conduct that practice, questions that are constitutive of the discipline: e.g., questions concerning what we should read, why we should read, and how we should read
300 level: Connections

300-level courses in the literature track put a spotlight on the connections between texts and contexts. No matter what the title, a course at this level gives students an understanding of the dynamic relationship between individual texts and the broader culture from which they emerge. Many, though not all, of these courses are organized with an eye towards historical periods and movements. Those that concern written texts pay particular attention to the historical development of language.

In literature courses at the 300 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to read texts in relation to history
  • an understanding of how texts are related to social and cultural categories (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ability), enterprises (e.g. philosophy, science, politics), and institutions (e.g., of religion, of education)
  • an understanding of how language as a system and linguistic change over time inform literature as aesthetic object, expressive medium, and social document
400 level: Investigations

400-level courses in the literature track invite students to study a topic, issue, genre, or author in depth. No matter what the title, a course at this level engages students in some degree of research into published critical perspectives on primary works or into important primary contextual documents. The quantity of reading and writing required at this level is typically greater than at the 3 level. However, students who have completed a 200-level literature course should regard themselves as adequately prepared to take courses at either the 3 or the 4 level.

In literature courses at the 400 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to "join the conversation" that is always ongoing among critics and scholars regarding texts, authors, and topics by engaging with secondary sources
  • an in-depth understanding of a single author, a small group of authors, or a narrowly-defined topic, theme, or issue

BA in English/Creative Writing — as of January 2014 (all students)

Admission to the Creative Writing track is highly selective. To obtain admission, students must submit an application, available from the department, together with a sample of their writing. The application deadline, announced each semester on the department website, falls before the beginning of pre-registration, approximately the seventh week of the semester. Students who declare a major in English/Literature will be changed to English/Creative Writing upon acceptance into the track.

Total credits required to complete major: 44

Basic requirements28 credits
ENGL 203: Reader and Text: (Subtitle)4
ENGL 201: Foundations of Creative Writing4
ENGL 402: Senior Seminar in Creative Writing4
Four advanced workshop courses (from ENGL 301, ENGL 302, ENGL 303, ENGL 304, ENGL 305, ENGL 307, ENGL 426)16
Electives16 credits
3 ENGL elective courses in literature (at least one must be at the 400 level)12
1 elective from ENGL 202, ENGL 301, ENGL 302, ENGL 303, ENGL 304, ENGL 305, ENGL 307, ENGL 426, FMST 310, ENGL courses in literature4

Notes:

  • Admission to the Creative Writing track is by selection. Students who wish to pursue the track must submit an application and a sample of their writing.
  • At least 3 of the student's elective courses must be drawn from literature.
  • At least one of the student's courses in literature must be at the 400 level.
  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all students must successfully complete a minimum of 44 credits.
  • A grade of C- or above is required in any course applied to the program.

Learning Outcomes in English/Creative Writing

200 level: Foundations

The 200 level in the creative writing track provides students with an introduction to the discipline through the study of various genres of creative writing including poetry, fiction, and creative-non-fiction. Creative writing courses at this level help students understand what it means to read as a writer and write with an awareness of the craft elements within the different genres. They provide a working vocabulary for analyzing texts and critiquing peers' writings. Students discuss the choices writers make (and why) and consider those choices in their own writing and editing endeavors.

In creative writing courses at the 200 level, students will demonstrate

  • the ability to read texts closely
  • the ability to write clear and effective English prose in accordance with conventions of standard English
  • an understanding of differences between and requirements of genre
  • knowledge of craft and technique in genres under study
  • proficiency at critiquing peer and published work
300 level: Studio

The 300-level creative writing courses are advanced writing workshops in which students will engage in more in-depth study in the various genres. Students will read published works in the class genre, but the majority of the reading material is produced by the students. Because students write a majority of the workshop's reading material it is essential that the workshop participants have successfully met the learning outcomes of the 200-level writing classes for the course to maintain the rigor necessary at this level of their development. All students must submit a writing application for entrance into the 300-level writing workshops, and those applications must be approved by the course professors. Students will write pieces in the course's genre and submit them to their peers for written and verbal critique that the writer will use to revise the work.

In creative writing courses at the 300 level, students will demonstrate

  • knowledge of elements, modes and forms of chosen genre
  • proficiency at critiquing peer and published work
  • the ability to incorporate criticism into revision of creative work
400 level: Writing in the World

400-level creative writing courses prepare students for the more public aspects of the writing life, including publication and readings. These courses form a bridge between writing for the classroom and writing within a larger literary community. Students will attend various readings (including those of their peers) and literary events to learn about opportunities for writers and ways of sustaining a literary life beyond Geneseo.

In creative writing courses at the 200 level, students will demonstrate

  • proficiency at presenting work to readers in public readings, publication or exhibits
  • an understanding of the processes of revision, submission, publication
  • knowledge of contemporary writers and literary journals

BA in Comparative Literature — as of January 2014 (all students)

The flexibility to combine courses from several national literatures and to study literature along with other disciplines is the hallmark of the Comparative Literature major. Students may also count courses which read literature in translation; however, a minimum of eight credits must come from upper-level (300- or 400-level) literature courses in a language other than English.

Total credits required to complete major: 38-46

Basic requirements26-30 credits
CMLT 200 Reading Transnationally: (Subtitle)4
CMLT 499 Directed Study (Senior Thesis)4
One course in ENGL or Languages and Literatures with an emphasis on genre3-4
One course with an emphasis on theory in ENGL, ARTH, PHIL, or Languages and Literatures (e.g., PHIL 102, PHIL 330, PHIL 340, PHIL 375, HIST 220)3-4
Two upper-level (300- or 400- level) literature courses in a foreign language6
Two courses in period studies (ENGL or Languages and Literatures)6-8
Electives12-16 credits
Four additional courses (ENGL, Languages and Literatures, and fields of interdisciplinary relevance to the student's interest)12-16

Notes:

  • No more than 18 hours of coursework in literature in a foreign language may be applied to the major.
  • One of the courses in period studies should complement the period to be covered in the student's senior thesis.
  • At least two of the student's elective courses must be literature courses in ENGL or Languages and Literatures. (The other two may be drawn, under advisement, from fields of interdisciplinary relevance to the student's interest.)
  • Majors must successfully complete the self-reflective advising requirement. (Applies only to students who begin their program in fall 2014 or later.)
  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all students must successfully complete a minimum of 38 credits.
  • A grade of C- or above is required in any course applied to the program.

Minor in English — as of January 2014 (all students)

Total credits required to complete minor: 24

Basic requirements4 credits
ENGL 203 Reader and Text: (Subtitle)4
Electives20 credits
Five additional courses in ENGL20

Notes:

  • At least two of the student's elective courses must be drawn from the advanced level i.e., advanced workshops in creative writing at the 300-level, and any combination of literature courses at the 400-level.
  • No more than one course at the 100-level may be applied to the minor.
  • ENGL 201: Foundations of Creative Writing, is a prerequisite for advanced workshops in creative writing and that admission to these workshops is by application to the creative writing faculty.
  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all students must successfully complete a minimum of 24 credits.
  • A grade of C- or above is required in any course applied to the program.
  • Courses in film studies (FMST) may be used to meet these requirements.

Concentration in English for Education majors — as of January 2014 (all students)

Total credits required to complete concentration: 32

Basic requirements4 credits
ENGL 203 Reader and Text: (Subtitle)4
Electives28 credits
Seven additional courses in ENGL28

Notes:

  • Concentrators must complete ENGL 203 to take literature courses at 300 or 400 level.
  • Concentrators must take one course designated "early" (pre-1700), one course designated "modern" (1700-1900), and one course designated "recent" (1900- ).
  • Concentrators must successfully complete at least 8 credits of English at the 300 level.
  • Concentrators must successfully complete at least 8 credits of English at the 400 level.
  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all concentrators must successfully complete a minimum of 32 credits.
  • No more than 4 credits at the 100 level may be applied to the concentration.

BA in Theatre/English — as of January 2014 (All students)

The Theatre/English program is administered jointly by the Department of English and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Total credits required to complete major: 49

Theatre requirements25 credits
THEA 129 Stagecraft1
THEA 130 Introduction to Technical Theatre3
THEA 140 Play Analysis for the Theatre3
THEA 202 History of Theatre to the 17th Century3
THEA 203 History of the Theatre Since the 17th Century3
THEA 204 Asian Theatre3
THEA 221 Acting I3
THEA 222 Directing I3
THEA 305 Theatre Topics OR THEA 390 Theatre Seminar3
English requirements24 credits
ENGL 203 Reader and Text: (Subtitle)
ENGL 203 Reader and Text: (Subtitle) is the prerequisite for English courses at the 300 and 400 levels.
4
One course in British or American drama (from ENGL 290, ENGL 387, ENGL 486,or appropriate subtitles of other ENGL courses)4
ENGL 454 Shakespeare (or other ENGL course with Shakespeare subtitle)4
ENGL 386 Western Drama 1870-19454
ENGL 385 Contemporary Drama4
ENGL elective in dramatic literature or creative writing4

Notes:

  • 16 hours of English must be taken at the 300 or 400 level.
  • The THEA/ENGL major does not fulfill the requirements for New York State Provisional teaching certification in English. An additional 6 hours of English electives must be completed by those seeking certification. Certification in Theatre is a K-12 certification not currently offered at Geneseo; students can obtain secondary certification in Theatre with 30 hours of coursework.

Minor in Film Studies — as of January 2014 (all students)

The Film Studies minor provides students with substantial interdisciplinary study of the history, aesthetics, and culture of film. Students will acquire a critical vocabulary for analyzing the art of film and a technical vocabulary for discussing the craft of filmmaking. They will also learn about film history and the development of its many genres and movements. Courses are mostly designated under English or Film Studies, but may be taken with appropriate subtitles from other departments. The interdisciplinary approach brings diverse perspectives to the analysis of film and its role in our culture. Although the film studies minor is intended only to support a chosen major field of study, students may elect to explore possible graduate study in film studies or careers in filmmaking and its related fields.

Total credits required to complete minor: 24

Basic requirements12 credits
FMST 100 F/Introduction to Film Studies4
FMST 270 Video Production4
FMST 409 Film Theory and Criticism4
Electives (Three courses from the options below. Some courses may be taken twice under different subtitles.)12 credits
FMST 310 Screewriting4
FMST 369 Connections in Film: (Subtitle)4
FMST 459 Film Authors: (Subtitle)4
FMST 499 Directed Study4
ENGL 329 American Visions: (subtitle)
With appropriate subtitle such as The Film Hero or American Avant Garde Film
4
ENGL 360 Post-Colonial Literature: (subtitle)
With appropriate subtitle such as Hong Kong Action Film
4

Notes:

  • 3-credit courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill certain of the requirements above, but all students must complete a minimum of 24 credits.
  • A grade of C- or above is required in any course applied to the program.

New Programs FAQ

Who will be affected?

All students in these programs, no matter what year they entered Geneseo, will graduate under the new major. Some of the courses that were required under the old programs will no longer exist; others may not be offered often enough for students to take them in time to graduate on schedule. Course numbers will be completely revised and will run from the 100 level to the 400 level. Completing the old major will become exceedingly difficult if not impossible. It will be necessary for all students to move to the new programs in spring 2014.

400-level courses? Won't those be hard?

No harder than the current 300-level courses. Like many of the courses currently offered at the 300 level, the new 400-level courses will treat topics and writers in depth. Courses at the 300 level will be similar in design to those currently at the 200 level. The 100 level will consist mainly of courses open to both majors and non-majors.

If I started under one of the current programs, will the new one add to the requirements I have to meet?

It shouldn't. In general, all the new programs have fewer requirements than the old ones, allowing students more choice in their selection of courses. Giving students greater freedom to pursue their interests is one aim of these program revisions. In the rare case where a new program asks you to complete a requirement that didn't apply to you under the old program, you should contact the department chair to seek a waiver of the requirement.

If you're in the literature track or you're an Education major with an English concentration, our handy flowchart will help you figure out how our existing coursework will translate to the new requirements. (Concentrators: the flowchart items most relevant to you are the ones concerning ENGL 170/203, the three historical periods, and the number of courses required at each course level.)

One requirement of the new programs — self-reflective advising (described below) — will be optional for all students who began their programs before fall 2014.

Another requirement — a new prerequisite course numbered ENGL 203 and titled "Reader and Text: (Subtitle)" — will only be required of students who have not already taken ENGL 170, "The Practice of Criticism." If you've already taken ENGL 170, you will not have to take ENGL 203.

Students who began their programs before fall 2014 will not have to complete the total number of hours in the new programs (e.g., 40 in English/Literature) as long as they have met all other requirements in the new programs. This provision ensures that ENGL 170, for example, serves as a true equivalent for ENGL 203, even though the former course is worth 3 credits and the latter worth 4.

How will the new programs be different?

To begin with, as of spring 2014 all courses in English will be worth 4 credits. The reason for this change is explained below. To offset the increase in the number of credits per course, the number of courses to be completed in each program will decrease. For example, the BA in English/Literature currently requires a student to complete 12 three-credit courses, for a total of 36 hours. The new BA in English /Literature requires the student to take 10 four-credit courses, for a total of 40 hours. The full requirements of each program appear immediately below:

Can you help me compare the current programs and the new ones?

You'll find a table comparing current and new versions of each program here.

Why have the programs changed?

The move to 4-credit courses is intended to give faculty the opportunity to treat course content in greater depth, and to make more space for active learning both within and outside the classroom through such means as in-class writing workshops, individual and small-group student-faculty conferences, collaborative web projects, online discussion, and service learning in the community. At the same time, this move will enable many majors to reduce their course load from 5 courses to 4 most semesters; as a result, they should be able to devote more attention to each course.

The new requirements represent an attempt to build the student's course of study on answers to a handful of basic questions: What is it that we do in "English" or "Comparative Literature" or "Film Studies"? What skills must students possess in order to do it? What must they know? What skills and knowledge are more fundamental and must therefore be developed earliest? And finally: How can a program of study give each student maximum flexibility to combine disciplinary skills and knowledge with his or her own emerging interests and career goals?

The programs we've built are all designed to help students become informed, critical readers of texts — including, but not limited to, printed texts — capable of engaging in closely reasoned, evidence-based discussion about those texts in a variety of media — including, but not limited to, the written essay. They're also designed to give students a wide range of choice in the texts they study, while simultaneously prompting students to make these choices thoughtfully and to find patterns of meaning across the courses in which the texts are encountered.

In English/Creative Writing, the program is designed, as well, to help students progress from more general to more specific capabilities as practitioners of writing as a craft.

In both English/Literature and English/Creative Writing, courses are designed to help students meet overall program learning outcomes in stages. Each course level focuses on particular outcomes, as enumerated above.

What is the self-reflective advising requirement, and how will it affect me?

"Self-reflective advising" describes a new requirement that applies only to majors in English and related programs who enrolled at SUNY Geneseo in fall 2014 or later. For all other students, it's optional.

The purpose of the requirement is twofold: first, to help students choose courses that align with their developing interests and future plans, and second, to help them make connections among their courses at several points in their passage through the major.

Students engage in self-reflective advising by sketching out some preliminary goals in writing soon after becoming majors, then writing down their reflections on patterns of meaning among their courses on a designated timetable. The final reflection should be an effort to look back on the whole experience of majoring in the student's chosen program. What was learned? How did it all fit together? What new directions of thought has it prompted?

Students will do their self-reflective writing on the web, in a space where it can be seen by their advisers, who will attempt to offer guidance informed by what their advisees say about their interests and learning. Students will have the option to share their reflections with a wider audience, too: selected individuals in the Geneseo network, for example, or the world at large.

Students are encouraged to download the contents of their reflective self-advising record when they graduate for use in preparing for job interviews.

What happened to the English department's film courses? I don't see them in KnightWeb or the Master Schedule!

For the most part, courses in film are now being offered under the FMST (Film Studies) prefix. You'll find these courses listed separately under this prefix in KnightWeb and the Master Schedule.

FMST courses may be used interchangeably with ENGL courses in fulfillment of English major and minor.

What if I have more questions?

We expect that many questions will arise during the transition to the new programs in English, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies. Your adviser should be able to answer most of them. In addition, you can always search or post to the English Programs Support Forum.