Skip to main content
Department of English

Undergraduate Studies

Welcome to the URI English Undergraduate Studies Program pages.

Our undergraduate program is challenging and flexible; many of our students supplement English with a minor or second major in closely related fields (see 'Interdisciplinarity' below). About 24% of our Majors combine their English B.A. with an Elementary or Secondary Education major, allowing them to become public or private student in classschool teachers immediately after graduation. Many receive the advanced training and professional advising that enables them to enter first-rate graduate programs in English, Creative Writing, Comparative Literature, Film or Media Studies, History, Medicine, and Business Administration. Others go on to some of the country's top Law Schools, while many find that their strong writing and analytical skills prepare them to enter careers in publishing, journalism, advertising and marketing, college administration, grant writing, non-profit organizations, social services, insurance, civil service, retail business, and NGOs.

Course Requirements

Students majoring in English are required to take one core methodology course, English 201. English 201 introduces students to the study of literature through reading and discussion of major methodologies, analytical approaches, and perspectives in literary study. Please visit the current URI Course Catalog, which lists all of the many courses that are offered in English.

Students also take five courses designed to give them coverage of every major period of literature in English, as well as five electives in English.

Click here to see the full list of course requirements for majoring in English.

student reading

Double Majors in English and Education

The English Department works closely with the Department of Education to ensure that those double majors in Secondary Education and English receive the courses they need to become properly certified in English as their content area.

Minor in English

A minor in English may be earned by completing 20 credits in English. The University requires that a minimum quality average of 2.0 must be earned in the minor courses, and at least 12 of the 20 credits must be at the 200 level or above. At least half of the credits required for an English minor must be earned at the University of Rhode Island. No course may be used to apply to both the major and minor fields of study. General Education requirements may be used for the minor, but no course may be used for both the major and the minor. Minor courses may not be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Applications for the English Minor are available in the English Department, located at 114 Swan Hall.


The English Department is engaged at the undergraduate curricular level with several interdisciplinary programs on campus, including Women’s Studies, African and African American Studies, Film Media, Comparative Literature, the Honors Program, and the New England Studies Program. In 2001, the Writing Program, which used to be housed within the English Department, became an independent program of its own. However, English Majors with a special interest in Rhetoric, in other discursive forms of writing, or in the teaching of composition, are encouraged to take courses from or even to Minor in the Writing Program. While both programs place a heavy emphasis on writing instruction in their courses, the English Department emphasizes writing about literary, cinematic, or other cultural texts, and offers Creative Writing courses, while the Writing Program emphasizes writing in such contexts as business, science, technology, and electronic environments.

Through a generous endowment from Edmund S. and Nathalie Rumowicz, we regularly offer an undergraduate seminar on the Literature of the Sea in collaboration with faculty and students from Marine Affairs and the History Department. The Rumowicz endowment also makes possible a yearly distinguished lecture on Literature of the Sea, and an undergraduate essay contest that draws contestants from disciplines all over the campus..

Scholarships & Prizes

Each year, students of the English Department have the opportunity to compete for numerous scholarships and prizes, which celebrate and facilitate academic success as well as excellence in numerous forms of writing, such as the critical essay, poetry, and non-fiction prose.

Election to the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious honor society in the U. S. Students with excellent grade point averages who take mostly liberal arts courses, display breadth in their program of study, and have completed required levels of math and a foreign language are invited to join the URI chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in their junior or senior year of college. Juniors must have a grade point average of 3.75 or above; seniors must have a 3.5 or higher GPA.

These are the current math, language, and breadth requirements for initiation: MTH 111 is recommended, MTH 107 may be accepted. Language is completion of the intermediate level, which is 104 in most cases but not all. Breadth is 18 credits above the introductory level in a Liberal Studies discipline unrelated to the major, or a second major or minor in an unrelated Liberal Studies discipline.