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Literature Track

An Overview of the Literature Track 

Introduction to ShakespeareStudents drawn to the literature track of the English major might go on to pursue careers in law, in teaching at all levels, in business and finance, and even in medicine-indeed, in any area that demands sharp critical and analytical thinking and writing. Some combine the English major with the college’s minor in journalism to prepare for successful professional lives in newspaper work, magazine feature writing, advertising, professional editing, public relations, and book publishing. Students who declare the literature track of the English major at Colorado College are required to take courses in literary theory, poetry analysis and interpretation, Shakespeare, prose fiction, and alternative literature. English majors are required to take courses based in the following historical periods: Middle Ages and Renaissance excluding Shakespeare; English or American literature, 1660-1830; 19th Century British or American literature; 20th Century English or American literature. Senior English majors take a one or two-block seminar on a specific subject at the end of which they write a senior essay.

Requirements Checklist - Previous Major Requirements

Requirements Checklist - Revised Major Requirements

Junior Seminar Eligibility Form

Junior Seminar FAQs


A student majoring in English on the Literature Track must satisfactorily complete at least 11 units. Students on the Literature track may not use a single course to fulfill more than one requirement in the major, except in the case of the junior seminar, which may also fulfill a requirement from group 2 or 3.  In all other cases, courses may meet multiple requirements, but students must choose one.

1) Gateway courses (2 units, both required):

a) EN221 Introduction to Poetry

b) EN250 Introduction to Literary Theory

2) Foundations and Transformations courses (3 units, 1 unit of each required; 1 out of 3 must be taken at the 300 or 400 level; may be taken outside the English department):

a) Western Tradition: Bible as Literature, Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Greek Drama, History of the English Language, Homer, Shakespeare (list is not comprehensive)

b) American Ethnic Minority Literature: a course in African-American, Asian-American, Latino/a, Native American literature

c) Anglophone and Other National Literatures: Caribbean Literature, Postcolonial Literature, African Literature, literature courses in Classics, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish (in translation or in the original language—list is not comprehensive)

3) Historical Period courses (4 units, 4 out of 5 required; 3 out of 4 must be taken at the 300 or 400 level):

a) Medieval/Renaissance (excluding Shakespeare)

b) Shakespeare

c) 18th Century

d) 19th Century

e) 20th and 21st Centuries

4) Junior/Senior Sequence (2 or 3 units, required):

a) EN399 Junior Seminar (1 unit; this requirement may be fulfilled simultaneously with a requirement in groups 2 or 3).

b) Senior Seminar (2 units: either a 2-block senior seminar or a 1-block senior seminar followed by EN499 Independent Thesis).

Students may use no more than two units of summer independent reading their major requirements.

Distinction in English is awarded at graduation to senior majors who have done outstanding academic work in the department.