Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

English - About The Program

About Our Degrees

Acceptance Criteria
Minimum GPA of 2.0.

Completion of the university writing skills requirement.

Students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies within a semester of declaring the major, and bring their current HUB Academic Advising Report directly to the English department.

Acceptance Information
Deadlines: Rolling

We do not limit the number of students accepted to the major.

Degree Requirements
Please see Degrees and Policies.

About Our Courses

We limit enrollment into our lower and upper division courses so that we can offer good students the opportunity to study closely with their teachers. We offer courses both in traditional areas of literary studies and in cross-disciplinary approaches to literary texts so that students may use English as a general preparation for any career that requires writing skills, literacy, research methods, and cultural awareness.

Working poets and novelists teach literary classes; distinguished scholars and critics offer seminars from Beowulf to best-sellers. Courses in literature and psychology, literature and the law, and cultural studies also further the department's commitment to the methods and insights of diverse fields.

The typical class size for:
Freshman/introductory courses: 24
Lower and upper level courses: anywhere from 15 to 100, with most classes at 30-35
Honors seminars: 5-15

In the Department of English, what do teaching assistants (TAs) do?
TAs teach Communicaton Literacy courses (ENG 101, 105, 201, and selected junior-level courses) and some 200-level literature courses; they may also serve as section leaders in large lecture courses.

Suggested Introductory Courses
ENG 207 Intro to Poetry and Fiction
ENG 209 Writing about Science
ENG 221 World Literature
ENG 231-ENG 232 British Writers
ENG 241-ENG 242 American Writers
ENG 251-ENG 259 Short Fiction, Poetry, The Novel, Science Fiction, Film, Mysteries, or Drama

For course descriptions, please see Courses.

About Our Faculty

The English department has been consistently ranked in the top thirty English departments in the United States. The faculty consists of nationally and internationally prominent scholars and writers who also take teaching very seriously, including six faculty members who have won the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching or have been made Distinguished Teaching Professors. Their interests range from early modern literature to postmodernism and include cultural studies, postcolonialism, psychoanalytic theory, film, gender and sexuality studies, visual studies, poetics, Marxism, documentary, African-American literature, ecocriticism, mythology, and much more.

We recommend that students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (303 Clemens Hall, 716-645-2579), to discuss their future program and the requirements of the department.

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Practical Experience and Special Academic Opportunities

Notable Program Features
The English major fosters an unusual sense of community, in which faculty know students by name and faculty and students meet informally to talk about a range of topics and work collaboratively on projects like the Student Literary Magazine. In addition to learning about English and American literature, students can earn a certificate in Creative Writing or a certificate in Journalism through English Department courses. The English Department regularly sponsors readings and events like the Poetics Plus Poetry Series, Exhibit X Fiction Series, Early Modern Reading Group, and the Buffalo Film Seminars. Each of these provides students with an interesting opportunity to learn about specific aspects of poetry, literature and film, and, often, the chance to meet famous writers in each field.

Undergraduate Research and Practical Experience
The English Department is one of three collaborating departments (along with Communication and Media Study) which are a part of the Journalism Certificate Program. This program provides students with a strong educational foundation in writing and reporting for publication, emphasizing hands-on workshops and internships designed to transition students into the professional world. Many JCP students go on to win national prizes in Journalism.
The English Department offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in Creative Writing. These courses give students the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills in smaller workshops, working one-on-one with faculty. Students can pursue a Certificate in Creative Writing, which provides students with a strong background in writing non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

Students may participate in internship opportunities by writing for student publications as well as for outside media outlets.

The English department awards academic credit to students who submit an acceptable writing internship proposal for work either on campus or in the community, and who successfully complete their chosen project.

Honors, Awards, and Scholarships
Honors Program
The English department offers an honors program for serious students who enjoy doing intensive work and would like the challenge and excitement of exchanging ideas and research with fellow students and instructors in a seminar setting. Planning and writing a thesis is another opportunity the honors program offers. English majors may qualify for the honors program if they have taken at least two lower-division and two upper-division English department courses and if they present a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their English courses. Unusually promising students whose English GPA falls slightly short of the required 3.5 may (at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate English) offer a strong recommendation from a faculty member as a substitute. All applicants must also submit a writing sample for evaluation. Anyone admitted to the Honors Program with an English GPA below 3.5 must achieve a 3.5 by the time of graduation or forfeit the Honors designation. Department requirements for graduation with honors - one English department honors seminar, One senior thesis and a minimum English GPA of 3.5.


George Knight Houpt Prize
Awarded to a graduating English major who has exhibited excellence and proficiency in his or her work in the English department. Criteria include a high GPA in English, high overall GPA, recommendations from faculty, and a piece of written work submitted by the student.

Arthur Axlerod Memorial Award
This prize is for poetry only and is open to all University at Buffalo undergraduates.

Scribblers Prize
For the best piece of creative writing by an undergraduate woman.

The Joyce Carol Oates Prize
This prize is for the best piece of fiction by a university undergraduate or graduate student.

The Albert Cook, Mac Hammond, and John Logan Prizes
Awarded for the best offerings in poetry, fiction, or drama.

The English Department Essay Contest
The best critical essay written in a UB undergraduate English class (other than ENG 105).

Extracurricular Activities

The English Department regularly sponsors readings and events like the Poetics Plus Poetry Series, Exhibit X Fiction Series, Early Modern Reading Group, and the Buffalo Film Seminars. Each of these provides students with an interesting opportunity to learn about specific aspects of poetry, literature, and film, and often the chance to meet famous writers in each field. Undergraduate majors have formed a literary society that calls itself Shakespeare's Fools, and there is an undergraduate literary publication entitled NAME. Information about these can be found at the undergraduate office at 303 Clemens.

See the UB Student Association.

Complementary Programs and Courses

Links to Further Information About this Program

Last updated: February 22 2022 21:08:39