MAJOR: A minimum of eleven courses (44 units). These must include three historical survey courses (ECLS 286 or 287, ECLS 288, and ECLS 289) and two seminars for majors (ECLS 390 and ECLS 490). Students may substitute one of the first-year courses 186-189 for its counterpart in the 200-level historical survey series. The remaining six elective courses should be chosen in consultation with the adviser; they must include one course from each of the following four categories, and no more than two taken at the 200-level:
Ancient Literature (courses numbered 200-209 or 300-309)
Medieval and Renaissance Literature (courses numbered 210-229 or 310-329)
18th and 19th Century Literature (courses numbered 230-249 or 330-349)
20th and 21st Century Literature (courses numbered 250-269 or 350-369).
Students considering going on to graduate work in literature are strongly encouraged to take additional ECLS courses beyond the minimum of eleven which will broaden and deepen their knowledge of literary history. They should also take ECLS 370, Literary Criticism. Most graduate programs also require proficiency in at least one foreign language.
ACCEPTABLE COURSES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS: Some literature courses in American Studies and several upper-division literature courses in Chinese, CTSJ, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish may be used to fulfill requirement. Contact the department chair for additional information.
CREATIVE WRITING EMPHASIS: Students majoring in English and Comparative Literary Studies may elect to take an additional number of courses in order to complete a Creative Writing Emphasis, a special track which provides a strong background in both literature and creative writing skills. Students choosing this emphasis must take a total of 12 courses, including ECLS 286 or 287; ECLS 288; ECLS 289; ECLS 390; ECLS 490; three more ECLS electives, one course from each of the historical periods noted above as Ancient Literature, Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 18th and 19th Century Literature. Only one of these may be from ECLS 200-249); and four additional writing courses. These four may include ECLS 380 (may be repeated for credit), ECLS 397 and/or 499; a variety of English Writing classes: 285, 286, 301, 401; Theater 380; French 343. Other opportunities for students interested in writing are listed in the catalog and are available from the emphasis director, Professor Martha Ronk. Students interested in pursuing the emphasis in writing should work out a careful program in consultation with Professor Ronk.
MINOR: Five courses (20 units); two courses from 286-289 (a first-year course from 186-189 may substitute for one of these); and three other courses, two of which must be taken at the 300-level.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT POLICY: ECLS majors who before entering Occidental have completed the AP test in English with a score of 4 or 5 may petition the department chair to be allowed to graduate with 10 courses (including all required courses and historical categories) rather than the 11 specified above.
WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in English and Comparative Literary Studies will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by successfully completing ECLS 390 in the junior year and receiving a notation of "Satisfactory" for its writing component. See the department chair for information concerning specific writing skills assessed for satisfaction of the requirement. Those students who, for legitimate reasons (study abroad, late entry into the major, etc.), cannot take ECLS 390 in the junior year will be required to submit a portfolio of written work consisting of three papers written in ECLS courses to the department chair for evaluation by a faculty committee by the end of the junior year. Students not achieving a "satisfactory" notation by either of these means will be required to undertake additional coursework in academic writing during the final two semesters of study. ECLS majors should acquire the full description of the departmental writing requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program for additional information.
COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT: All majors must take ECLS 490 (Senior Seminar) in the fall of the senior year, where they will design, develop, and complete a significant project involving literary research and analysis. The project will result in a substantial paper and a 20-minute formal oral presentation at the ECLS Senior Symposium held during the spring semester. See the department chair for more details.
HONORS: Honors may be awarded to graduating seniors who demonstrate excellence in course work and in an honors thesis. To be eligible, students must have a 3.5 grade point average in courses taken toward the major and an overall 3.25 grade point average. Qualified students who want to pursue honors should consult with the department chair during the spring semester of the junior year and should submit a proposal for an honors thesis by the end of the first week of Fall semester. Students whose proposals are accepted will register for ECLS 499 (Honors), usually for two units in both the fall and spring semesters, and they will write a thesis to be completed and orally defended before a faculty committee during the spring semester. Honors candidates are required to take ECLS 370; if possible they should take it in the junior year. For further details, see the department chair or your ECLS advisor and pick up a copy of the ECLS honors regulations in the department office.