CoursesSenior Seminars

Senior Seminar FAQs

Q: What is a senior seminar?

A: All English and American Literature and Culture majors are required to take a senior seminar in order to complete the major. Senior seminars are smaller (10 – 15 students) than the typical upper-division lecture course and aim to give students the opportunity to generate high-level learning in a collaborative environment. Senior seminar topics vary widely from quarter-to-quarter. Senior seminars are designed for majors nearing degree completion, and consequently require a high level of engagement. Seminar instructors will expect students to call upon skills in literary analysis and critical writing developed through previous coursework.

Q: When should I take my senior seminar?

A: Once you reach senior standing, you are eligible to take a senior seminar. You do not need to wait until your final quarter to take your senior seminar! In fact, we do not advise waiting until your final quarter—once you have senior standing and see a seminar topic that interests you, we recommend that you take it!

Please note that we do not offer senior seminars during Summer Sessions, except as coursework for certain departmental summer travel study programs.

Q: Which course numbers fulfill the senior seminar requirement?

A: Courses numbered 180, 181A-184, and M191A-E fulfill the senior seminar requirement. Please note that courses 180R (Junior Research Seminar), 191H (Honors Research Seminar), and M191P (Careers in the Humanities) do not fulfill the senior seminar requirement.

Q: What preparation is required for a senior seminar course?

A: All senior seminars require completion of the English 10 series or completion of English 11 & 87. Whenever possible, students should have successfully completed an upper-division course covering related material. (For instance, an upper division lecture on Medieval literature would be appropriate preparation for a seminar titled “Feeling Better in the Early Middle Ages”; a student planning to take a seminar on “Experimental Caribbean Literatures” would be well served by having completed an upper-division lecture on postcolonial literature or theory, etc.).

Q: Why are certain seminars restricted to American Literature and Culture majors on first pass?

A: American Literature and Culture majors MUST take a senior seminar on a specifically American topic, reducing the number of seminars eligible to fulfill their requirement. (English majors may take a senior seminar on an American topic if they so choose, but they are not limited to American topics and so have a wider range of seminar options). Seminars restricted to American Literature and Culture majors on first pass will open up to English majors on second pass.

Q: What else do I need to know about enrolling in a senior seminar?

A: If possible, enroll during first pass! Seminars are intentionally small in capacity and fill quickly.

Q: What is the difference between a senior seminar and a capstone seminar?

A: Capstone seminars, numbered 184, may be used to fulfill the senior seminar requirement. However, you are not required to take a capstone seminar specifically; capstone seminars are merely one type of senior seminar option. Capstone seminars are characterized by the following requirements: a) a culminating project; b) a presentation of a portion of this culminating project; c) the electronic archiving of that final project.

Q: Will I get an earlier enrollment appointment time if I am graduating soon?

A: Only if you declare your degree expected term well ahead of the enrollment period! Your degree expected term is the quarter that you expect to complete your degree. The earliest enrollment appointments go to students with 160 or more units AND who have declared candidacy to graduate within the next two terms. This means that it is crucial that you declare your degree expected term as soon as you feel certain of your plans. To declare your degree expected term, go to MyUCLA >> Academics >> Academic Profile >> Declare Candidacy Term.