Early Modern Undergraduate Specialization

The Early Modern Center offers a Specialization in Early Modern Studies to undergraduate English majors. The English Department encourages upper-division students to pursue particular literary and critical interests by selecting an area of specialization. The Undergraduate Specialization in Early Modern Studies focuses on English literature from 1500 to 1800. It encourages students to take courses on a wide range of topics throughout this broad historical span and to study in depth both minor authors of the period as well as such major figures as Spenser, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Milton, Pope, Defoe, Richardson, and Samuel Johnson. Students are encouraged to consult with Early Modern faculty members for advice in selecting their courses. See below for a list of 2019-2020 English department courses that count toward the Early Modern Undergraduate Specialization


Students who complete any four (4) elective courses devoted to the Early Modern period will satisfy the specialization requirement.

Please note that the Early Modern literature courses that satisfy mandatory requirements for the English major— English 15, English 101, and English 102—will not count towards the specialization—although these courses are recommended.

A senior seminar, English 197, in Early Modern Studies is advisable but not mandatory.

English Department Courses That Qualify as Early Modern Specialization Electives

  • English 15*: Introduction to Shakespeare
  • English 101*: English Literature from the Medieval Period to 1650
  • English 102*: English and American Literature from 1650-1789
  • English 105A†: Shakespeare – Poems and Earlier Plays
  • English 105B†: Shakespeare – Later Plays
  • English 114AA-ZZ: Women and Literature (when taught by an EMC-affiliated instructor)
  • English 128AA-ZZ
  • English 136: 17th and 18th Century American Literature
  • English 144: The European Renaissance
  • English 145: Studies in English Renaissance Literature
  • English 151AA-ZZ: Studies in British Writers (when taught by an EMC-affiliated instructor)
  • English 157: English Renaissance Drama
  • English 162: Milton
  • English 165AA-ZZ: Topics in Literature (when taught by an EMC-affiliated instructor)
  • English 169: Restoration and 18th Century Drama
  • English 172: Studies in the Enlightenment
  • English 197: Upper-Division Seminar (when taught by an EMC-affiliated instructor)

*: Recommended, but does not count towards the specialization
†: Will not count toward the emphasis when they are used in substitution for English 15

Early Modern Specialization Email List

If you would like to receive emails about the Specialization and about Early Modern period events, then send us an email and we will make sure that you are added to an Early Modern Undergraduate Email List. You do not have to declare a specialization in the period—nor do you even have to declare an English major–to receive emails about EMC events.

Early Modern Specialization Info Form and Request Form for Certification of a Specialization in the English Major