Writing a Major Plan

Shortly after declaring your English major, you must submit a brief (1-page) Major Plan to the department. You should discuss this plan with the faculty advisor who registers you for the major. Your Major Plan should address the following questions:

a. How do you plan to explore the range of the field of English literary studies? How will you push yourself beyond the areas in which you’re already comfortable, into literatures and approaches that will broaden your interests and challenge your interpretive skills? To achieve breadth of focus, your major should:

  • acquaint you with a range of literary genres and forms.
  • explore literature from different historical periods, in a way that helps you gain a sense of how literature engages its past and changes across time.
  • explore cultural and geographic diversity.

b. Do you have interests you especially want to pursue in depth within the major? And if so, how could you cluster your courses so that they speak to that interest and to each other?

A few students go into English with an already-formed passion, but most students who develop areas of interest do so once they begin exploring the field. The Major Plan simply asks you to pause and think about what aspects of your study have especially sparked your interest, and to consider how you might build on these interests in the future.

If you are planning to study abroad during your junior year, be sure to take this into account in your plan.

Your Major Plan is likely to evolve as you move through the major. Drafting the plan, then, should be an instructional exercise: a moment to assess where you are right now in terms of your experience of the major, and to reflect on the directions you think you would like to take. You and your faculty advisor will revisit this plan at regular intervals, changing it as necessary.

For examples of recent Major Plans that are well-written, please click on the files below: