Core Curriculum Requirements

As a Catholic university, St. Thomas seeks to foster in its students a deeper understanding of the totality of life and its purposes and to instill in its graduates an appreciation for the life of the mind and the joy of learning. To encourage this development, St. Thomas requires that all of its undergraduates, regardless of their major, complete coursework in nine curricular areas.

The English Department offers courses that fulfill the Literature and Writing core requirement as well as select courses that fulfill the Human Diversity core area requirement.

Literature and Writing Core Requirement

At the University of St. Thomas, students take ENGL 121: Critical Thinking: Literature & Writing and one of the ENGL 201-204: Texts in Conversation courses.

This sequence of courses develops students’ critical awareness of language by helping them to recognize the relationship between their own experience and the interpretive possibilities of literature. Attention is paid to the integration of the individual’s composing process and the process of reading and understanding texts. These courses foster attentive reading, careful thinking, and effective writing.

2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog

Students enroll in two courses:

  • ENGL 121 Critical Thinking: Literature and Writing (4 credits)

Second Course (one of the following)

  • ENGL 201 Texts in Conversation: Perspectives on Genre and Craft (4 credits)
  • ENGL 202 Texts in Conversation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (4 credits)
  • ENGL 203 Texts in Conversation: Thematic and Intertextual Perspectives (4 credits)
  • ENGL 204 Texts in Conversation: Perspectives on Language, Culture, and Literacy (4 credits)

Students with qualifying ACT scores may enroll in:  

  • One of ENGL 201 through 204 (4 credits) 


  • one of the following literature courses: ENGL 211, 212, 214, 215, 217, 218, 220, 221, 222, 297, 324, 325, 334, 337, 341, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 370, 371, 372, 373, 390, and 395, or two 2-credit ENGL 295 courses during J-Term.

For a transfer or study abroad course to be considered for the literature & writing core requirement:

Email English Department chair Dr. Amy Muse (, explain which course you are hoping to fulfill (ENGL 121 or ENGL 201-204), and attach a syllabus of the course you would like to substitute for it. (Simply a course description from a catalog will not provide sufficient information for the course to be properly evaluated and will not be accepted.)

Criteria for Core Courses in Literature & Writing: Transfer or study abroad courses will need to meet these fundamental criteria for the literature & writing requirement at UST. 

Active instruction in writing: What this means is that writing is not simply assigned to students, but that writing instruction is actively integrated into class sessions, including a revision process that encourages thinking and rethinking about literature and about the student’s ideas, purpose for writing, and his or her audience.

For credit for ENGL 121: at least 12 pages of formal, revised writing.

For credit for ENGL 201-204: at least 15 pages of formal, revised writing.

Active instruction in reading literature: What this means is that literature is not simply assigned to students, but that instruction in reading literature is actively integrated into class sessions. Literature survey courses that merely focus on “coverage”—taking students through a wide swath of texts without a lot of attention to reading closely and writing to think about the texts—will not usually be approved for core credit.

What the St. Thomas English department values is a rich integration of literary reading and writing.

Human Diversity Core Area Requirement  

Courses fulfilling the 4-credit Human Diversity core area requirement focus on one or more areas of inquiry: racial and ethnic minorities; class; gender; marginalized groups; and non-Western literature. A variety of departments offer courses that fulfill this requirement. The English Department offers the following courses that fulfill this requirement:

ENGL 217 Multicultural Literature
ENGL 218 Literature by Women: Critical History
ENGL 337 The Literature of Human Diversity
ENGL 341 Literature by Women: Critical Questions
ENGL 395 Issues in Literature and Culture (select sections only)