English (BA)


English majors read, discuss, and write about literature, film, popular culture and the law from a variety of perspectives. In doing so, they build skills in critical reading and analysis, verbal presentation, argumentation, and persuasive writing. In John Jay's unique English curriculum, students acquire a comprehensive and varied foundation in literary study, and then choose either an optional concentration in Literature and the Law or pursue the field of Literature in greater depth. The major prepares students for a variety of careers and graduate work in law, public policy, business, education, writing, and government.

Some details:
Part 1: Critical Skills
Part 2: Historical Perspectives
Part 3: Critical Methods

Part 4: Literature and the Law
Part 5: Electives
Part 6: Major Seminar

Credits required: 36                            Four Year Academic Plan

Prerequisites: ENG 201 and one general education Literature course: LIT 230 *, LIT 231 *, LIT 232 *, LIT 233 *, LIT 236 *, LIT 237 *.

Professor John Staines (646-557-4555, jstaines@jjay.cuny.edu)

CUNY Gateway Courses: ENG 101 Composition I: Exploration and Authorship: An Inquiry-based Writing Course; LIT 230 Expressions of the Living Past: Reading Ancient Worlds; LIT 231 Medieval and Early Modern Literature; LIT 232 Breaking with Tradition: Reading the Modern World; LIT 233 American Literature; LIT 236 Literary Perspectives on Culture and Globalization; LIT 237 Literature as Witness; and LIT 260 Introduction to Literary Study.

Honors Option: To receive Honors in Literature, a student must take both the Literature Seminar and an Independent Study that includes a research project, maintaining a GPA of 3.5 within the major. To receive Honors in Literature and the Law, a student must take both the Literature and the Law Seminar and an Independent Study that includes a research project, maintaining a GPA of 3.5 within the major.


Subtotal: 3 credits

LIT 260 Introduction to Literary Study*


Subtotal: 12 credits

Select four

LIT 370 Topics in Ancient Literature
LIT 371 Topics in Medieval Literature
LIT 372 Topics in Early Modern Literature
LIT 373 Topics in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature
LIT 374 Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature
LIT 375 Topics in Twentieth-Century Literature


Subtotal: 3 credits

LIT 300 Text and Context


Subtotal: 3 credits

LIT 305 Foundations of Literature and Law


Subtotal: 12 credits

Choose any four literature courses in English (ENG) or Literature (LIT); if concentrating in Literature and the Law, choose at least two of the courses identified with asterisks.

ENG 215 Poetry Writing and Reading
ENG 216 Fiction Writing
ENG 218 The Writing Workshop
ENG 233 News Reporting and Writing
ENG 235 Writing for Management, Business, and Public Administration
ENG 245 Creative Nonfiction
ENG 250 Writing for Legal Studies**
ENG 255 Argument Writing
ENG 316 Advanced Argument Writing and Response: Theory and Practice
ENG 334 Intermediate News Reporting and Writing
LIT 203 New York City in Literature
LIT 212 Literature of the African World
LIT 219 The Words as Weapon**
LIT 223/AFR 223 African-American Literature
LIT 265 Foundations of U.S. Latino/a Literature
LIT 284 Film and Society
LIT 290 Special Topics
LIT 309 Contemporary Fiction
LIT 311 Literature and Ethics**
LIT 313 Shakespeare
LIT 314 Shakespeare and Justice**
LIT 315 American Literature and the Law**
LIT 316 Gender and Identity in Literary Traditions
LIT 319 Law and Justice in European Medieval Literature**
LIT 323 The Crime Film**
LIT 327 Crime and Punishment in Literature
LIT 330 Alfred Hitchcock
LIT 332 Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee
LIT 340/AFR 340 The African American Experience in America: Comparative Racial Perspectives
LIT 342 Perspectives on Literature and Human Rights**
LIT 344 Caribbean Literature and Culture
LIT 346 Cultures in Conflict
LIT 353 Comic Books and Graphic Novels: Investigating a Literary Medium
LIT 357 Violence of Language: U.S. Latino/a Street Literature
LIT 360 Mythology in Literature
LIT 366 Writing Nature: Literature and Ecology
LIT 383 Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Latino/a Literature
LLS 362 Entangled Tongues: Bilingualism in U.S. Latino/a Literature
LLS 363 Il-legal Subjects: U.S. Latina/o Literature and the Law**
LLS 364 Ethical Strains in U.S. Latino/a Literature

Courses with two asterisks (**) identify courses that can be counted toward the LIT and the LAW concentration. The list of elective courses above is illustrative and not exhaustive. Students should consult the current course schedule for offerings in Literature (LIT).


Subtotal: 3 credits

Choose one (if concentrating in Literature and Law, choose Literature and the Law Seminar)

LIT 400 Senior Seminar in Literature
LIT 405 Senior Seminar in Literature and the Law

Total: 36 credits

*CUNY Gateway Course, for more information on Gateway courses in the major see the CUNY website.