Forms and Procedures

English Department Procedures to accomplish the following:

To Declare a Major, Minor, or Concentration

Declaring the Major or Minor

Review the major and minor requirements.

After obtaining the necessary form from the Office of the Registrar and meeting with your current adviser to discuss your academic progress, bring the paperwork to the English Department Office (417 Barnard Hall). The English Department Assistant or Administrator will assign you a major adviser, and the Department Chair will sign your major declaration form. Once the English Department has made a copy of your form, take it to the Office of the Registrar.  It is not necessary to declare a concentration, but you can do so at this time, as long as it is not a creative writing concentration.  You can only add a Writing concentration after you have applied and been accepted.

To declare the minor, file the appropriate form with the Registrar after having completed the minor requirements.

If you are considering a major or minor in English, we host a Program Planning Meeting each semester for majors, minors, and prospectives.  Come to acquire more information on specific courses and to meet the professors and other English majors.  The meetings are generally held near the beginning of the advanced program-filing period (late October, early November in the fall and late March, early April in the spring).  As those time periods approach, check our site's home page for specifics.

Major with a Concentration

To declare a specific concentration, first review the major requirements and the requirements for the desired concentration.  After consulting with the appropriate professors and your own major adviser, file a new, amended Major Declaration form with the Office of the Registrar, signed by the English Department Chair.

Note: The writing concentration is an exception: students enter only by permission and at the end of their junior year.  For details on how to apply, see the description of the creative writing requirements.

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Declaring a Double, Combined, or Special Major

All of the following should be arranged through the Dean of Studies Office.  Please visit their webpage for details.

Double Major

A double major means that you intend to complete the major requirements in two departments with no overlapping courses.  You have the option of completing the senior project requirements in both departments (writing one essay for each major) or of doing a double major with one integrating senior project.  For both options you will need a sponsor in each department.

You may declare a double major any time during the second semester of your sophomore year or any time thereafter.  The forms are available from the Office of the Registrar.  Use the Major Form for a complete double major; if you are doing one senior essay, use the Double Major-One Integrating Senior Project Form.  See your English adviser for his or her signature of approval.  After you have taken the necessary steps in the other major department, including selecting your second major adviser, file copies of the appropriate forms in both departments, and return the original to the Registrar.

Both departments must agree on your departmental honors nomination and, if you are doing a single essay, on your senior essay grade.

Combined Major

A combined major is a program of study which allows you to create your own major from course offerings in two or more departments.  It culminates with an integrating senior essay, requiring advisers from the two departments.  Unless that particular course combination is listed in the Barnard Catalogue, you must petition the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing and receive the approval of the chairs of the sponsoring departments.  Obtain forms and instructions from your Class Dean in the Dean of Studies Office.  Both departments must agree on your senior essay grade and your departmental honors nomination.

Special Major

A special major is a major designed by you and not normally offered at Barnard; that is, it is not listed in the catalogue.  A list of courses that satisfy the special major must be approved by the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing.  A special major does not necessarily involve more than one department.  If it does, both departments must agree on the senior essay grade and departmental honors nomination.  Obtain forms and instructions from your Class Dean in the Dean of Studies Office.

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Major Advisers

When they declare, majors are assigned an adviser from the full-time faculty in the English Department.  (This holds for students declaring double and combined majors as well.)  If you would like to have a specific professor as your adviser, make arrangements with that professor prior to filing the Major Declaration Form.  Not every faculty member in the department may be accepting advisees.  If you would prefer to simply be assigned to a faculty adviser, indicate this to the Department Assistant or Administrator when you declare.  You will be assigned based on your academic interests and professor availability.

Should your adviser go on leave, you will be assigned to another professor for the duration of your adviser's absence.  This will be determined on the basis of professor availability.

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Transfer, Summer and Study Abroad Credit

The Department of English adheres to the policy set by the Committee on Instruction (COI) in 1997, the spirit of which is “to ensure, insofar as possible, that credit received for summer-school work is equivalent to credit received for academic-year work.”  This also applies to credit received for coursework at other institutions, completed either prior to a student's matriculation at Barnard or while studying abroad.

In all cases, majors should consult with their advisers to ensure a timely completion of the major requirements.

Summer Credit

The Department will vet for pre-approval completely documented requests for summer-school credit received before May 31st.  Requests received after this date may not be pre-approved, and you will not know whether your course will receive 3 points of credit until the Department reviews your course materials in the fall. In either case the documentation required and the minimal criteria are the same.

To obtain credit for summer classes, please consult the Registrar's website.

Documentation consists of:

  • a course syllabus, if available, or a list of required readings (not simply authors).  A list of readings that is slighter than 60% of that of a comparable course at Barnard or Columbia must be submitted for exceptional consideration by the submission deadline.
  • a brief description of writing assignments.  The minimal writing requirement for 3 points of credit is 12 pages (about 3,000 words) of analytic writing (essays).  For courses in creative writing we expect a portfolio of no less than 20 pages of prose or 12 pages of poetry.
  • a completed Summer Course Approval Form, available from the Registrar.

N.B.  Courses offered in Columbia’s summer session are treated differently from courses in other programs.  If you are certain that you will not apply a Columbia summer course towards completion of a major in English, approval by the English Department is unnecessary.

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Transfer Credit

Review the Admissions Office's description of Transferable Course Credit on their webpage.

Requests for transfer credit should be submitted as soon as possible after a student's matriculation at Barnard. Please complete all documentation prior to submitting your request.

Documentation consists of:

  • a course syllabus, if available, or a list of required readings (not simply authors).  If the list of readings is slighter than 60% of one from a comparable course at Barnard or Columbia, it must be submitted for exceptional consideration by the submission deadline.  Syllabi for Barnard courses are available either online or directly from the course's instructor.
  • a brief description of writing assignments. The minimal writing requirement for 3 points of credit is 12 pages (about 3,000 words) of analytic writing (essays).   For courses in creative writing we expect a portfolio of no less than 20 pages of prose or 12 pages of poetry.
  • a completed Course Approval Form.
  • a completed Request for Evaluation of College Work Completed Prior to Admission to Barnard, available from the Registrar.

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Study Abroad Credit

Requests for credit for courses taken while studying abroad should be submitted well in advance of a student's departure. Please complete all documentation prior to submitting your request.

Documentation consists of:

  • a course syllabus, if available, or a list of required readings (not simply authors).  A list of readings that is slighter than 60% of that of a comparable course at Barnard or Columbia must be submitted for exceptional consideration by the submission deadline. 
  • a brief description of writing assignments.  The minimal writing requirement for 3 points of credit is 12 pages (about 3,000 words) of analytic writing (essays).   For courses in creative writing we expect a portfolio of no less than 20 pages of prose or 12 pages of poetry.
  • a completed Course Approval Form.
  • a completed Study Leave Course Approval Application, available from the Registrar.

Foreseeable problems and suggested solutions:

If you cannot obtain a syllabus or reading list, or if the writing required in a course does not meet the above criterion, request the e-mail address of the instructor and write to him or her directly.  In the case of a syllabus or reading list, explain what the Department needs in order to grant your application for credit.  In the case of the writing requirement, inform the instructor of the policy of the Department and ask if you may submit additional (or lengthier) written work so as to satisfy it.  (Do not fail to add that this additional work will not affect his or her assessment of your work for a final grade.)

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Advanced Placement Credit

Barnard awards Advanced Placement (AP) credits toward the 120-credit requirement for the B.A. degree. The department does not credit an AP course toward the major or the minor. AP credit does not carry exemption from ENGL BC1201 First Year English: Reinventing Literary History.

Students who have passed the AP in English with a grade of 4 or 5 are awarded 3 credits toward the Barnard degree. For information on AP credit for other courses, consult with the appropriate academic department.

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Enrolling in Courses Requiring Permission or Restricted in Size:

Certain English courses are limited in size or have restrictions on admittance.  All creative writing courses require applications.  Enrollment limits and procedures are included in course descriptions in the Online Catalogue.  The Registrar publishes a list of special enrollment procedures, and the English Department posts a summary of its restricted courses each semester.  Courses on this list require additional procedures for enrolling.  The courses will also have statements in the "Comments and Reminders" box in the course's myBarnard listing or in the "Prerequisite" section in the Online Directory of Classes.  There are two ways Barnard College handles controlling registration for such courses:

  1. The Limited-Enrollment (or L course process), which is handled by the Registrar directly.
  2. English Courses flagged with the warning "Departmental registration required," "Departmental permission" or "sign-up required," indicate the courses for which you must sign up or submit application through the English Department.  Note: Find the dates and times for signing up on our sign-ups page.

The links below will take you to the procedures for enrolling in the following types of English courses:

Though the English Department offers courses in dramatic literature and playwriting (with ENGL or ENTH in their course number), some courses cover similar material but are offered through the Theatre Department (with THTR in their course number.)  For procedures for enrolling in theatre courses, please contact the Theatre Department or go to their office, 507 Milbank.

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Departmental Sign-ups:

Signing up for Senior Seminars (BC3997 and 3998) and the Junior Colloquium (BC3159 and 3160) is done online through a special tab in myBarnard, even if you are studying abroad.

The sign-up process for all other restricted enrollment courses begins shortly after our Program Planning meetings held near the beginning of the Program Planning period each semester.  Please find more information on our sign-ups page.

If you are studying abroad, are not currently studying on campus or are having any problems using the online sign-up system, please email english@barnard.edu.

Return to "Enrolling in Restricted Courses".

Enrolling in Creative Writing Classes:

You do not have to be a creative writing concentrator or even an English major to take Barnard Creative Writing courses.  However, all Barnard creative writing courses require a writing sample.  Instructions and the required cover sheet for writing samples are available on our "Forms" webpage or in the Department Office. Class lists will be posted at the beginning of the semester: students cannot add creative writing courses to their schedules until after they are admitted.  If a class list is not posted by its first class meeting, attend it.

Please note: You may not enroll in two creative writing courses simultaneously.  Screenwriting is considered part of the Film Concentration and has its own sign-up process.  However, if you are admitted to Screenwriting in addition to a creative writing course, you are strongly advised to take only one writing class in any given semester.

  • If you are interested in taking a creative writing course at Columbia, you need to follow the procedures established by the Columbia creative writing department (separate from the English department there).  See the Columbia webpage for details.

Return to "Enrolling in Restricted Courses".

Enrolling in Literature Courses at Columbia:

(for Columbia's Creative Writing, see above)

  • Links to course offerings at Comp/Lit courses at Columbia can be found on the Courses page of their website.
  • For the most up-to-date instructions on applying to Columbia courses, please check their website:
    http://english.columbia.edu.  Links to their admit lists can also be found there.
  • If you are considering using a Columbia course to fulfill a requirement for an English major, visit our "Substitutions" page.

Return to "Enrolling in Restricted Courses".

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Enrolling in The English Conference: The Lucyle Hook Guest Lectureship

Various topics presented by visiting scholars in courses that will meet for two to four weeks during each semester.  Topics, instructors, and times will be announced by the department.  Students must attend all classes to receive credit for this course.  The course usually begins after the official enrollment has ended, so students may still register up until the second session of the class.  However, an add slip will need to be brought to the English Department Office.  For past and current course information, click here.

Return to "Enrolling in Restricted Courses".

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Enrolling in Independent Study/Special Projects:

Students get one point of credit for special projects required by certain concentrations or, with permission, in conjunction with a class by enrolling in ENGL BC3996.

Under unusual circumstances, a four-point project can be arranged (ENGL BC3999).  Please note that proposals for this type of project should be submitted to the English Department by April 15th for the fall semester and November 15th for the spring.

You may download the appropriate form and their instructions from our website.  Once you have completed it and had it signed by both your instructor and the English Department chair, return it to the English Department Office (417 Barnard) to be given a call number.  Please note: Because the registration system updates overnight, you must give your completed form to our office by 4 pm the day before the last day of the final program filing for the semester.

Return to "Enrolling in Restricted Courses."

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Enrolling in Barnard English / Film Senior Seminars and Junior Colloquia:

Because the English Department's Senior Seminars (ENGL BC3197 & 3198: Studies in Literature) and Junior Colloquia (ENGL BC3159 & 3160: The English Colloquium) are required for the major, only senior and junior English majors may enroll in these seminars. The only exception: Film majors may enroll in the seminar with a film focus, usually offered in the spring. Students (including those studying abroad or on leave) sign up for these courses through an automated system in myBarnard. During the open sign-up period, they log in and indicate which sections are their top three choices. Shortly after the sign-up period closes, the final placement is posted in myBarnard and students may enter their assigned section to their program. For the senior seminar focusing on film, priority is given to film majors and English majors with a film concentration. For the senior seminar focusing on American literature, priority is given to majors with an American literature concentration.

The open sign-up period may be scheduled before the beginning of college-wide advance program filing.  Announcements and instructions are emailed to seniors, juniors and rising seniors and juniors via the department's class listserv for majors.  Make sure you are on this list.  Also check the list of Upcoming Deadlines on our Announcements page. 

If your status as a senior is in question or you are not sure you have declared your concentration, please resolve these matters with your adviser and the Office of the Registrar before the open sign-up period, or you won't be able to log in or be given the proper priority.  For more information, contact Sarah Pasadino in the English Department Office or by emailing her (spasadin@barnard.edu).

page last updated 12/16/16