Bachelor of Arts in English: Concentration in Literature

English majors are required to complete a 45-unit program consisting of 24 units of core requirements and 21 units in an area of concentration, including a 3-unit Culminating Experience capstone course. The four concentrations offered by the English Department are Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric.

A maximum of six units of lower-division coursework may be accepted for credit in the English major upon permission of an advisor. Advanced Placement (A.P.) credit in composition cannot be used to fulfill the six-unit lower-division requirement in the major.

Completion of ENG 480GW with a grade of C or higher fulfills the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) for all English majors.

The Culminating Experience capstone course must be completed during either the final semester or one of the semesters of the student’s final (senior) year, depending on the English major concentration. For more information, please refer to the relevant major concentration section in this Bulletin.

The BA in English with a concentration in Literature offers students a historically grounded study of British, American, and “post-colonial” Anglophone literatures. Our core curriculum includes a series of two upper-division survey courses (Literature in English I and II) intended to provide students with a knowledge foundation of literary movements, figures, and forms within a transatlantic context. Literature majors also take one course in linguistics, an upper-division Shakespeare course, at least one course in literary theory or criticism, and at least one course in Anglophone literature produced outside of Britain or America.

The Literature program offers a wide range of courses centered on specific authors (Austen, Chaucer, Woolf), historical periods (“Age of Victorians,” “American Literature 1914-1960”), genres (“Detective Fiction,” “Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction,” “Lyric Forms”), and other special topics (“18th c. Women Writers,” “Devils and Angels”), allowing students to pursue their individual interests and pleasures in fulfilling their elective units. No matter what the subject, all courses within the major foster students’ close reading, writing, and analytical skills. Literature majors can expect to hone their aptitude for writing, research, oral communication, and analytical thinking. This practical skill set prepares our majors for many career opportunities, including teaching, writing and publishing, law, information science, business and marketing, and more.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to differentiate how language use varies across the contexts and genres of professional writing and rhetoric, literature, and linguistics. (Disciplinary Knowledge) 

  2. Students will be able to formulate and pursue methodologically sound lines of inquiry, effectively placing their ideas side by side the ideas of others, drawing persuasively on credible primary and secondary sources. (Research) 

  3. Students will be able to produce rhetorically effective texts across a range of digital, print, and multimedia formats. (Written Communication/Digital Literacy) 

  4. Students will be able to carefully read and critically examine the ways in which culture and global context affect language, literature, and writing. (Global Perspectives) 

  5. Students will be able to analyze language and texts in relation to the historical and social contexts in which they are situated. (Historical Thinking)
  6. Students will be able to apply critical thinking, close reading, and rhetorical persuasion to engage productively and ethically in scholarly, civic, and professional communities. (Application & Engagement)
  7. Students in the literature concentration will be able to perform close readings of complex literary texts with attention to content, connotation, allusion, and thematic purpose.
  8. Students in the literature concentration will be able to analyze literary genres, styles, forms, conventions, debates, and/or rhetorical devices in and among texts produced across different historical periods.

  9. Students in the literature concentration will demonstrate the ability to conduct research by identifying and defining scholarly questions, accessing and assessing primary and secondary sources, developing strategies to organize and interpret research materials, and communicating their findings or arguments through a range of discipline-specific forms and genres.

Additional Information

Completion of ENG 480GW with a grade of C or higher fulfills the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) for all English majors.

Advanced Placement (A.P.) credit in composition cannot be used to fulfill the lower-division literature requirement in the major or minor.

A maximum of 9 units of work in lower-division literature courses may be accepted for credit in the major with the consent of an advisor.

English (B.A.): Concentration in Literature — 45 Units

Core Requirements (24 Units)

Lower-Division (6 units)
ENG 218Literature Is Not A Luxury: Writing For Self and Community3
ENG 250Topics in Literature and Culture3
Upper-Division (18 units)
ENG 402Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric3
ENG 420Introduction to the Study of Language3
ENG 461Literature in English Since 18003
ENG 480GWWriting in English: GWAR Seminar3
ENG 583Shakespeare: Representative Plays3
ENG 640Global Texts and Practices3

Concentration (21 Units)

Survey (3 units)

ENG 460Literature in English to 18003

Theory or Criticism (3 units)

Select One:

ENG 600Theory of Literature3
ENG 601Literature and Psychology3
ENG 602Literature, Identity, Society: Theoretical Approaches to Identity and Cultural Critique3
ENG 611Modern Criticism3
ENG 612Serial Narrative3
ENG 614Women in Literature: Authors and Characters3
ENG 615Imagery, Metaphor, and Symbol3

Pre-1800 Literature (3 units)

Select One:

ENG 501Age of Chaucer3
ENG 503Studies in Medieval Literature3
ENG 510The Age of Wit3
ENG 51218th-Century British Women Writers3
ENG 550The Rise of the Novel3
ENG 571Shakespeare's Rivals3
ENG 584Shakespeare: Selected Plays3
ENG 589Milton3

Electives (9 units)

Select Three:

ENG 300/C W 501Graphic Memoir and Biography3
ENG 429Stylistics3
ENG/JS/CWL 451Jewish Literature of the Americas3
ENG 465Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction3
ENG 495Digital Humanities and Literacies3
ENG 510The Age of Wit3
ENG 51218th-Century British Women Writers3
ENG 514Age of the Romantics3
ENG 524Contemporary American Short Story3
ENG 525Studies in American Literature3
ENG 526Age of the American Renaissance: 1830-18603
ENG 527American Literature: 1860-19143
ENG 528American Literature: 1914-19603
ENG 533/JS 437/CWL 437Holocaust and Literature3
ENG 535Literature and Ecology3
ENG/JS/WGS 54620th Century American Jewish Women Writers3
ENG 554Modern American Novel3
ENG 555The Short Story3
ENG 580Individual Authors3
ENG 581Jane Austen3
ENG 630Selected Studies3
ENG/SXS 633Queer(ing) Narrative Literature3
ENG 636Myth, Literature, and Adaptation3
ENG 655Literature and the Adolescent Reader3

Capstone Experience (3 units)

ENG 690Senior Seminar3

ENG 690 must be completed during one of the semesters of the final (senior) year. 

Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in the major and no grade in the major lower than a C- (except for ENG 480GW, which requires a grade of C or higher). A maximum of 9 units of literature classes from other departments (such as Comparative and World Literature) may be accepted for credit in the major upon the permission of an advisor.

Complementary Studies Requirement for English Majors

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates in any of the four concentrations (Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric) in the Bachelor of Arts degree in English. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than ENG and must not be cross-listed with ENG. English majors will be offered four pathways for satisfying this requirement; each pathway is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner.

  1. Foreign Language: 12 units in a single foreign language;
  2. Second Major, Minor, or Certificate: 12 units of coursework taken as part of a second major, a minor, or a certificate;
  3. Study Abroad: 12 units of coursework taken in an approved study abroad program (such as CSU Study Abroad);
  4. Related Subjects: 12 units of coursework in related disciplines with the approval of an English Department advisor.

Related subjects typically include (but are not limited to) Comparative and World Literature, Classics, Creative Writing, Ethnic Studies, Foreign Languages, History, Journalism, and Women and Gender Studies, Communication Studies, Instructional Technology, or Marketing. For these related subjects, 6 units must be from classes in a non-literary-related field.

Depending on the concentration within the major, Complementary Studies pathway, and approval of a departmental advisor, up to 12 units from courses with non-ENG prefixes that count towards the Complementary Studies requirement may also count as English electives in fulfillment of Major requirements.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

English Literature SF State Scholars Roadmap

B.A. in English: Concentration in Literature and M.A. in English: Concentration in Linguistics SF State Scholars Roadmap

B.A. in English: Concentration in Literature and M.A. in English: Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages SF State Scholars Roadmap

B.A. in English: Concentration in Literature and M.A. in English: Concentration in Composition SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with one of the pathways below:
General ADT Roadmap.

  • AA-T English
  • AA-T Global Studies
  • AA-T Social Justice Studies
  • AA-T Spanish
  • AA-T Theater Arts

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in English

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.