Frequently Asked Questions

Below find the answers to some common questions regarding the undergraduate programs and opportunities in the Department of English.

How can I request D-clearance for an ENGL course during the Add/Drop period?

As in past semesters, students will need to obtain the instructor’s permission to receive D-clearance and add an ENGL course during the Add/Drop period (though our large GE classes remain open registration through the first week). While all ENGL classes will have in-person instruction for Spring 2023, we will continue to follow the remote approval process established more recently in order to minimize non-essential in-person contact (though check back as the semester is starting in case there have been updates). The process is as follows:

-Please email the instructor of the course, from your USC email account, to see whether they will permit you to be a late addition. Be sure to include your USC ID number (please note: this is always very helpful to include in university communications), your major(s) (or minor if ENGL/NRST), and the specific 5-digit section number of the course you are requesting to add.
-ENGL instructors may accept or deny late additions at their discretion once the first day of class has begun, so it is their prerogative to deny your request if they are no longer accepting students for any reason.
-If they do allow you to add their course, either they or you must forward the approval thread to our departmental account (english@usc.edu) to request for D-clearance to be provided.
-Once provided, you will receive a confirmation email letting you know you can register. D-clearance approvals will not be processed immediately, but will be addressed once per business day.

How can I request D-clearance for an ENGL course prior to the first day of the semester?

If declared in the department: Students already declared within the English department can always check their email for the most up-to-date registration instructions. If you are simply looking for the Google form link (to be used if an Advisement Record is not required or has already been submitted), please see below.

If not declared in the department: Our GE-B courses start out open registration to allow any USC undergrads to enroll. They then must switch to D-clearance to ensure that our majors and minors have access to the specific courses they need to graduate. To request clearance before the semester has begun, please submit the Google form found here. Please expect a wait between submitting your request and receiving your status confirmation, of at least several business days if not around a week during the peak of the advising period. As a non-major or -minor of our department, you’ll be put on a waitlist for the course, and only in the event that a seat is available will we contact waitlist students in the order their requests were received. This may occur towards the end of the preceding semester, or potentially the week before classes begin (or any time in between), so keep an eye on your inbox. As such, please also be sure to register for an alternate course in the meantime. Please also note that the number viewable on Web Registration is the number of enrolled students, while there may be additional students who have been granted clearance who have not yet been able to register (meaning a section may read as having open seats on WebReg, while in reality it is effectively Closed based on D-clearance allottment).

If there are no more full business days left before the start of the semester, or the semester has already begun, please follow the procedure detailed at the top of this entry.

Advisement (On-Campus)

The information below which specifically pertains to our on-campus process of advisement will not necessarily apply during the COVID-19 pandemic — please check your email for up-to-date instructions.

What is a mandatory advisement hold and how can I get it removed?

If you have a mandatory advisement hold on your account that is preventing you from registering, please meet with a faculty or staff advisor and complete the advisement record. Your advisement hold cannot be lifted for the English or Narrative Studies major until you have met with a faculty or staff advisor.

Do I need to be advised by a faculty advisor or staff advisor?

It is recommended that all students majoring in English (ENGL and CRWT) meet with a faculty advisor before registration each semester. We will have many faculty available for advisement on a walk-in basis the week prior to the start of registration.

Students majoring in Narrative Studies (NARS) should meet with the staff undergraduate advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies prior to registration each semester.

How do I declare a major?

There is no formal application process to declare a major in the department of English. Please meet with the staff undergraduate advisor, who can clarify program requirements and help you complete the “Change of Major” form.

What majors are available in the Department of English?

Two undergraduate major programs are offered in the department of English: English and Narrative Studies. The English major allows students to emphasize in either Literature or Creative Writing. Both emphases in the English major require minimum 40 units of coursework. The Narrative Studies major requires 36 units minimum.

What minors are available in the Department of English?

There are three minor programs housed in the department of English: the English minor, the interdisciplinary minor in Early Modern Studies, and the interdisciplinary minor in Narrative Structure.

Can I double-major in English and Narrative Studies?

Yes, many students choose to double-major in English (either emphasis) and Narrative Studies. Please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the staff undergraduate advisor to help plan your coursework. Double majors may count up to 12 units of upper-division coursework toward both majors.

Can I double-major in English and another field in Dornsife or the professional schools?

Yes, the department encourages students to pursue second majors or minors in other departments in USC Dornsife and in the professional schools.

Can I major in English and minor in Narrative Structure?

Yes. Please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the staff undergraduate advisor to help plan your coursework. Keep in mind that 16 units must be unique to the minor (not counting toward other major or core requirements) and that English majors cannot use more than one ENGL course toward their Narrative Structure minor.

Can I major in Narrative Studies and minor in English?

Yes. Please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the staff undergraduate advisor to help plan your coursework. Keep in mind that 16 units must be unique to the minor (not counting toward other major or core requirements).

Why should I print my STARS report to meet with faculty advisors?

During advisement meetings, you will review your STARS report with your advisor to determine which requirements you have remaining. Faculty advisors do not have access to STARS reports.

Can I change my major from English to Narrative Studies?

This is usually possible, especially for students interested in exploring narrative in different departments across USC Dornsife and the professional schools. Please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the staff undergraduate advisor to help make this change.

Can I change my emphasis from Literature to Creative Writing?

This is usually possible, as the emphases share a lot of coursework. Please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the staff undergraduate advisor to help make this change.


How do I request d-clearance for an ENGL course?

During the advisement and registration period each semester, students majoring and minoring within the department of English have priority d-clearance for many ENGL courses. Students majoring and minoring in programs in the department may request d-clearance during advisement with faculty and staff advisors.

Remaining spaces may become available to students outside of the department toward the end of the registration period. Students should contact the staff undergraduate advisor in order to request d-clearance.

Where can I find course descriptions for English courses?

Course descriptions for undergraduate courses in the department of English are published online prior to the advisement and registration period on the “Courses” page.

I’m not an English or Narrative Studies major or minor. Can I enroll in a creative writing workshop?

The department of English offers ENGL-105x “Creative Writing for Non-Majors.”

Can I apply for ENGL-407/408 without taking ENGL-405/406?

Yes. Please keep in mind that if you complete ENGL-407 or ENGL-408 prior to enrollment in the ENGL-405 or ENGL-406, respectively, you will not be eligible to receive unit credit for ENGL-405 or ENGL-406. This is university policy.

When should I take ENGL-491?

Most students majoring in English should expect to enroll in ENGL-491 during the fall or spring of their final year at USC. Students planning to apply to the Honors program should complete ENGL-491 the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year, as successful completion of ENGL-491 is a requirement for acceptance to the Honors program. Students applying to the Honors program who are currently enrolled in ENGL-491 will be granted conditional admission to the program, pending successful completion of ENGL-491.

Degree Requirements

How do I get a substitution for NARS requirements?

In your exploration of narrative fields in USC Dornsife and the professional schools, you may find a course that you think should count toward your major requirements. Students requesting such a substitution should assemble three items:

– a course syllabus,
– which NARS requirement the course should satisfy,
– and a statement of justification.

These items should be attached to the cover sheet. This substitution request should be submitted to the staff undergraduate advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Keep in mind that substitution requests should be submitted and reviewed prior to enrollment in the substitution course.

What if I’m a transfer student and I took a class that I think should meet one of my major’s lower-division requirements?

Check your Transfer Credit Report on OASIS to make sure that the course has been accepted by USC. Only lower-division transfer coursework may be substituted for the major requirements. In order to request a substitution for your major requirements, provide the department of English with:

– a course syllabus,
– which major requirement the course should satisfy,
– and a statement of justification.

These items should be attached to the cover sheet.

May I have a prerequisite waived?

It is extremely rare that prerequisites are ever waived, and only the Director of Undergraduate Studies can authorize waivers.

Are all three introductory courses ENGL-261, 262, and 263 required for ENGL/CRWT majors?

Yes, students majoring in English will need to complete all three courses in order to graduate. These courses do not have a prescribed order. At least two of these courses must be completed before students enroll in upper-division major coursework.

How many classes outside of USC Dornsife will count toward my NARS major?

12 units from the professional schools will count toward your major.

If I’m a NARS major, do classes that count toward my major, such as CTCS-190, count toward my college unit requirement?

Courses from professional schools may count toward major requirements in NARS, but these courses do not count toward the college unit requirement.

Undergraduate Opportunities

What about study abroad?

Students interested in studying abroad should meet with our Director of Undergraduate Studies and our staff undergraduate advisor in order to discuss which courses may meet which major or minor requirements. Please come prepared with:

– a statement of justification for the overseas course,
– which major or minor requirement the overseas course should satisfy,
– and a course description.

See more information about study abroad programs at the Overseas Studies website.

What is Sigma Tau Delta?

Sigma Tau Delta is the international English honor society for undergraduate students studying English and/or Narrative Studies. The USC chapter is known as Eta Omega.

How can I join Sigma Tau Delta?

Applications will be made available annually. Please watch your email for important application information and deadlines. Students applying to the society must complete at least two English courses prior to application.

Where can I find information about job opportunities or internships for English and Narrative Studies majors?

Job and internship opportunities are available through the USC Career Center. The English department may post opportunities that are forwarded directly to us on our Facebook page.

What about the Maymester classes?

Maymester courses in the Department of English are by application only and include intensive coursework, field trips and seminars. Please watch your email for important application information and deadlines.

Capstone Projects

What is a capstone project?

The capstone project is the final requirement for the Narrative Studies (NARS) major. It is a cumulative project that draws upon the previous classes you have completed for your major. Capstone projects generally run upwards of 40 pages of critical work. Your study will be based on your research, and that research may be scholarly, literary, creative, or experiential—all subject to prior approval. Whatever the form of your research, the critical paper that results from your research must demonstrate a critical understanding and exploration of narrative. Please note that a screenplay is not an acceptable capstone project.

What is the difference between enrolling in a capstone seminar and enrolling in an independent project class?

In both cases, you work on an independent project largely of your own design. Some students may choose to work independently with an approved faculty member. Most students choose to execute their independent projects within the context of ENGL-492 “Narrative Studies Capstone Seminar” with other students.

Students enrolled in the independent project class will need to find a full-time faculty member in a relevant discipline to supervise their project, and will need to receive approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

How do I get d-clearance to register?

In order to receive d-clearance to register for a capstone seminar or the independent project class, you will need to receive advance approval for your proposal. The proposal should be detailed and typed. If you plan to work independently with a faculty supervisor, both you and your supervisor must sign the proposal.

You will indicate your enrollment preferences on your capstone proposal. The Department of English faculty reviews capstone proposals and grants d-clearance to enroll in an appropriate seminar or independent project class. Your preferences among seminar options will be taken into consideration, but cannot be guaranteed.

When should I start to work on my NARS capstone proposal?

Students should begin to work on capstone proposals during junior year, and in no case later than at the beginning of the semester prior to planned enrollment.

When are project proposals due?

Proposals are due to the undergraduate student coordinators during the semester prior to planned enrollment in ENGL-492 “Narrative Studies Capstone Seminar” or an independent project class. Earlier is always better, as revisions to the proposal are often required. It is your responsibility to submit your proposal with enough time for it to be reviewed and for you to register.

Which faculty can be my supervisor for my capstone project?

For students enrolled in ENGL-492 “Narrative Studies Capstone Seminar,” your faculty advisor will be the professor who runs your seminar.

With the Director of Undergraduate Studies’s final approval, a full-time faculty member at USC Dornsife or in one of the university’s professional schools may supervise your independent capstone project, tenure-track or non-tenure-track. Research projects should be supervised only by faculty identified as professors. Creative projects may be supervised by any full-time faculty member with expertise in the subject area.

When is my capstone project due?

If you are enrolled in a capstone seminar, your final project will be due according to the syllabus.

If you are enrolled in the independent project class, your capstone project must be turned in to your faculty supervisor no later than the last day of classes. Your faculty supervisor should submit your final grade via email to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the final day of exams.

All students are required to make a public presentation of their projects at the end of the semester.

Lastly, printed copies of your capstone project should be delivered to the Department of English’s undergraduate student coordinators by the final day of exams.

How does my faculty supervisor file the grade for my capstone project?

Your faculty supervisor should submit your grade via email to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the final day of exams.

Progressive M.A.

How many students are accepted to the Literary Editing and Publishing program?

The program admits a small class of exceptional students each year.

How will I find out if I have been admitted?

Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions in late spring.

What classes should I take if I am interested in applying to the program in the future?

The English department offers many undergraduate courses in nonfiction, editing, contemporary prose, and creative writing that provide a strong foundation for interested students. For students applying to LEAP, enrollment in ENGL 300 will greatly enhance your application. Students who do not have a major in the Department of English should consider one of our minor programs.

Am I eligible to apply for financial aid for the master’s degree in Literary Editing and Publishing?

Yes. The USC Financial Aid Office can provide guidance for you to apply for financial aid.

Are teaching assistantships or fellowships available for master’s students in Literary Editing and Publishing?

No. The English department does not offer fellowships or teaching assistantships for master’s students in Literary Editing and Publishing at this time.

What kinds of internships will students pursue in ENGL-609ab?

Students will pursue internships with literary professionals in L.A. across many industries—in media outlets, in news bureaus, with web content creators, and literary agencies. Although many students will coordinate the internships on their own, faculty in the program will also harness their professional networks to help students coordinate internships for ENGL-609ab. Most students will complete two different internships by completing one each semester of their final (fifth) year.

Do I need to be an English Literature, Creative Writing, or Narrative Studies major to apply?

No. Students pursuing bachelor’s degrees at USC in any major or school are eligible for admission into the program. However, it is recommended that you have completed course work in literature and creative writing prior to applying. Additional course work may be required for students without previous substantial course work in these fields.

How is a progressive degree different from a traditional master’s degree?

While most traditional master’s degrees require at least two years of course work, progressive degree programs allow exceptional undergraduate students to begin their master’s course work while finishing their undergraduate degree. This means that the time required is reduced to allow students to complete both degrees in as little as five years. At the end of the progressive degree program, you will have earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

If I’m a transfer student, am I eligible to apply to the progressive degree program?

Because students must have completed course work at USC and not have completed more than 96 units of undergraduate course work overall, students who transfer after their sophomore year (with 64 units completed) are ineligible to apply. Students who transfer after their freshman year (with 32 units completed) are eligible to apply during their junior year.

Can I apply to this program after completing my bachelor’s degree?

Only current undergraduate students pursuing their bachelor’s degrees at USC are eligible to apply to the master’s degree program in Literary Editing and Publishing.

Is there an application fee for the progressive degree program?

No, there is not an application fee.

Do I need to take the GRE?

You do not need to submit GRE scores to apply to the progressive degree program.

Can my undergraduate degree requirements be reduced if I’m admitted to the progressive degree program?

No. Students must complete all degree requirements for their undergraduate program. Undergraduate degrees at USC require a minimum of 128 units. The master’s degree in Literary Editing and Publishing requires a minimum of 28 units.

Are there any classes I can take to count toward both my bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree?

No. The 28 units required for the master’s degree in Literary Editing and Publishing can only count toward the master’s degree requirements.

Contact Details

USC Department of English

3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities 404
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354

Office Hours

Monday – Friday

8:30am- 5pm

Times may adjust in accordance with university holidays.

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