BA in English

The BA in English provides students with the critical, expressive, and cultural skills necessary to negotiate life in a competitive world.

With a Bachelor of Arts in English from VCU, you’ll gain knowledge of diverse literary cultures and traditions and their relationship to contemporary life. Along the way, you will develop an appreciation and practical knowledge of different types of literary expression, hone your analytic and critical thinking abilities, and acquire the foundation for advanced work in literary studies, communications or editing. You’ll also sharpen your skills as a writer – and that can lead to jobs in multiple industries, a career as a writer or a stepping-stone to an advanced degree.

The department has coursework in traditional subjects—Shakespeare, for example—as well as the newest areas for study and also offer classes focused on Multiethnic Literature, Queer Literature, Women Writers, African American literature, and Prison Literature. You can also take courses on Fiction into Film, Fan Fiction, Popular Culture, or Digital Rhetoric, and so much more. VCU English coursework is designed to allow you to take a deep-dive into a wide array of diverse texts and develop your communication skills.

Major Requirements

The English major is structured to have students begin and end with a small, seminar-like course (English 301 Introduction to the Major and English 499 Senior Seminar) that creates a supportive, collaborative environment in which to foster sustained discussion, engaged interaction with the text, and a direct relationship with the faculty member.

In addition to these two required courses, we ask students to take courses from the literature of diversity, literature representing a range of historical periods, and linguistics, writing, or criticism. Students also have the opportunity to take electives.

A professional academic advisor helps you identify those courses that best meet your interests and aspirations. The curriculum is also structured so that you can also pursue one of our five minors in addition to the major.

Distinguished Major Program

The Distinguished Major Program offers high-achieving students the opportunity to write a scholarly, creative, or scholarly/creative hybrid thesis during their senior year. A sustained and in-depth engagement with a topic in order to develop one’s own ideas is the hallmark of advanced achievement in the humanities, and this program offers students the chance to complete such a study. In a two-semester (6 credits) sequence, students admitted to the program work with a faculty advisor to create a 30–40 page thesis suitable for application to graduate study in MA, MFA, or PhD programs as well as for publication in an undergraduate journal. Rising seniors with a major GPA of 3.75 or higher and an overall GPA of 3.33 or higher are eligible for the program. Students who complete the program in high standing as determined by their faculty advisors and a select group of other Department of English faculty will be recognized at the Department of English commencement ceremony. For more information about the program, please contact the director of the Distinguished Majors Program, Gretchen Comba at

mijin cho

English majors, more than anything, are taught to think critically, analytically and differently. We are taught to expand our view and focus into perspectives we have never been introduced to. For example, I learned to take philosophical, psychological, religious and medical perspectives on various literature — from Shakespeare plays to Appalachian folktales to Bible verses — throughout my curriculum. That expansion of the mind is so valuable and critical to any future career and goal.

MiJin Cho, English student