Michigan State University

Department of English Requirements

The English major requires a minimum of 36 semester credits. The maximum number of English credits is 40 semester credits. Any credits over 40 will necessitate the student taking an equal number of credits beyond 120 (or 123 if the student had to take MTH 1825) to graduate. Occasionally, the college advising office will allow a few additional credits in English, if the student has a well-rounded undergraduate program. However, the associate chair will need to request special permission from the college office for the student under those circumstances.

Currently, students may not use ENG 126, 203, 204, 205, 206, 218, 221, or 232 to fulfill requirements for the English major. English majors may apply only one 100-level English course (besides 126) to their 36 credits of English.

All students majoring in English must complete a 4-credit senior capstone, a culminating experience in which students do a project or course that integrates what they’ve learned. There are several options for the capstone:

  • ENG 484A, B, C or D – Intensive study in a certain genre, region, school or movement, literary period, or national literature
  • ENG 499 – Senior thesis, an independent research or creative project with an English professor
  • ENG 489H – Honors thesis, an independent research or creative project with an English professor, required for Honors College members
  • ENG 493 – Internship, a semester-long (summer, fall or spring) job experience using skills we teach in English classes, such as editing, proofreading, writing, communications, PR, marketing; students must work minimum 16-20 hours per week over the course of a semester.
  • ENG 400 + ENG 4xx level course – Student enrolls in approved ENG 4xx course and adds ENG 400 (Writing Intensive Unit) for one credit via a form available in the English department office.

Yes. Transfer credits that are not used to fulfill general education requirements may be used for English or cognate requirements if they are appropriate. The student must receive at least a 2.0 in a course at another institution in order to receive transfer credit. See the adviser for application of specific transfer credit.

The University’s Tier II writing requirement for the English major is met by completing one of the following: English 360, 362, 364, 368, 413, 489H, or 499.

See the advisor for more information.

Students who did a film studies concentration, ending FS14, earned a BA in English with a Concentration in Film Studies. (Students who have not yet graduated and are in the concentration in film studies should see the adviser about options for finishing their degree.) The new film studies major is administered within the Department of English but has different course requirements, which are designated as FLM, rather than ENG. This is the first time in our department’s history to offer a second major!

Students who do a film studies major earn a BA in Film Studies, with 36-40 credits in the major. The film studies minor is an elective for students in any major and requires 20 credits. Students who major in English may minor in film studies.

Yes. Students majoring in English may use FLM 450, 451 or 452 toward the diversity requirement, and FLM 230, 334, 355 or 455 toward the genre requirement.

College of Arts & Letters Requirements

The student must demonstrate second-year proficiency in a second language. Usually, the requirement is met by successfully completing the 100- and 200-level language courses or by placing into the third year on the language proficiency test. Students who want certification of second-year proficiency in a language that is not taught at MSU will need to find a professor who is fluent in that language and ask for verification of second-year proficiency from that professor. Such verification should then be sent to the Department of English for our records.

The language requirement may be taken at a community college or other university. If taken at a community college, the courses will not transfer to MSU if the student has more than 56 credits (junior status). In that case, the student may send to the adviser a grade report sheet indicating a passing grade in the fourth semester of the language at community college or take the language proficiency test in the testing office to become certified. In both of these instances, the student fulfills the proficiency requirement without actually transferring course credit.

The language proficiency test is offered through the MSU Testing Office. Students may take an online placement exam to determine what level of course they should register for. But, in order to count as a demonstration of proficiency for the language requirement, this exam must be proctored. Contact the Testing Office (517-355-8385) to make arrangements for a proctored exam.

A cognate is a thematically organized area of study.  The cognate is designed with the help of the student’s major advisor and is individually approved

As of Fall Semester, 2018, students are required to complete one, 15-credit cognate.  At least 3 credits must be completed at the 300/400-level. Cognates are normally composed of courses from a single academic discipline, although other logical and interesting combinations are possible, such as interdisciplinary cognates in Women’s Studies, Jewish Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Classical Studies, etc. Neither one-credit Kinesiology (KIN) courses nor one-credit music activity courses can be used to fulfill cognate requirements. Language proficiency courses cannot be double-counted toward both the language requirement and the cognate. However, students may take more language courses beyond the 200 level to fulfill the cognate requirement, or they may take 100- and 200-level courses in a second foreign language.

Of the 120 credits required for graduation, a minimum of 30 semester credits must be at the 300 or 400 levels.

Students must earn a minimum of 3 credits in one of the following experiential education options through an associated course approved by the college:

A.     An approved internship

B.     An approved service/community engaged learning experience

C.      An approved undergraduate research or creative project directed by a faculty member

D.     An approved study abroad program

E.      An approved study away program

MSU/General Education/Integrative Studies (CIS) Requirements

Students are required to take four writing credits in WRA and 24 credits in CIS/general education. Integrative studies (CIS) requires: 

  • 8 credits: Arts and humanities (IAH), including one “A” course (numbered (201– 210) and one “B” course (numbered 211 or higher with letter (example 211A, etc.))
  • 8 credits: Social sciences (ISS), including one 200-level and one 300-level course
  • 8 credits:  Biological and physical sciences (ISB/ISP), including one ISB course, one ISP course, and two lab credits.

If transfer students have general education deficiencies, they must complete the rest of their general education requirements by taking integrative studies courses. No other substitutions are allowed.

To satisfy the University Math requirement, students can complete one of the following options:

  1. Take MTH 116.
  2. Take two courses: MTH 103 (see note below) AND one of the following:
    MTH 101, MTH 102, MTH 114, MTH 124, MTH132, MTH152H, MTH 201, STT 200, STT 201.
  3. Take MTH 101 AND MTH 102.
  4. Take the proctored mathematics placement exam and obtain a score of 19 or higher.

Note: A MTH 103 waiver can be obtained by receiving a 15 or higher on the mathematics placement exam.

Except for general education requirements and courses in the student’s major, any course may be taken as CR/NC. The limit is one course per semester, for a maximum total of 20 credits overall. Neither English classes nor general education courses may be taken CR/NC. The student must earn a 2.0 in the course to be able to receive credit for it. Students wishing to take a class credit/no credit should enroll normally and then notify the Registrar’s Office by the first week of classes to change the course status to CR/NC.

Students may take and transfer a maximum of 10 of their last 30 credits for graduation from another four-year institution. Students of junior or senior status will be allowed to transfer credits only from other four-year institutions. A guest application form (available in the Registrar’s Office) must be filled out before taking the credits elsewhere.

Students can view MSU course equivalencies for commonly transferred credit at transfer.msu.edu. Please note that MSU may accept additional courses for credit; this Web site merely details transfer credit that MSU has accepted in the past. Students must have prior permission from the MSU department that will be accepting the transfer credits. Students wishing to take an English course not listed in ACTS IV at another institution (either in the United States or abroad), for example, must have the associate chair in English fill out the guest application form (available through the Registrar’s Office) to determine course equivalencies for transfer purposes. Students planning to transfer any courses are urged to consult with the English adviser before enrolling in the class in order to ensure that the course will transfer appropriately.

In most courses, 1.0 is a passing grade. In order to graduate, a student’s overall cumulative GPA and major GPA must both be 2.0 or higher. A grade of 1.0 in either a general education class or in an English class is therefore satisfactory provided that the cumulative GPA and the English GPA remain at least a 2.0.

Students may repeat up to 20 credits of work in courses in which they received below a 2.0. Their transcripts will indicate both grades, but the grade received in the repeat course will be the one that is figured into the GPA.

Michigan State University is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. That includes our commitment to admit and support students from all backgrounds, adhering to our values of being a campus that is diverse, equitable and free from discrimination. This website will provide information and resources for undocumented students, refugees and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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