Undergraduate Program

Introduction to the Major

Repeatedly ranked the #1 English department in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, we introduce students to literature in all its variety through time and across cultures. An English degree trains you in methods and theories of literary and cultural analysis, shows you how to conduct research and build complex arguments, and continually improves your writing. Majors and Minors gain crucial skills for any future profession: to communicate with clarity and confidence, to understand how words and stories work not just in books but in professional lives and society, and to reflect deeply on their reading. We are known for stellar teaching, with more winners of the Distinguished Teaching Award than other Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences departments.

The Major Curriculum 

A core of lower division classes helps students shape their literary interests. Three (ENGLISH 45A-B-C) offer wide-ranging knowledge of the history of British, American, and global writing. Together with a course on Shakespeare and an introductory seminar (ENGLISH 90), the sequence gives students tools of literary analysis for advanced study. Upper-level electives, including a seminar on method (ENGLISH 100), refine skills of writing and interpretation. In a capstone research seminar (ENGLISH 190 or H195A/B), majors design their own program of guided research and carry it out in an extended writing project. Even in required classes, there is flexibility in the choice of topics.

Amplify Your Major

  • Enroll in Berkeley Connect, a one-unit mentorship and discussion course.

  • Apply to the honors seminar course (ENGLISH H195A/B) and conduct long-term literary research to develop your own honors thesis while working closely with faculty.

  • Join an English department-sponsored student group.

  • Consider adding a Creative Writing Minor to your education.

The kinds of intimate attention to form and relation that we practice in reading literature is the prerequisite for an attentive, which is to say an ethical, presence in the world.
Billy Kieschnick-Mulligan, English Major

Four-Year Student Timeline

First Year

Explore Your Major

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

  • Use the Yearly Planner to help guide your career path during your time at Cal.

  • Learn about different career fields and how your skill set can be used in all of them.

Second Year

Explore Your Major

Connect and Build Community

  • Attend English Department events such as poetry readings, lectures by visiting professors, performances, social events, career panels, and more.

  • Get to know English Department professors and graduate students in office hours.

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Third Year

Explore Your Major

  • Use your five English Department electives to explore your special interests.

  • Apply to a Creative Writing workshop.

  • Talk to your major advisor about the optional Honors Program.

  • Review your degree progress with your major and college advisors.

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

  • Undertake an independent study with an English Department professor.

  • Planning a senior thesis or project? Apply for the Haas Scholars Program or SURF.

  • Participate in cutting-edge research projects through URAP.

  • Look into minoring in Creative Writing.

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Fourth Year

Explore Your Major

  • Finish remaining major, college, and campus requirements; complete a degree check to ensure you are on track to graduate.

  • Enhance your capstone research experience by taking classes that provide context for your research project in ENGLISH 190 or ENGLISH H195A/B.

Connect and Build Community

  • Reconnect with professors and graduate students who mattered most to you during your time at Berkeley.

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

  • Boost your Networking skills by attending events that get you talking to Berkeley alumni.

  • Apply to full-time jobs or graduate & professional school programs.

  • Utilize job board tools in your job search.

What Can I Do With My Major?

Jobs and Employers

  • Account Manager, Droga5

  • Attorney-Advisor, US DOT

  • Business Development Assoc., UN

  • Content Writer, Lucid Software

  • Copyeditor, Vogue

  • Detective, Vacaville Police Dept.

  • Global Head of Enterprise Tech., BofA

  • Healthcare Reporter, LA Times

  • Instr., San Joaquin Delta College

  • Literary Agt. Asst., ICM Partners

  • Nurse, UCSF

  • Partner Marketing Mgr., Google

  • Professor, Yale Department of English

  • Projects Coordinator, World Institute on Disability

  • Psychologist, Oakes Child Ctr.

  • Reporter, The NY Times

  • Research Analyst, Capital Group

  • Senior Marketing Mgr., Amazon

  • Social Worker, Veterans H. Admin.

  • Software Engineer, Chegg

  • Sr. Fundraising Mgr., Wikimedia 

  • Teacher, Tilden Preparatory School

  • Technical Writer, Workday

Graduate Programs

  • Archaeology

  • Business

  • Chemistry

  • Creative Writing

  • Education

  • English Literature

  • Journalism

  • Law

  • Medicine

  • Psychology

Sampled from the First Destination Survey and English Department surveys of recent graduates.

Learn More

Connect With Us

Cal Day

Come to Berkeley’s annual Open House in April for information sessions, campus tours, special talks, and more.

Golden Bear Orientation

Join other students in the major for new student orientation before the start of your Berkeley studies.


Attend department events with students, staff, and faculty. Visit english.berkeley.edu for news and updates.


Advisor office hours change on a semesterly basis. Visit english.berkeley.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-advising for the latest updates or to schedule an appointment with an Undergraduate Advisor, or to learn more about faculty major advising.

How to Use this Map

Use this map to help plan and guide your experience at UC Berkeley, including academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities. Everyone’s Berkeley experience is different and activities in this map are suggestions. Always consult with your advisors whenever possible for new opportunities and updates.