By Mel Wensel, Director of Academic Services, UW English Department
Some important changes to English major admission policies and procedures will go into effect at the beginning of Spring Quarter 2009. These changes include both new prerequisites and new application procedures.
Since an extensively revised English major was introduced in AUT 2005, there have been two course prerequisites options for admission. Students were allowed to take either the two "gateway" courses, ENGL 202 (Introduction to the Study of English Language and Literature) and its mandatory writing link ENGL 197 (Writing in the Humanities), or any two literature courses from an English department. Beginning in SPR 2009, the only courses which will serve as prerequisites for admission to the English major are ENGL 202/197. Grade requirements have remained the same: Each applicant must present an overall GPA of 2.0 and an English GPA of 2.5.
The prerequisite change came about as a result of the difficulty we experienced in persuading students to complete ENGL 202/197 in a timely fashion. These truly are gateway courses designed to equip English premajors with foundational knowledge and skills. If not taken early in the student's career, they fail to serve their purpose. The only sure way to make this happen is to require the courses for admission to the major.
The primary reason that ENGL 202/197 were not established as the only prerequisites in 2005 was the awareness that doing so could create an admissions bottleneck for transfer students. To ease this problem, we will continue the practice of reserving an appropriate number of spaces each quarter in ENGL 202/197 for incoming transfer students. In Autumn 2008 all new transfer students who wished to take ENGL 202/197 were able to enroll.
Students who plan to complete the English major via the Evening Degree Program are not affected by this perquisite change. Because ENGL 202/197 are not offered through EDP, the literature prerequisite option will remain available to evening students.
Since 1990 the application deadline for admission to English has been the second Friday of the quarter. Starting in Spring 2009, that deadline will be pushed out to the third Friday. This change should reduce the number of requests for late applications that we receive, give students more time to gather together application materials, and bring the general English application deadline into alignment with the deadline for Creative Writing pathway applications. Creative Writing track application processes have remain unchanged.
Starting in Autumn 2008 the English major application went online. The new application has not only streamlined admissions processes, but has given us an important opportunity to gather meaningful data about incoming students. The online application is available to enrolled UW students only during the first three weeks of Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. For complete English major admissions policies and procedures, please visit our website.