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Bachelor of Arts


Program of Study


UAlbany's English Department organizes its course offerings into eight areas of study. You may choose to take courses in one or more of these areas based on your academic interests, career goals, and/or personal interests.

For example, you can choose from a selection of literary genres and writing styles. Engage with texts from female writers in order to understand how gender dynamics contributed to their renowned works. Or build your skills at writing in a professional environment, transforming yourself from a skilled content creator to a marketable job candidate.

This program allows you the autonomy to decide what path you'll take and how this degree can best accommodate your passions and desired outcomes.

Required Courses (9 credits)

  • Introduction to Writing in English Studies
  • Reading and Interpretation in English Studies
  • Studies in Writing about Texts

Literature Survey Courses (6 credits)

Choose two:

  • American Literary Traditions
  • British Literary Traditions I: From the Anglo-Saxon Period through Milton
  • British Literary Traditions II: The Restoration through the Modern Period
  • Classics of Western Literature
  • Postcolonial Literary Traditions

Elective Courses

  • 3 credits at or above the 200 level
  • 12 credits at or above the 300 level
  • 6 credits at the 400 level
Areas of Study
American Literature and Culture

This area of study focuses on American literary traditions, which begin with Native American stories and mythologies, and find their way through colonization and revolution, Civil War and legacies of segregation, up through twentieth and twenty-first century responses to the crisis of U.S. democracy. Students will engage with varied traditions—from the Puritan sermon, the gothic novel, and slave narratives to modernist poetry, Chicanx corridos, and social media—to understand how U.S. expressive practices have taken shape and how they continue to shape what “America” means. Matters of language, form, and genre are central to some of the most pressing issues facing us today: the construction of communities, the creation of identities, and the movement of people across borders of nation, race, and sex. The American Literature and Culture area of study prepares students for successful careers in law, education, politics, journalism, public relations, social services, and international relations.

British Literature and Culture

British literature and culture studies range from the 5th to the 21st century, engaging traditions, texts, and media from the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) and Anglophone regions of the world such as Jamaica, South Africa, India, and Australia.  Students in this area develop imaginative insight into works that run the gamut from the earliest textile arts of the book to contemporary film and theater.  They also hone their interpretive acuity regarding topics such as the identities debated in the landmark achievements during the Middle Ages and Renaissance; the response of writers to the scientific revolution during the Enlightenment; the cultural impact of the expanding colonial empire during the Romantic and Victorian eras; and the innovations of writers and filmmakers in the face of political, postcolonial, and technological upheavals up to the present.  This area of study prepares students for a broad range of careers in fields including electronic media and museum curation, public relations, publishing, law, and library science.

Environmental Humanities

Within English, the study of the Environmental Humanities engages questions relevant not only to the study of literature but also philosophy, history, anthropology, political science, economics, and the sciences in examination of the complex relationship of humans to the natural world. This area of study explores the changing nature of human engagement with the nonhuman through literary, historical, and cultural texts in order to understand the impact of such engagement. It addresses the underlying connections between human history and natural history, and the ethical dimensions of human accountability to the environment. The dangerous period of climate change that is now unfolding puts these questions at the center of both scientific and humanistic scholarship. Familiarity with major issues and debates in Environmental Humanities will be helpful for future careers in Law, Teaching, Consulting, Policy work with International Organizations, and Environmental Sciences, among others.

Film, Screen Media, and Visual Cultures

Film, Screen Media, and Visual Cultures focuses on the analytic and writing skills related to a broad range of traditional and new media including the visual arts, photography, film, television, video, graphic fiction, and digital media.  With a historical scope from the Middle Ages to contemporary culture, this track concentrates on topics such as disaster films, the French New Wave, visual rhetoric in digital media, graphic novels, film adaptation, and Renaissance painting and poetry. Students in this area learn to read and interpret the visuals that dominate our cultural landscape as well as consider what it means to deploy images in this media-saturated world. This broad, rigorous, and interdisciplinary approach offers excellent preparation for further study or for a career in the film industry, new media, arts criticism, advertising, media management and production, game development, market research, librarianship and curation, archiving and preservation, publishing, or teaching.

Postcolonial Literature and Culture

The study of Postcolonial Literature and Culture examines the interactions of cultures as they have been brought into contact with one another through the forces of globalization and empire. Though it often takes as its focus 19th and 20th century texts that are directly about questions of colonialism, it also sheds light on earlier periods, showing how many of the central ideas of modernity have been formed through cross-cultural interactions. Courses will look at hybrid or mixed identities, the tensions and productive intersections that occur between different cultures, and the way the migration of peoples has shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. The field has wide-ranging implications in the areas of translation studies, law, history, geopolitics and globalization to name but a few. 

Social Justice

The study of Social Justice concerns how texts and their producers, from both past historical moments and the present, have engaged in social and political efforts to transform the conditions of people’s lives. Courses in this area can encompass the study of literature, film, popular culture (such as television and journalism), activist writings (like pamphlets and manifestos), social media, political theory and other theories about social change, and more. Classes might explore issues tied to the representation of gender, sexuality, race, class, and intersectionality, as well as related political efforts such as abolition, suffrage, new social movements, anti-colonial and postcolonial efforts, or social media activism. Or courses in this area might investigate the cultural and textual legacies of revolutionary and radical politics (such as socialism, communism, and anarchism) or other political movements (such as peace, ecological, and antipoverty movements). Students interested in careers in the non-profit sector, in working with social movements, or in advancing the idea of social justice in any of their future endeavors will likely be interested in courses in this area.


Our department’s focus on writing offers students a wide range of courses, opportunities and approaches to the study of writing. Writing courses develop students as writers by emphasizing practice in multiple genres and media and as scholars and researchers by emphasizing the study of writing processes, forms of narrative and expressive literature, and theories of composition and rhetoric. This area of study also supports students’ exploration of the dynamics of working with writers as editors, tutors, and teachers. Courses in this area of study include AENG 302 Creative Writing, AENG 309 Professional Writing, AENG 350 Contemporary Writers, and AENG 306 Literary Publication: History and Practice.

Teacher Preparation

Our teaching preparatory focus provides students who have an interest in teaching secondary education a broad background in literature and writing. This focus draws on guidelines published by Pathways into Education in UAlbany’s School of Education to prepare students for graduate school in education and for teaching in a classroom by ensuring students study the various literatures and forms of writing they will teach to their own students. The focus includes World, American, and British literatures in addition to Shakespeare, writing, and an area the student chooses to bring into their own teaching as an area of specialization.

English Writing Concentration

Program Description

The Writing Concentration within the English major enriches your experience through the process of writing and the rhetorical and artistic aspects of writing. The concentration also explores working with writers as editors, tutors and teachers. It brings together the subfields of creative writing and rhetoric and writing studies. This allows you to study writing in multi-faceted dimensions as a rhetorical and a poetic activity, skill, practice, object of study and art.

The concentration allows English majors who select from an array of electives that emphasize the practice and theory of writing to indicate this writing emphasis on their transcripts. The concentration serves as a professional credential for graduates, as repeated and varied practice in writing and understanding of theories of writing are desired by employers and professional graduate programs.


Degree Requirements (36 credits)

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • Introduction to Writing in English Studies
  • Introduction to English Studies
  • Studies in Writing About Texts
  • American Experiences

Literature Survey Courses (6 credits)

Choose two:

  • American Literary Traditions
  • British Literary Traditions I: From the Anglo-Saxon Period through Milton
  • British Literary Traditions II: The Restoration through the Modern Period
  • Classics of Western Literature
  • Postcolonial Literary Traditions 

Writing Courses (6 credits)

Choose two:

  • Expository Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Professional Writing 
  • Advanced Writing Workshop

Writing Studies Courses (3 credits)

Choose one:

  • Literary Publication: History and Practice
  • Contemporary Writers at Work
  • Tutoring & Writing
  • Topics in Writing Studies

Electives (9 credits)

  • Choose from 300 to 400 level courses

Experiential Learning

Our major incorporates Experiential Learning using the English internship, as well as practical classroom experiences in courses like Literary Publication: History and Practice, Contemporary Writers at Work and Tutoring and Writing.


Career Paths

English majors with writing concentrations go on to a wide range of careers. Our graduates pursue careers in editing, tutoring and teaching, writing, as well as other careers that emphasize writing and communication skills, like marketing, public relations, human resources and non-profit work. Many English majors continue their education in programs as diverse as a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA), rhetoric and composition or education graduate programs. Our majors also go on to graduate and professional programs that include law, medical, publishing or business.

Honors Program

The English honors program promotes intellectual exchange and community among eligible English majors to prepare you for independent work. If you successfully complete the program through honors and thesis seminars, you will earn an Honors Certificate in English. If you meet University GPA requirements, you are eligible for a nomination to graduate from the University with "Honors in English."

Details about the BA English Honors Program

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Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Options

You can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework while still enrolled as an undergraduate student. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you’ll complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately. Choose to combine your English undergraduate degree with the following graduate programs:


MA in English
This master’s program will help you develop strong communication and research skills while giving you the opportunity to explore your interests in British, American, Native American, postcolonial and contemporary literature in English, as well as creative writing, rhetoric, composition, pedagogy, and cultural studies.

MA in Liberal Studies
This interdisciplinary master’s program lets you create a highly personalized curriculum to develop your historical and theoretical background in topics including arts, humanities and the social sciences.

MS in Information Science 
This ALA-accredited master's program covers a broad range of interdisciplinary topics related to library science, information processing, information management and data analysis.

MS in Secondary Education
This New York State-approved teacher preparation program provides you with initial certification to teach a specific subject to students in grades 7-12 in New York State public schools.


UAlbany graduate at Commencement
Career Outcomes

Graduates have gone on to pursue a range of interesting and fulfilling career paths. Some pursue further graduate study in English, taking advantage of our BA/MA program to jumpstart these studies. Others have gone to law or medical school, or pursued careers as teachers. Many pursue internships and then careers in publishing and editing, for which our proximity to New York City and Boston have proven advantageous.

Common job titles for a BA in English include:

  • Copywriter
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Social Media Manager
  • Social Justice Center Director
  • Television Producer
  • K-12 Teacher
  • Marketing Coordinator


Two women having a discussion in an office

"Throughout my years of being an English major, and also being an English Honors student, I've learned how to think beyond what I see, I've learned to empathize with different groups of people, and most valuable of all I've learned how to cultivate and find my authentic voice."

-Simone R. Class of 2017

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Bachelor of Arts
  • Students will develop sophisticated, disciplinary interpretive, analytical, and critical practices by:
    • Applying modes of close reading and textual analysis
    • Understanding and applying theoretical models when interpreting texts and distinguishing between different critical approaches to textual interpretation
    • Understanding and responding to scholarship published in this discipline
    • Understanding and describing characteristic features of literary-historical periods
    • Understanding and describing characteristic features of a genre or literary form
  • Students will gain a proficiency in written and oral expression in disciplinary forms, as demonstrated by:
    • The ability to identify a pertinent issue and support an analytic argument about it amidst conflicting viewpoints
    • The ability to effectively revise drafts in response to constructive criticism
    • The ability to apply disciplinary genre conventions including argumentative strategies, organizational structures, citation practices, and acceptable forms of evidence
    • The ability to apply discipline-specific research strategies, including the use of library resources (i.e., electronic indexes), and the ability to evaluate appropriate sources (discerning primary from secondary sources, scholarly from popular, etc.
    • The ability to respond to and offer further oral interpretations of texts supported by textual evidence during group or class discussions

What Makes The University at Albany Great

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Living-Learning Communities

Live and take classes with other incoming freshmen who share your personal interests, passions or intended academic major.

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Study Abroad

Become a global citizen: international experience is crucial to success in business, education, research, and public policy.

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Undergraduate Research

Research, scholarship, and creative activities at the University at Albany is an option for all students, across all academic disciplines. You will be able to learn more about a specific academic field or career path all while building a long-lasting mentoring relationship with a faculty member or principal investigator.

Explore Minors

Build competency in a passion or strengthen your resume.

A minor consists of 18–24 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits of advanced coursework at or above the 300 level. Most undergraduate degrees require completing a minor and it has to have a different title from your major.

Full List of Minors
  • Acting
  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Bioethics
  • Biology
  • Broadcast Meteorology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Communication (Fully Online Option)
  • Computer Science
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice Studies (Fully Online Option)
  • Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • Documentary Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Film Studies
  • Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • English
  • Forensic Science
  • French
  • Game Design and Development
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Geography
  • Globalization Studies
  • Hebrew
  • History (Fully Online Option)
  • Informatics (Fully Online Option)
  • Instrumental Performance
  • International Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese Studies
  • Journalism (Fully Online Option)
  • Judaic Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Law and Philosophy
  • Leadership
  • Legal Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Library and Information Science
  • Linguistics
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Music
  • Musical Performance
  • Musical Theatre
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese
  • Pre-Education
  • Psychology (Fully Online Option)
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Russian and Eastern European Studies
  • Social Welfare Studies
  • Sociology (Fully Online Option)
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Sustainability
  • Theatre
  • Theatrical Design/Technology
  • Urban Studies and Planning
  • U.S. Latino Studies
  • Vocal Performance
  • Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies