Concentrator Guide, Class of '21 & '22

Concentration Requirements 

Honors Program: 14 courses (56 credits)
Elective Program: 11 courses (44 credits)
Joint Concentration: 6-8 courses (24-32 credits) in English

All English concentrators take three Common Ground courses:

  • English 40-49: Arrivals
  • English 50-59: Poets
  • English 60-69: Migrations 

The Common Ground courses may be taken in any order and are best taken early on. Ordinarily, at least one of the three offerings should be taken before the second semester of the junior year.

 

Honors concentrators take eleven additional courses:

  • the Junior Tutorial (English 98r)
  • the Senior Tutorial (English 99r, two terms) or two additional 90-seminars
  • Foreign Literature
  • seven additional electives:
  1. one must involve Shakespeare
  2. one must be a 90-level seminar
  3. one must meet the Diversity in Literature* requirement
  4. two may be creative writing workshops
  5. ordinarily, two may be related courses** from outside the English Department with DUS approval
  • *The Diversity in Literature requirement: applies to concentrators in the Class of 2020 and beyond. Courses meeting this requirement attend to the creative achievements associated with alternative traditions, counter-publics, and archives of dissent. Students will encounter diverse perspectives and aesthetic traditions without which it is difficult fully to understand long-canonized literatures. Topics include, but are not limited to: (1) the historical construction of markers of difference, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality—and their intersections, including intersections with dialect; and (2) the imaginative and formal innovations produced by disenfranchised groups. These fall courses and spring courses will fulfill this distribution requirement. Joint concentrators are not required to fulfill the Diversity in Literature requirement but are strongly encouraged to do so with an additional elective.

**Related courses: students on either the elective or honors track have the special, flexible feature of using up to two related courses from outside the English Department. For this option, generally, you may declare any course in the humanities to count as a concentration elective. To petition a course for inclusion in your English plan, you should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies and include the course syllabus, your final paper or project, and the reason you wish to count the class for concentration credit.

Elective concentrators take eight additional courses:

  • one must involve Shakespeare
  • one must meet the Diversity in Literature* requirement
  • two may be creative writing workshops
  • two may be related courses** from outside the English Department with DUS approval

*The Diversity in Literature requirement: applies to concentrators in the Class of 2020 and beyond. Courses meeting this requirement attend to the creative achievements associated with alternative traditions, counter-publics, and archives of dissent. Students will encounter diverse perspectives and aesthetic traditions without which it is difficult fully to understand long-canonized literatures. Topics include, but are not limited to: (1) the historical construction of markers of difference, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality—and their intersections, including intersections with dialect; and (2) the imaginative and formal innovations produced by disenfranchised groups. These fall courses and spring courses will fulfill this distribution requirement. Joint concentrators are not required to fulfill the Diversity in Literature requirement but are strongly encouraged to do so with an additional elective.

**Related courses: students on either the elective or honors track have the special, flexible feature of using up to two related courses from outside the English Department. For this option, generally, you may declare any course in the humanities to count as a concentration elective. To petition a course for inclusion in your English plan, you should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies and include the course syllabus, your final paper or project, and the reason you wish to count the class for concentration credit.

Joint concentrators take five additional courses:

  • the Junior Tutorial (English 98r)
  • the Senior Tutorial (English 99r, two terms)
    1. Joint concentrators take senior thesis credits in their primary department. If English is the allied field, they will not register for English 99r in senior year, but rather the equivalent course in their primary department. Students approved to write a joint creative thesis must declare English as their primary field.

  • Foreign Literature
  • one course involving Shakespeare

Honors Program

Our Undergraduate Honors Program supports students who want to do ambitious scholarly, critical or creative work involving literature in English; it accommodates students who plan to write a senior thesis, as well as those who do not. It is designed to give you the resources to work collaboratively and independently on the literary questions of your own choice, while providing more background (and more preparation for further study) than the elective program can.

By Year

Sophomore Year

At the time of concentration declaration, each student will complete a plan of study reflecting their intended track through the department (honors vs. elective). Near the end of sophomore year, students with a concentration GPA of at least 3.40 (3.60 for joint concentrators) may apply to the Honors Program in English by submitting an application for a Junior Tutorial. Applicants will be notified of their tutorial assignment during the summer.

Junior Year

English 98r: The Junior Tutorial

The Junior Tutorial is a unique experience within the English Department and provides an opportunity to pursue focused, but flexible, study in a topic of shared interest to tutees and tutors. Encouraging in-depth exploration of topics not normally covered in the English curriculum, the Junior Tutorial also enables students to consolidate and refine critical skills gained in Common Ground courses while at the same time exploring possible thesis topics. Rising juniors have the opportunity to identify a thematic, historical, or chronological literary subject they might like to study in their Junior Tutorial. The tutorial is one term and is required of all honors concentrators.

Applying to the Senior Thesis 

The Creative Thesis

With approval from the staff of the creative writing program, students may pursue an original literary work in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, or screenwriting. Creative Writing Thesis applications by honors juniors (out-of-phase students included) are submitted in February. In addition to fulfilling other concentration requirements for the Honors Program, including the junior tutorial, students applying for a creative writing thesis ordinarily will have completed one course in creative writing at Harvard before they apply.

The Critical Thesis

In March of the junior year, students who intend to write a thesis must submit a senior thesis proposal of 300-500 words, including a tentative bibliography. Students whose proposals are accepted will then submit a summer reading list, made in consultation with their advisor, and then may then enroll in two terms of the senior tutorial (English 99r), in which they receive individual advising from a faculty member, or a combination of both a faculty member a graduate student in the field. Students seeking to write a thesis are responsible for securing a faculty advisor. This is best done by contacting one or more members of the departmental faculty at the time you are formulating your topic. It is especially helpful to have a member of the departmental faculty read and sign you thesis proposal before you submit it. Acceptable senior thesis topics may include any aspect of British, American, or global literature in English.

Non-Thesis Honors Program

In the non-thesis Honors Program, students are required to take two additional English 90 seminars, in lieu of English 99r, or other small-format courses in the department (for a total of three). Note that students who elect this option will not be eligible to receive a degree recommendation higher than “with Honors.”

Senior Year

Writing the Critical Thesis 

The senior critical thesis explores a topic – ordinarily dealing with English and American texts (this may not be the case for joint concentrators) – which may be defined in a variety of ways: by author, work, genre, theme, theoretical issue, or historical period. The project must be of sufficient originality and interest to merit about ten months of research and writing and should demonstrate knowledge of the criticism written on the subject, from periodicals as well as books. Scrupulous citation of sources must be observed. The thesis should normally be divided into two or three essay-length chapters, with an introduction or a conclusion, and must include a bibliography. We expect the senior thesis to consist of original work that has not previously been submitted for grading. A partial exception is made for creative theses that build substantially on earlier work.

Research for the thesis often begins at the end of the second term of junior year or during the summer. Critical thesis writers are strongly encouraged, immediately upon returning to campus, to schedule regular meeting times with thesis advisors. In early December students must submit at least twenty pages of the thesis to their advisers; failure to do so will result in being dropped from the senior tutorial. Thesis writers are strongly advised, however, to complete, by the end of the first term, a draft of the entire thesis, which may then be refined, in consultation with the advisor, in the five weeks of the spring term leading up to the thesis deadline. Because of the complex procedures necessary for grading theses and determining levels of honors, no exceptions to this deadline will be made.

The Annotated Bibliography and Prospectus

You will complete a substantial annotated bibliography to help guide your research, which will be reviewed by your advisor. They will make suggestions or direct you to other faculty who can help you fill in gaps. Depending on where you are in the conception of your thesis project, your advisor may also require that you write a prospectus. This three-page prospectus should define the topic of the thesis, specify the works to be studied, discuss the method of analysis to be used, and state why the project is worthwhile. Submit these document(s) directly to your advisor(s).

Writing the Creative Thesis 

The senior creative thesis offers students the opportunity to write a substantial work of creative writing in a single genre: A collection of short stories or portion of a novel for fiction writers; a memoir or set of essays for nonfiction writers; a collection of poetry; a full-length play, screenplay or television script. Students should consider their thesis to be a nearly year-long endeavor--from the time they are notified about their proposals in March of junior year to submission of the finished work in March of senior year. Thesis writers are strongly encouraged to schedule an initial meeting with their advisor upon acceptance to the thesis track and to meet regularly with their advisor starting no later than the start of fall term of senior year. While creative theses are not due until early March, thesis writers are strongly advised to complete a first draft of the entire thesis by the end of the first term. Creative theses are expected to be polished and refined works of creative writing, and students will want the five weeks of the spring term leading up to the thesis deadline to consult with their advisors and revise their initial drafts. We expect creative theses to consist of original work that has not previously been submitted for grading, although some exceptions can be made for theses that build substantially on earlier work.

Evaluating the Senior Thesis

Theses will be graded cum laude (“with praise”), magna cum laude (“with great praise”), and summa cum laude (“with highest praise”), with pluses and minuses (there is no summa plus). Two faculty members who are not the thesis advisor will read and comment on each thesis and give a grade. In the event that the two readers’ marks differ by more than a whole step (e.g., a cum and a magna plus , or a magna minus and a summa), a third reader will be asked to read and grade the thesis (but is not required to write comments). In either case, the final thesis grade will then consist of the average of all grades, with equal weight given to each.

Latin grades for final thesis readings correspond to the following values:

Summa cum laude 3.93-4.00
Summa cum laude minus 3.80-3.92
Magna cum laude plus 3.67-3.79
Magna cum laude 3.60-3.66
Magna cum laude minus 3.53-3.59
Cum laude plus 3.46-3.52
Cum laude 3.40-3.45

Thesis comments and grades will be available in mid April; thesis writers will be notified by e-mail when all readings are in. Copies of magna through summa level theses will be deposited in the university archives.

Honors Oral Examinations

In order to qualify for a departmental degree recommendation of highest honors (see section on degree recommendations below), all eligible senior honors concentrators must take a forty-five minute oral examination by two faculty members at the end of the final term. To be eligible a senior must have 1) a concentration GPA of 3.80 or higher and 2) an average of thesis readings in the magna plus range (in where both readings are either magna pluses or at least one of the readings is in the summa range). Seniors will be notified of eligibility in April of senior year. The examination is optional. Eligible seniors who choose not to take the examination will be recommended by the department for high honors.

The examination is graded with the same Latin designations as the thesis and will be used by the faculty, in conjunction with the concentration GPA and thesis grades, to arrive at a final departmental degree recommendation.

To take the examination the students must submit, two weeks beforehand, a list of readings gleaned from the student’s time as an English concentrator and the titles of all major course essays written in that time. (Sample lists are available in the undergraduate program office.)

Examinees will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of periods, authors, and genres, and to draw connections among them. The examiners will almost certainly not let it get bogged down in discussing all the works in any one area. Mock sessions with tutors, advisors, and classmates may be helpful.

Departmental Honors Recommendations and College Latin Honors

In May of each year the full department faculty meets to determine departmental honors, also referred to as “honors in field.” There are four categories: no honors, honors, high honors, and highest honors. A further purpose of this meeting is to provide recommendations to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which decides the level of Latin honors (cum laudemagna cum laude, and summa cum laudeon the basis of the student’s departmental recommendation and overall academic record.

The determination of Latin honors at the College level is limited to a percentage of the graduating class, roughly as follows: 4-5% summa cum laude , 15% magna cum laude , and 30% cum laude, such that the total of all three types of degrees represents slightly less than 50% of the graduating class.

New cumulative GPA cutoffs will be determined for each graduating class. For students receiving a November or a March degree, the college applies the cutoffs established for the previous June degrees. For details on this process, see the FAQ page on the web site of the College Dean. You may also want to review the FAS Handbook for Students. Questions should be directed to the registrar’s office or to a student’s Resident Dean.

 

Foreign Literature Requirement

The foreign literature requirement for honors candidates goes beyond the College’s foreign language requirement. In simple terms, it asks honors candidates to take one course (4 credits) in which works of literature are read in the original language, and thus rules out basic grammar and comprehension courses. Foreign literature in English translation does not count, nor does a single course that deals primarily with language fundamentals.

Alternatives within the Foreign Literature Requirement:

  • Eight credits of Anglo-Saxon (Old English). Students can take English 102, and its continuation in English 103.
  • Eight credits of continued study in a foreign language at the intermediate or advanced level. Students may use this option to undertake advanced study of the language they used to fulfill the college requirement.

Sophomores and juniors exercising this option should note that the second half of a full course or the second of two half courses will count for one of their related course options.

List of Approved Foreign Literature Courses

Arabic

  • Arabic 241ar       Advanced Modern Arabic Bridge: Language, Literature, and Culture I
  • Arabic 241br       Advanced Modern Arabic Bridge: Language, Literature, and Culture II

Chinese              

  • CHNSE 106a        Introduction to Literary Chinese
  • CHNSE 106b        Introduction to Literary Chinese
  • CHNSE 107a        Intermediate Literary Chinese
  • CHNES 107b        Intermediate Literary Chinese
  • CHNES 107c        Introduction to Poetry
  • CHNSE 130A       Pre-Advanced Modern Chinese
  • CHNSE 140A       Advanced Modern Chinese
  • CHNSE 166r         Chinese in Humanities
  • CHNSLIT 152       Masterworks of Chinese Fiction: Tradition and Modernity

Celtic            

  • Celtic 195             Modern Scottish Gaelic Literature

Classics           

  • Greek 106            Greek Tragedy
  • Greek 109            The Literature of Affliction
  • Greek 110r          Plato’s Symposium
  • Greek 112a         History of Greek Literature I
  • Greek 112b         History of Greek Literature II
  • Greek 116r          Greek Lyric Poetry
  • Latin 102              Catullus
  • Latin 104              Ovid’s Metamorphoses
  • Latin 105              The Letters of Cicero and Pliny
  • Latin 108              Cicero and Sallust on Catiline
  • Latin 111              Horace: Satires and Epistles
  • Latin 112a            History of Latin Literature I
  • Latin 112b           History of Latin Literature II
  • Latin 121              Petronius and Apuleius
  • Latin 122              Horace, Odes
  • Latin 133              Pagan and Christian Poetry in Late Antiquity
  • Latin 137              Tacitus on the Principate
  • Latin 141              Prudentius
  • MEDLATIN 123   Augustine, De civitate dei
  • MODGRK 100     Advanced Modern Greek: Introduction to Modern Greek Literature

French             

  • French 50             Upper-Level French II: Recounting the Francophone Experience: Love, Loss, and Rebellion
  • French 61a          Classicism and Modernity: An introduction to Performance
  • French 61b          From Comic Books to Graphic Novels: Representations of Francophone Identities
  • French 61f           Introduction to Francophone Writers
  • French 61m         Modern Stories about Paris
  • French 61q          Québec Literature: Quiet Revolutions
  • French 70a          Introduction to French Literature I: From the Middle Ages to Modernity
  • French 70b          Experiments in Justice, Gender, and Genre: Introduction to 19th - 21st Century French Literature
  • French 70c           Introduction to French Literature III: The Francophone World
  • French 71a          Classicism and Modernity: An Introduction to Performance
  • French 75             Text and Image: Novels & their Film Adaptations
  • French 76             Protest, Dissent, and Resistance in French Literature
  • French 80             French Theater across Time: An Introduction to Performance
  • French 81             Imagining Elsewhere
  • French 85             “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel…”: Apocalyptic and Dystopian French Fiction
  • French 88             Comic Relief: The Power of Humor in Social Fiction
  • French 90f           Beyond France: Transnational Francophone Literature
  • French 90m         Performing Madness in French Literature
  • French 90md      Doctors and Patients in Medieval and Early Modern French Literature
  • French 90w         “Bad” Women in French Literature
  • French 90t           Writing and Re-Writing French Theater
  • French 105          Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes or the Beginning of Modern Fiction
  • French 108          “Amours et armes”: A Study of Medieval Romances
  • French 112          Lyric Poetry in Medieval France (12th to 15th Century)
  • French 114          Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus: French Arthurian Texts from the 12th to the 16th Century
  • French 117          Witches’ Narratives in Medieval and Early-Modern French Literature
  • French 121          The Text of the Renaissance
  • French 122          Montaigne and the Literature of Encounter
  • French 124          Violences, passions et performance. Ordres et désordres de la scène classique
  • French 128          Growing Pains: Le roman d'apprentissage, l'apprentissage du roman
  • French 129          Les masques de l’homme de cour : civilité et société au XVIIe siècle
  • French 132b        20th-Century French Fiction II: The Experimental Mode
  • French 136          Feminist Literary Criticisms
  • French 139b        The 18th Century: Ethical Dilemmas
  • Frecnh 140          Gods and Giants in the French Renaissance
  • French 143          Vision and Violence in 17th Century France
  • French 149          Queer Fictions
  • French 152          La Poésie française au XIXe siècle
  • French 153          The Novel after the New Novel
  • French 155          Metamorphoses of Vampire
  • French 157          The Hermaphroditic Imagination
  • French 162          Voyages of Self-Discovery
  • French 167          Parisian Cityscapes
  • French 172          Twentieth-Century Republican Geographies
  • French 177          Poetic Revolutions
  • French 180          "The Words to Say It": Women Writing in French from Colette to Satrapi
  • French 185          National Identity and Narrative Representation in 20th-Century Francophone Literature
  • French 188          They Write in French from Egypt, Lebanon, and the Maghreb: Feminine Voices
  • French 190          Albert Camus

German              

  • German 65          German Drama and Theater: Brecht and Beyond
  • German 69          Crossing Border in 20th and 21st Century German Culture
  • German 71          German Literature from Goethe to Nietzsche (formerly German 50a)
  • German 72          German Literature from Kafka to Jelinek (formerly German 50b)
  • German 101        German Literature, Culture, and Society
  • German 102        Protest, Dissent, and Resistance in French Literature
  • German 105        Women's Voices in German Medieval Literature
  • German 115        Deutsche Komödie (German Comedy)
  • German 120        Age of Goethe
  • German 123        Fear and Pity: German Tragedies from the 18th to the 20th Century
  • German 125        Love and Betrayal in German Literatures
  • German 131        Deutsche Romantik: Zwischen Fragmentierung und Heilung
  • German 141        Social Dynamics in Twentieth-Century Modernism
  • German 142        Writing to the Point: Short Forms
  • German 159        Robert Musil: Writing Modernity
  • German 161        Körper, Kommunikation, Medien: Literatur im 21. Jahrhundert
  • German 167        History and Memory in the Literature of Migration
  • German 181        Heinrich von Kleist or the End of the 18th Century
  • German 190        Literature and Violence in the 20th Century

 

Modern Greek

  • Modgrk 100        Advanced Modern Greek: Introduction to Modern Greek Literature

Hebrew             

  • Hebrew 143        Deuteronomy
  • Mod-Heb 130a  Advanced Modern Hebrew I
  • Mod-Heb 130b  Advanced Modern Hebrew II

Italian         

  • Italian 70              A Panorama of Italian Literature (1300-present)
  • Italian 80              Visions of Poetry
  • Italian 130c          Dante’s Paradiso
  • Italian 131            Authoring the Commedia (Dante and the Classical Tradition)
  • Italian 136            Cultural Migrations between Africa and Italy
  • Italian 141            Epic Wars: Heroic Stories from Homer to the Renaissance
  • Italian 147            The Culture of the Baroque
  • Italian 166            Italian Modernisms
  • Italian 180            Inventing Italy: Populism and Identity

Japanese              

  • Japanese Literature 164 Romance and Eros in the Fiction of Pre-modern Japan and China

Jewish       

  • Jewish Studies 149           Topics in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Exegesis at Qumran

Nepali  

  • Nepali 104a         Readings in Modern Nepali Literature
  • Nepali 104b        Readings in Modern Nepali Literature

Persian  

  • Persian 130br     Literary and Historical Texts in Persian

Portuguese             

  • Portuguese 90ml Brazilian Popular Music and Literature
  • Portuguese 122a   Introduction to the Literature of Portugal I
  • Portuguese 122b  Introduction to the Literature of Portugal II
  • Portuguese 123a  Portuguese Literary Studies I
  • Portuguese 123b  Portuguese Literary Studies II
  • Portuguese 141     The Short Stories of Machado de Assis
  • Portuguese 142    Introduction to Eça de Queiroz
  • Portuguese 179    Forms of Disbelonging: Contemporary Brazilian Aesthetics
  • PORTUG 182         The worlds of Camões

Russian     

  • Russian 113         Advanced Russian: Readings in Russian Literature
  • Russian 114         Advanced Russian: Russian Cultural Self-Images and National "Mentality"

Slavic               

  • Slavic 117            Advanced Russian: Reading Literary Texts (formerly Slavic 121)
  • Slavic 151             Experiments in Reading: Chekhov and Nabokov
  • Slavic 152             Pushkin
  • Slavic 154             Introduction to Russian Poetry
  • Slavic 158             Gogol’s Short Fiction
  • Slavic 166             Russian-Ukrainian Literary Relations in the 19th Century: Conference Course
  • Slavic 171             Writing Women in Post-1989 Poland
  • Slavic 173             Polish Romanticism
  • Slavic 180             Russian Symbolist Poetry
  • Slavic 181             Russian Poetry of the 19th Century
  • Slavic 182             Problems in 20th-Century Poetry: Conference Course
  • Slavic 185             18th-Century Russian Literature: Seminar
  • Slavic 186             Poetry after Brodsky: How Russian Is It?

Spanish

  • Spanish 50           Advanced Spanish II: Creative Writing and Performance
  • Spanish 61a         Pre-Textos: Las artes interpretan
  • Spanish 62           Crossing Cultures: Advanced Spanish Through Translation and Creative Writing
  • Spanish 65           Bilingual Arts
  • Spanish 70a         Hispanic Literature: the Middle Ages
  • Spanish 70b        Golden Age Literature
  • Spanish 70c         Documenting Spanish Modernity: A Survey of SpanisArh Literature and Culture from the 19th to the 21st Centuries
  • SPANSH 70c        Tales of Two Spains: A Survey of Spanish Modern Literature Culture (18th to 21st Centuries)
  • Spanish 71a         Continuity and Discontinuity in Colonial Latin America
  • Spanish 71b        Introduction to Modern Latin American Literature
  • Spanish 72           Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Literature and Culture
  • Spanish 80gr       How to Do Things with Grammar: the Poet in Love and War
  • Spanish 80t         Words of Which History is Made: Translation Workshop on 20th-Century Spain
  • Spanish 87           Things in Literature
  • Spanish 90h        Allegories of Identity in Latin American Literature
  • Spanish 90j          La juventud latinoamericana en el cine y la literatura
  • Spanish 90lw      The Spanish Novela: Telling Stories of Love and War in Early Modern Spain
  • Spanish 109        Displacing Spain: Workshop on 20th and 21st-Century Transatlantic Poetry (formerly Spanish 90tv)
  • Spanish 110         Hispanic Literature: The Middle Ages
  • SPANSH 110        Hispanic Literature
  • Spanish 120         Medieval Spain in the Poem of the Cid
  • Spanish 124         Don Quixote and the Art of Reading
  • Spanish 125         The New Art of Telling Stories in Spanish: Cervantes’s Novelas Ejemplares and Other Short Fiction
  • Spanish 129         Playing the Spaniard: The Politics and Poetics of Identity in Early Modern Spanish Theatre
  • Spanish 139         Trazar y tramar: La selva en la narrativa latinoamericana
  • Spanish 152         Magical Realism and Its Discontent: Latin American Novels That Didn’t Boom
  • Spanish 158         Transversal Poetics: Workshop on Translation and “Transcreation” of Latin American Poetry
  • Spanish 159         Escrituras de la crisis: Violencia y narrativa en la Latinoamérica contemporánea
  • Spanish 161         Technology and Mass Media in Modern Latin American Literature
  • Spanish 168         Madness, Transgression, and Anomaly in Latin American Literature/Locura, transgresión y anomalía en la literatura latinoamericana
  • Spanish 175         Let’s Read Gabriel García Márquez
  • Spanish 177         Tricksters, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Pícaros and the Picaresque Tradition
  • Spanish 179         Regarding the Pain of Spain
  • Spanish 182         Bodies in Crisis: Contemporary Puerto Rican Literatures
  • Spanish 183         Names of the Father in Latin American Literature: Paternalism, Politics and Literary Form
  • Spanish 194         The Borges Machine

The Joint Concentration

Upon approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, honors students may combine a concentration in English with a concentration in another field, supervised by one member of each department. In addition to the senior thesis, joint concentrators are often required to take more courses than other students. Only students with a strong record and a clearly formulated project across two disciplines should consider a joint concentration. Students must maintain a 3.60 concentration GPA.

Joint concentrators may declare English to be either their primary or secondary concentration: the requirements are the same for both. Students are expected to take the junior tutorial in English. While students having English as their second concentration are expected to enroll in the two-term senior tutorial in their primary department, they will nonetheless have a thesis advisor in English. Students approved to write a joint creative thesis must declare English as their primary field.

It is crucial that joint concentrators coordinate their work with advisors in both departments as early as possible and as often as necessary. Early discussion before a student submits a thesis application in junior year is crucial. Students having difficulty managing the diverse expectations of both departments should contact the undergraduate program office for assistance.

The Concentration GPA

The Honors Program requires a concentration GPA of 3.40 and the joint concentration requires a GPA of 3.60.

Grades from all courses used to fulfill concentration requirements (including related courses and courses used to meet the Foreign Literature requirement) are used to calculate the concentration GPA. In addition, grades from English Department courses taken beyond the required number of concentration courses also count. Any course taught by an English Department faculty member, even if it is offered in the General Education curriculum, for instance, is considered an English course and will be factored into the concentration GPA.

Any course taken to fulfill a concentration requirement must be taken for a letter grade. Grades without assigned numerical values (e.g. CR, W, and SAT) do not figure into the concentration GPA. Grades from courses taken outside the University, including courses taken abroad, may count toward concentration requirements but do not count toward the GPA. Failing grades (E) will count toward the concentration GPA, but the failed course will not satisfy the intended concentration requirement.

The English Department uses a 4.00 scale to calculate grades in the following way:

  A     4.00 A-     3.67
B+     3.33 B     3.00 B-     2.67
C+     2.33 C     2.00 C-     1.67
D+     1.33 D     1.00 D-     0.67
  E     0.00  

Studying Abroad     

Harvard College’s renewed commitment to liberal education through internationalization has led to increased University-wide support for students interested in studying abroad. The English Department, together with the Office of International Education (OIE), works closely with interested students to supplement their Harvard education with an international experience.

There are a number of options to consider when deciding if, when, and where to study abroad. The OIE is the best place to start. There, you can find resources and advising to help you investigate the opportunities for international study. In addition to helping you research options, the OIE helps to navigate the application and approval process, which includes conversations with the English Department on concentration credit. Contact the OIE for specific deadlines, and please plan accordingly.

For information on concentration credit and how to incorporate study abroad with your studies as an English concentrator, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Undergraduate Program Administrator, or one of the members of the faculty advising team. Please note that credit from courses taken abroad may count toward concentration requirements but do not figure into the concentration GPA.