College of Arts and Sciences

The undergraduate English major offers students a broadly based, historically grounded introduction to the literatures of Britain, the United States and, increasingly, Anglophone literature from around the world. Courses in literature emphasize techniques of literary analysis, theoretical problems posed by the interpretation of texts, the social, historical and political context of literary production and reception and the pleasures of reading. Most courses require significant written work and stress the development of critical thinking skills. Courses in language study examine the structural, historical, social and aesthetic dimensions of English. Our Creative Writing Program offers a range of workshops in verse, short story, novel and creative nonfiction or expository writing. Graduates of this degree pursue careers in a variety of fields such as media and communication, business, government, nonprofit, marketing, and education.

Major category: Capacity-constrained

Minor available

Curricular options: Creative Writing, Language & Literature

Topic: Arts

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Quarters of general admission to UW: autumn / winter (U.S. applicants only) / spring

Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission.

  • Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree
  • Visit MyPlan to run a degree audit.
  • Use the UW Equivalency Guide to find out how courses taken at a Washington state community or technical college will transfer to the UW.
  • UW college and school graduation requirements

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline:
  • You must enroll at the UW before applying to this major. Please contact the department for additional details.
This major is capacity-constrained. Completion of pre-requisites does not guarantee admission.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 in all English coursework taken is required for this major.

Transfer students must be enrolled at the UW before applying. Students apply to the English Advising Office in A2B Padelford during the first three weeks of autumn, winter and spring quarters.

Read more about applying to the UW as a transfer student.

Courses required for the major:

  • Completion of ENGL 202 A&H – Introduction to English Within the Humanities
  • ENGL 283 A&H – Beginning Verse Writing OR transfer equivalents (Creative Writing Option)
  • ENGL 284 A&H – Beginning Short Story Writing OR transfer equivalents (Creative Writing Option)


ENGL 202 is usually taken after transfer to the UW. Spaces are reserved for new transfer students in autumn, winter and spring in this pair of courses.

Additional requirements for admission to the creative writing option

  • Admission to the English major and completion of ENGL 283 (beginning verse) and ENGL 284 (beginning short story) or transfer equivalents.
  • Submission of an unofficial transcript and a writing sample of 3–5 poems and 5–10 pages of fiction (preferably a complete story) to the Creative Writing office (B-25 Padelford) during the first three weeks of autumn and spring quarters.
  • Admission is competitive. Completion of the above requirements does not guarantee admission.
  • English 283 and 284 or transfer equivalents.

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 333
Total from Washington community colleges: 72

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 22
3.50 – 3.74: 20
3.25 – 3.49: 15
3.00 – 3.24: 8
2.75 – 2.99: 4
2.50 – 2.74: 2
2.49 and below: 1

Career outcomes