English, B.A.

Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts

Building on common foundations, this degree offers two upper-level specializations: Multicultural U.S.-British Literature and World Literature.

At the Foundations level, requirements recognize the importance of firm grounding in Language Arts and Literary Interpretation. These emphases correlate with stress on skills foundations in current pedagogy. The Linguistic Foundations requirement recognizes the centrality of strong training in the history and structure of language as well as the formal grammar of English. The Literary Analysis requirement offers training in literary interpretation, close reading, knowledge of literary genres, social and historical contextualization of literature, and literary theory, today a sine qua non of competitive literature degrees .A three-course sequence in Literary Traditions includes historical surveys of British, U.S., European, and World literature and selected courses in classical foundations, genres, and such recent topics as postcolonialism.

Multicultural U.S./British Literature Specialization

The Multicultural U.S./British Literature Specialization is rooted in recent trends in literary theory and interpretation, which view U.S./British literature as expressing diverse national, cultural, and gender perspectives within a common tradition. Multicultural U.S./British Literature includes texts from both the U.S. and U.K. by writers of different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, classes, and ability/disability status. Multicultural literature focuses on the complexity of two countries in which people of many different cultures cohabit. Such fields as African American Literature, Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, Women’s Literature, and LGBTQ Literature, increasingly prominent in English studies since 1990, form the core of this specialization. This specialization enhances the competitiveness of students applying to graduate English programs or continuing to a variety of careers.

World Literature Specialization

The World Literature Specialization studies literature in English from outside the U.S./U.K. as well as other literatures in translation. This specialization speaks to the increasing integration of international literary culture and to an increasing emphasis on global culture. It is directly relevant to the sizeable number of Old Westbury students from postcolonial English speaking cultures and to others with an interest in world culture. It helps prepare students for graduate study in such fields as Postcolonial Studies, the Literature of the African Diaspora, and others, and for varied careers.  

Senior Seminar

The Senior Seminar requirement for each specialization offers an integrated capstone experience for students in this degree program. The Senior Seminar requirement begins with Senior Seminar I—research and Writing, an intensive preparation for the Senior Thesis including study of advanced research methods, seminar presentations, and a semester-length writing project. Senior Seminar II—Thesis provides a semester-long thesis writing project with a common curriculum of reading and research.


Total Credits Required: 120 (90 in the liberal arts)

A. Liberal Education

Refer to the College's Liberal Education Curriculum Bulletin for specific requirements.

B. Major Requirements:  

All students in the major take a set of platform courses (levels 1 - 3) and complete the Senior Seminar sequence (level 5). Students choose one of two specializations, U.S. -British Multicultural Literature or World Literature, at level 4. Summaries of the areas and credits are as follows:


EMS for all courses at 3000 level or above.

Distribution Requirements:
  1. At least 2 courses primarily in literature written before 1800 (for the U.S., 1900)
  2. At least 1 course in each of: British Literature; U.S. Literature; and World Literature. Either EL3500 or 3510 may be used to satisfy the British or U.S. Literature requirement, but not both.
Grade Requirement:

A maximum of one grade of C-, and no grade below C-, may be counted toward satisfying the Major requirements.

Note:  Not all courses are offered in any semester.  Consult course descriptions and online class schedules.

B.A. English                      44 credits

Linguistic Foundations    4 credits

Literary Analysis              8 credits

Literary Traditions          12 credits

Specializations               12 credits

  1. U.S.- British Multicultural Literature
  2. World Literature

Senior Seminar                 8 credits    

Structure and Sequence of Courses:

1.  Linguistic Foundations (choose one)

  • EL3100 Structure and Grammar of English

2. Literary Analysis (Choose Two)

  • EL3500  Literature Across Cultures I:  Analysis & Interpretation 

  • EL3510  Literature Across Cultures II: Theory

  • EL4400  Critical Theory

3. Literary Traditions (select one From Group A, one from Group B, and one from Group A, B, or C)

A - British and U.S. Literature:
  • EL3600  U.S. Literature I: Colonial to Civil War

  • EL3610  U.S. Literature II: Civil War to Present

  • EL3800  English Literature I: Beowulf to 18th Century, inclusive of Shakespeare 

  • EL3810  English Literature II: Romantics to Present

B - World Literature:
  • EL3560 Literatures of Europe Part I
  • EL3561 Literatures of Europe Part II
  • EL3700 Survey of World Literature
C - Genres and Traditions, Multicultural and World Literature:
  • EL3950 Creative Non-Fiction
  • EL4200 Biblical-Classical Influences on Multicultural Literature
  • EL4300 20th - Century Literature: Colonialism and Postcolonialism
  • EL4311 Greek Drama
  • EL4312 Greek Mythology
  • EL4325 Shakespeare: Selected Plays
  • EL4402 Sin and Sexuality in Literature
  • EL4500 Topics in British/US Literature
  • EL4510 Modern Drama and Theater
  • EL4520 Reading and Writing the Short Story

4. Specialization: Choose Multicultural U.S.-British Literature Or World Literature

Multicultural U.S.-British Literature Specialization:

A.  Electives.  Choose any two from these groups:

British/U.S. Literature

  • EL4030  Women & Narrative
  • EL4050  Lesbian & Gay Literature
  • EL4060  Literature of Class & Class Consciousness
  • EL4080  Extraordinary Bodies: Disability in Literature

U.S. Literature

  • ML3410  Latino Writers in the U.S.
  • EL3811  Survey of African American Literature
  • EL4000  Native American Literature
  • EL4010  Harlem Renaissance
  • EL4015 Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States
  • EL4020  Asian American Literature
  • EL4040  Black Women Writers
  • EL4070  Topics in African American Literature
  • EL4090  African American Novel
  • EL4091  African American Poetry & Plays
  • EL4405  Caribbean Literature

British Literature

  • EL4550  Modern English Literature 1890–1960
  • EL4560  Multicultural British Literature Since 1960

B.  Required for all students in the specialization:

EL4800 Major Authors

World Literature Specialization:

Note:  Non-English Literature are read in translation.

A.  Surveys- Choose One:

  • EL3865  Literature of Asia
  • EL3870  Literatures of Africa
  • EL/ML3880  Masterpieces of Hispanic Literature 

B.  Electives- Choose two:

  • EL4405  Caribbean Literature
  • EL4600  Literature of India
  • EL4630  Latin American Literature
  • EL4640  French Literature
  • EL4650  Literature of Russia and Eastern Europe


  • EL5000     Senior Seminar- Research & Writing*
  • EL5010     Senior Seminar- Thesis

* Prerequisite for EL5000: EMS, Senior Standing.  Prerequisite for EL5010:  EMS, Completion of EL5000.

C.  General Electives:  In consultation with academic advisor, for  a total of 120 credits.