Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
    Jul 18, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Chair: Associate Professor J. Lewin
Faculty: Professors K. Doyle, H. Jenkins (term abroad Fall), J. Murphy (on leave Spring 2022), J. Smith; Associate Professors C. Bracken, A. Burkett (on leave Fall), B. Kuhn (on leave Fall 2021-Winter 2022), K. Lynes, J. Mitchell, J. Troxell, B. Tuon (on leave Fall 2021-Winter 2022), P. Wareh; Assistant Professors S. McAuliffe (on leave Fall); Affiliated Faculty Assistant Professor D. Venning (also in Theater & Dance); Senior Lecturer A. Pease (also in Modern Languages-Russian.)
Staff:  Debora Catharine (Administrative Assistant)

Course Selection Guidelines

Placement: Incoming students should enroll in any English 100-level course (all 100-level courses are equal difficulty) unless they scored a 5 on either the AP English Literature or AP English Language test (see below); alternatively, students may choose a non-writing-intensive EGL course numbered 0-99 (see below, “Courses Suitable for Non-Majors”).

Scores of “5” on AP English Exams: The English Department recognizes an AP English Literature or Language score of 5 as sufficient preparation for intermediate 200- level coursework; students with these scores may enroll in 200-level English courses without the 100-level prerequisite by securing a waiver from the registrar. AP5 credit does not reduce the number of courses to be taken in order to complete a major or minor: English majors with an AP 5 still need 12 courses (7 for minors/ 8 for IDs). With AP credit offsetting one 100-level prerequisite, the number of required 100-levels is reduced to one for majors, and zero for minors and IDs; therefore, de facto, majors, minors and IDs with an AP 5 get to take an extra elective.   

Currently at Union College, a grade of 4 or 5 on an AP English Literature or AP English Language test earns an unspecified course credit toward graduation. Nonetheless, all students still must fulfill the requirements of the Common Curriculum. AP credit does not fulfill or substitute for HUL or WAC requirements; students with an AP 5 may choose to fulfill these CC requirements in English with an intermediate 200-level EGL course instead of a 100-level course.

Courses Suitable for Non-Majors: The English department occasionally offers Common Curriculum courses intended for non-majors. These courses have numbers between 0 and 99, and are lecture-exam-style rather than writing-intensive (WAC) courses, yet they carry HUL credit. Students may enroll in a 100-level course after taking a course numbered 0-99, or vice-versa. Note: Common Curriculum courses (0-99) do not count toward the English major, ID major or minor.

All students are welcome to enroll in English 100-level courses.

Only majors should take more than one 100-level course.

Having completed a 100-level English course any student may enroll in any 200-level EGL course (see also AP 5 information above).

All 200-level courses are equal in difficulty.

Junior and senior (300 and 400-level) EGL seminars are by permission (via waitlist) mainly for majors, IDs and minors, who have priority. Some seats may be available for interested non-majors at the discretion of the instructor.


  • One 100-level course is a prerequisite for any 200-level course. (See AP5 information above)
  • To enroll in a 300-level EGL course, a student must have taken either one 100-level course and two 200-level EGL courses for a total of at least three English courses.
  • To enroll in a 400-level EGL course, a student must have taken two 100-level courses and four 200-level EGL courses for a total of at least six English courses. IDs or minors may be admitted at the instructor’s discretion.

In June 2020, the English department approved a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, which pledged: “We will restructure our curriculum, so as to include and make visible the experiences of underrepresented students. We pledge to do more to center the lives and experiences of those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our scholarship, teaching, and service both within and beyond the Union College community.” In order to put this pledge into practice, we will embed the lives and experiences that are explored in texts by BIPOC authors into the undergraduate study of literature.

We have developed a new, two-course sequence: a 100-level course, “Confronting the Canon,” and a BIPOC course requirement. These courses need not be taken in a specific order, but together they will ensure that students engage with critical race theory and BIPOC-authored literary texts at multiple points in their time as English majors or minors.

As of Fall 2021, those considering English should begin by taking any course between EGL 100 - EGL 189. These courses introduce the basic skills of English study. The student then qualifies to take intermediate coursework or take a second, 100-level course between 190-199: Confronting the Canon.

“Confronting the Canon” courses are designed to do as follows: introduce English majors and minors to some of the foundational questions raised when interrogating and reconfiguring what has long been considered the traditional, Western literary canon. They will emphasize that English courses, in many different educational settings, have an extensive history of asserting the “greatness” of texts by white, male authors, often at the expense of those works written by, among others, women, writers of color, and queer writers. By confronting those choices and their implications, the “Confronting the Canon” course will explore what it means to intentionally reimagine the canon. We will ask questions like the following: Who decided on the canon? What does the canon perpetuate? Who is included and who is excluded from it? What is at stake in our upholding of it or our dismantling of it? What do we value as English students and faculty? What do we envision as our role in the field of English literary and cultural studies?

What follows is a summary of the English requirements that have been retained for Class Years 2022, 2023, and 2024 and the newly-revised requirements for the Class of 2025. Further description is available at the links below “Programs”.

Requirements for the Major (for Classes of ‘22, ‘23, and ‘24)

Twelve courses, including two introductory-level courses (100s); seven intermediate courses (200-level) including at least one course on Shakespeare (200 or 201), one pre-1700 course (202-215) and one pre-1900 course (216-236); and three seminars in total: one or two junior seminars (300-level) and one or two senior seminar (400-level).

Students seeking Honors in the Department of English have a 14-course requirement, the additional two beyond the requirements for the English major being the two-term Honors thesis seminar, EGL 402-3, a two-term thesis writing workshop available by application and invitation, to be written during Fall-Winter of their senior year.

No English major is required to write a thesis but all are still eligible for college distinction based on GPA. 

All English majors, including students who write a thesis, must take one senior seminar (WS Common Curriculum requirement).

Interdepartmental majors must pay particular attention to the requirements of both departments and meet the CC requirement that all students complete a senior seminar/project (WS).

Requirements for Interdepartmental Majors (for Classes of ‘22, ‘23, and ‘24)

All proposals for interdepartmental majors involving English must be approved by the department; the student should consult the department chair.

English I.D. Majors have an 8-course requirement, which includes one 100-level course and seven others, with at least one pre-1700 course (202-215), one Shakespeare course (200 or 201), four 200-level courses of choice, and one seminar of choice.

Students seeking an I.D. Honors degree including English have a 10-course requirement, the additional two beyond the requirements for the English I.D. major being the two-term Honors thesis seminar. For their junior seminar, ID Honors students should take EGL 302 Literary Theory in Winter of their Junior year.

Requirements for the Minor (for Classes of ‘22, ‘23, and ‘24)

English Minors have a 7-course requirement, which includes one 100-level course and six others, with at least one pre-1700 course (202-215), one Shakespeare course (200 or 201), three 200-level courses of choice, and one 300-level course of choice.

Revised Requirements for the Class of 2025

Full and double majors must take a “Confronting the Canon” course (EGL 190-199) as one of their two 100- level courses, and must take a 200-level BIPOC lit course as one of their 200-level electives.

ID majors will take one 100-level (100-189) and a “Confronting the Canon” (190-199), then choose between either a pre-1700 (202-215), or Shakespeare (200-201). Like full and double majors, ID majors must take a 200-level BIPOC lit course as one of their 200-level electives.

Minors will take one 100-level (100-189) course and then choose two out of the following three coverage requirements: a “Confronting the Canon” (190-199), a pre-1700 (202-215), or a Shakespeare (200-201). They may satisfy the BIPOC literature course requirement at either the 200, 300, or 400 level.

* No student may use an AP English score of 5 to opt out of taking “Confronting the Canon” and/or fulfilling the BIPOC requirement.

For detailed information about English department courses and activities, consult bulletins issued by the English department office, or see the English Department’s website, Facebook page (Union College English Department), Twitter account (@UnionCollegeEGL), or Instagram account (@unionegl).


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