Declare Your Major

If you are ready to declare right now, read on for details about the process and requirements.

1. When to Declare

Ideally, you should declare the major as soon as you have completed the necessary requirements, so as to take advantage of departmental advising in planning the best sequence of upper-level courses. If you can complete the GER Composition Requirement in your freshman year and English 215 the following semester, you should plan to declare the major in the spring of your sophomore year. You must either be currently taking English 215 or have completed that course in order to declare the major.

1a. Prerequisite: English 215 “Introduction to English Studies”

Before declaring the major, all students are required to take, or be enrolled in, English 215: Introduction to English Studies. This is a rigorous sophomore-level course designed to introduce students to multiple forms of texts — novels, poetry, plays, films, TV shows, video games, etc. in English. This course combines an emphasis on close reading with the study of English in its cultural, historical, and global frameworks. Since English 215 is intended to help prepare students for their upper-level English courses, all students are strongly encouraged to take it before registering for any higher courses. Information on specific course requirements for each track is available at Undergraduate Major Tracks.

2. Explore the Different Tracks in the Major

The English Major is divided into specific tracks with different course requirements as described at Undergraduate Major Tracks. Examine the tracks and think about which one suits your interests best. You can make an appointment with the Coordinator of a track to get more information. See our Contact page for their names and email addresses.

3. Submit the Declaration of Major Form

To begin the process, fill out and submit the

Declaration of Major Form »

4. Initial Advising Appointment to Declare the Major

The next step is to contact the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, preferably via email ( You must request an appointment. At that appointment, the Associate Chair can answer your questions about the major, including what track within the major to choose based on your interests and career plans.

Selecting a major advisor will be easy for you if you have already encountered a faculty member you like and respect, and with whom you feel comfortable. If you have not yet met a professor that you would want as an advisor, you will have the opportunity to discuss with the Associate Chair your particular requirements and needs or discuss these with your Track Coordinator. For example, you will want to decide if gender or age, or ethnicity are factors for you. It is important that you feel at ease and are able to discuss with your advisor any problems that arise or any particularities of your hopes and aspirations. The English Department is an extremely diverse group, so it is quite probable that an appropriate fit between you and a faculty member can be found.

You should plan to meet with your advisor once a semester, before registering for classes, to talk over your progress in the major and your plans for future classes. (If you should forget the name, phone number, or e-mail address of your advisor, simply contact the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.)

A good sequence for majors and minors would be this:

  • Determine the courses needed to fulfill specific requirements and which of those are being offered in the upcoming semester.
  • Visit the online schedule and check what courses will be offered. The course descriptions attached to the classes on the UWM Schedule website should help you to refine your choices by telling you what texts will be covered, what the main issues of the course are likely to be, how many papers and exams will be expected of you, how grades will be determined, and so on.
  • Discuss those choices with your major advisor to get their feedback.
  • Do all this early enough so as not to be closed out of any courses you may want or need.

Honors in the Major

In order to qualify to graduate with “Honors in the Major”, English majors must maintain all of the following:

  • at least a 3.50 GPA in courses for the major,
  • a 3.50 GPA on all advanced (300-level and above) courses in the major, and
  • a 3.00 overall GPA on all UWM graded credits attempted.

Calculation of Honors in the Major will automatically be done during your graduation audit in L&S Advising.