A Guide to Advising for English Majors

Your Advisor

You will be assigned an advisor when you declare English as your major, but you are welcome to change your advisor at any time. There are two ways to change your advisor. If you have a specific professor in mind, ask him or her whether he or she would be willing to work as your advisor. Or, you can ask one of the department secretaries to assign you a new advisor.

Peer Advisors

When you’re assigned your advisor, you will also be given the name and contact information of one of the department’s Student Advisory Committee members. The members of this group are experienced English majors who will be happy to discuss the major with you from their own perspective as students. In general the Student Advisory Committee helps with the recruitment of English majors and serves as a consulting group for the faculty. You are welcome to join this committee; invitations go out each year early in the fall semester.

If your advisor goes on leave

If in a given semester your advisor is on leave from Villanova, the department will assign you a temporary advisor. Or, you can ask a professor you already know to advise you for the semester in question.

Consulting Your Advisor

Feel free to consult with your advisor whenever questions about the major arise—or even when you desire more casual conversation about literature and life. But it is still your responsibility to map out your classes and stay on course for completing the major. Try to do this work in advance of meeting with your advisor to discuss registration plans.

Double Majors

If you have a double major, make sure that you have been assigned a separate advisor for each major. You need to satisfy all of the requirements for one major and the major requirements for the second major. In other words, the CAPP for only one of the majors has to show everything as “met.” For the other major, as long as your major requirements are met, you’re fine. To give an example, if you have a double major in English and Communication, and your Communication CAPP is complete with the Fine Arts slot filled by an English course, then you don’t need an additional course to fill the Fine Arts slot that appears on the English major CAPP as “unmet” (on that CAPP, the Fine Arts slot will be listed as “unmet” because the course that counted for Fine Arts on the Communication CAPP will appear among the English major courses.)

Specialized Advisors

The English department has two specialized advisors:

  1. The department’s primary contact for graduate school applications is Dr. Travis Foster. If you are thinking about going on to graduate school in literature, you should reach out to him early. He and the rest of the members of the English Department “Placement Committee” can help you plan a suitable program of courses to prepare you for graduate study. Later, he and the committee can also help you in deciding where, when, and how to apply.
  2. 2. The department’s advisor for internships is Prof. Jody Ross.


Other useful information


The English department webpage is a good source of information about the major, as is our blog. You’ll probably find answers to most of your questions about the major on the webpage.

Course-Planning Chart

Take advantage of the English department’s Course-Planning Chart to keep track of the requirements you have fulfilled and still need to fulfill. The chart is available through the department’s webpage, through your advisor, and at the department’s office.


As an English major, you have the opportunity to design a track for yourself. A track allows you to give focus to your major by concentrating on a specific literary area, genre, or topic. See the "Tracks" webpage.

Teaching Assistantships

If you have a GPA of 3.5 or higher as an English major and overall, you can serve as a teaching assistant when you are a senior. You receive three credits for a teaching assistantship, and the course counts as an elective for the major. See the “Teaching Assistantship” webpage.


As an English major, you can receive credit for a variety of internships. All students interested in internships must apply through the Internship Office (SAC 107; 610-519-4232).

Study Abroad and Transfer Credits

The Office of Education Abroad can answer most questions about studying abroad: www.villanova.edu/villanova/provost/abroad.html.  You should also discuss your choice of courses with your advisor.  If you have a number of other transfer credits, be aware that in a few cases the number of credits that you may take while abroad may be limited: the college’s rules require that at least half the courses for your major, and for graduating overall, be ones you have taken at Villanova.

Taking More Than Five Courses—or Fewer

  • To be considered a full-time student, you must take a minimum of 12 credits each semester. If you wish to take fewer than 12 credits, you need to receive written approval from the Assistant Dean of the Office for Undergraduate Students. Be aware that taking fewer than 12 credits may make you ineligible for financial aid or scholarships, and that taking fewer than 15 credits may affect your graduation date, since a standard schedule is five courses of at least three credits. Summer courses, AP credits, and overloads can offset semesters with fewer than five courses.)
  • To go over the normal course load each semester (which is five courses of three credits or more, excluding labs and other one-credit courses), you must either 1) have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0; or 2) have achieved senior status and need a sixth course to fulfill graduation requirements.
  • If you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher or are a senior, and you wish to take a sixth course in a semester (going as high as 19 credits), you do not need to fill out any paperwork or receive special permission. But you have to wait before you can register for the sixth course; during the regular registration period, you will be allowed to register for only 17 credits. After all students have had the opportunity to register for five courses, the Registrar will raise credit limits, and you will be able to register for a sixth course in the usual way using your semester PIN.
  • Regular full-time tuition for a semester covers as few as nine credits and as many as 19. If you are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, you do not pay more to take a sixth course; you also do not pay less than full tuition unless you are taking fewer than nine credits (in which case you pay according to the number of credits you’re taking).