As an English Major, you will develop your ability to read and analyze texts written in the English language by studying British and American literature of the past and present and learning to view texts through a variety of interpretive lenses. You will also develop your flexibility and effectiveness as a writer capable of working in a variety of genres, including creative and expository writing.

Within the 36-credit hour Major in English, you will take a core of 18 hours, including survey courses on the history of British and American literature; a course devoted to Shakespeare; and a linguistics or rhetoric course. Beyond this core, you may choose to emphasize your studies in one of four fields of study. The UMKC Course Catalog has a complete list of requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in English.

The UMKC Catalog outlines the full details of the program requirements for each emphasis area:


The capstone experience is the culmination of your studies as an English Major. You will designate a 400-level English course as your capstone, or you will enroll in English 499 Senior Tutorial (with a professor’s permission).

The capstone packet outlines the requirements, contract, and assessment rubric for completing this course.

Preparing for Graduate School

If you are considering the pursuit of graduate studies in English, be sure to fully educate yourself on the process of selecting and applying to graduate schools, the nature of advanced study in the field, and the job prospects for individuals with higher degrees in English. Consider meeting with one of our professors to discuss your interests and your plans.

In general, we advise students who are interested in graduate school to develop a broad base of knowledge about the traditions of British and American literature during their undergraduate studies. It’s also a good idea to take a course on critical theory and to take English 499 Senior Thesis, which gives you the opportunity to develop longer essays with deeper analysis. Many universities require at least two semesters of a foreign language for graduate admission.