frequently asked questions
How do I declare an English major or minor in English?
Consult with the Department Chair, Associate Professor Mary Grimm, about formally declaring or changing an English major and about choosing an advisor. To declare a film minor, see Robert Spadoni. All other minors should see the Chair.
How do I choose an advisor, change an advisor, or know when I need to see my advisor?
Advisors get assigned at the time the student declares the major or minor. All regular English faculty serve as advisors, so in most cases the choice is up to the student. For obvious reasons, the usual practice is to select a faculty member from whom one has already taken coursework or with whom one expects to be working fairly often. If the student has no special preference, the Chair can assign an advisor.
In some cases the student's interest dictates the choice. Film minors, and majors with an interest in film, are normally advised by Professor Spadoni and creative writing students by one of the creative writing faculty, for example. Students expecting to seek secondary school teaching credentials should be advised by Professor Judith Oster.
To change advisors, check with the department Chair, Mary Grimm. (It is reasonably common to switch advisors, as one's interests change or as one develops closer relationships with this or that faculty member.)
Each student should plan to meet with his or her faculty advisor at least once a semester and preferably more often. Note that the flexibility of the department's programs makes consultation with an advisor especially important in planning a course of study.
Where can I find more information about English course offerings than is available in the roster or the University Bulletin?
Each semester at preregistration time the department publishes paper and web versions of the course descriptions to be offered in the following semester. Paper copies are available outside the department office and in Undergraduate Studies. The electronic version is indexed on the Course Description page. In addition, advisors can usually tell you a semester or two in advance what courses are to be offered. Because many 300-level English courses are only offered every other year, this can be very important information in planning a schedule.
How can I do an independent study course or project?
ENGL 390 (Independent Study and Creative Projects) is an individual, tutorial course designed for juniors and seniors who have developed plans for working on a project or studying a topic not otherwise available in the regular curriculum. A student must get the approval of the supervising faculty member with whom the student intends to work before registering for ENGL 390, and it is almost always a good idea that the student have previously taken a course or courses from the supervising professor. The student must also file with the department chair a description of the project. Forms for the description are available in the department office, 106 Guilford.
No more than 6 hours of ENGL 390 can be counted toward the hours required for the English major or minor.
What special programs or curricula are available?
1. DOUBLE MAJORS. The flexibility of the English major often makes it possible for students to combine English with another major. A number of students do this in order to focus intensively in the humanities and arts, with such combinations as English/History and English/Theater being the most common. Others do this in anticipation of professional school, as in the frequent pre-med pairings of English/Psychology or English/Biology. Students pursuing two majors should plan to confer each semester with advisors in both departments.
2. JUNIOR YEAR ABROAD. Any full-time student with a 3.0 average is eligible to apply for the Junior Year Abroad program. In recent years, English Majors have studied for a year or a semester in England, France, India, and Australia. Interested students should consult their advisors or Claudia Anderson in the Office of Undergraduate Studies well before the junior year. Majors and minors are reminded that at least half the semester hours required by the Department must be taken at CWRU.
3. TUTORING OR CLASSROOM TEACHING. Juniors or seniors interested in assisting with ENGL 150 or tutoring in the Writing Center should consult Professor Kimberly Emmons before the beginning of the semester in which they wish to participate. Credit for such work is available through ENGL 392. ENGL 392 may not be taken more than twice, and no more than 3 semester hours can be counted toward the hours required for the English major or minor.
4. INTEGRATED GRADUATE STUDIES. Students with a 3.5 average in English may apply during the junior year to enter the IGS program, which allows one to begin graduate studies in the senior year and to complete an M.A. in English at the same time as the B.A. Normally the IGS program requires a fifth year of full-time study; some students need more time and a few have completed both the B.A. and the M.A. in their fourth year. The Department particularly recommends the IGS program to students who plan to enter a Ph.D. program at another university or who expect to seek admission to highly competitive professional schools. Application for the program normally requires a writing sample, two letters of recommendation, and submission of Graduate Record Examination scores. For further information, contact Professor Kurt Koenigsberger, the department's Director of Graduate Studies.
5. MINOR IN FILM: Designed to accommodate both busy student schedules and a wide range of possible interests in the cinema, the Film minor is a flexible, 15-credit hour requirement. For further information, contact Associate Professor Robert Spadoni.