About English

Majors and minors offered

Professors Breashears, Cowser, Gates, Graham, Singer; Associate Professors Barber, Henry, Kittler, Ponce, Sturges, Vlagopoulos; Assistant Professors Hubert, Lee; Viebranz Visiting Professor Ndibe.

The English department considers the study of writing and the study of literature to be mutually enhancing. The writer studying literature develops a critical acumen that fosters sophistication of technique; the literary critic studying creative writing achieves an understanding of the ways an author thinks about craft. Courses in our department help students explore cultural backgrounds and values, examine the relationship between art and life, and discover the liberating qualities of the imagination. 

A major in English provides valuable preparation for careers in professional areas such as law, business, banking, management, and public relations, as well as in those fields traditionally considered literary in nature: editing, publishing, journalism, advertising, freelance writing, teaching, writing for entertainment media, or librarianship.

As another option, students may elect the Environmental Studies–English interdisciplinary major. In addition, the University’s semester program in England provides an international experience, including an extensive array of internships, which strongly supports majors in English and performance and communication arts. 

Membership in the Irving Bacheller Society, a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, is open to students who have a 3.0 overall GPA and four or five English courses with a 3.5 average, or a 3.0 overall aver- age and six or more English courses with a 3.25 average. 

First-year students need departmental approval to take English courses at the 300 level, but all 200-level courses are open to them. 

A unit of credit toward graduation is given for a test score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test in English Language/Composition; a unit of credit is also given for a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test in English Literature/ Composition.

Students may also take dramatic literature courses offered in the department of performance and communication arts for credit in English when they are dual-listed with English. 

Students planning to teach English at the secondary level are encouraged to include all four surveys of British and American literature (225, 226, 237 and 238) in their major, along with the following additional courses: English 319 or 320 (Shakespeare), and Performance and Communication Arts 111 (Rhetoric and Public Speaking) or 113 (Introduction to Performance Studies).  Students interested in teaching certification should consult the Education department.

Studies Rubrics for 300 and 4000-Level Courses
Applied Theory Studies (AT)

These courses provide advanced practice of some of the literary theories studied at the 200 level.  Students develop an increased sophistication in practicing the creative dimensions of literary criticism, and the critical dimensions of creative writing. Prerequisite: English 250.

Author Studies (AS)

These courses offer close analysis of the literary craft as practiced by specific authors.  Study focuses on creative concerns such as voice, aesthetics, style, recurring themes, milieu, influence and rhetorical design. Prerequisite: English 250.

Genre Studies (GS)

These courses examine the evolution, definition and practice of specific literary genres and modes. While developing an understanding of the theoretical assumptions of those specific genres, students also consider factors influencing the popular reputations of the genres. In addition, the courses examine topics such as genre hybridity and anti-genre aesthetics. Prerequisite: English 250.

Studies in Advanced Writing (AW)

These courses develop advanced practice of the literary genres offered at the 200 level. Students work independently, with emphasis on craft, voice and style. Peer manuscript review, through workshops and other structures, sharpens students’ critical skills. The courses also study a range of model authors in the specific genre.  Prerequisite: The 200-level introduction to the advanced genre. 

Studies in Literary Traditions (LT)

These courses situate the study of literature within historical and ideological contexts. The establishment and development over time of literary traditions will be traced as students examine the relationship between social values, cultural currents and literary production.  Prerequisite: English 250.

Department Learning Goals 

  1. Students will expand their knowledge of literature

    A.   By acquiring skill in literary interpretation and cultural critique

    B.   By accumulating disciplinary knowledge of a range of texts, genres, movements, and authors, including those that have been marginalized.

    C.   By learning practical and analytical methods that include, among other approaches, attention to the complexities of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability that structure the global Anglophone world.

  1. Students will increase the sophistication of their written work

    A.   By developing a voice that can engage in creative and scholarly discourses and express an awareness of multiple social locations

    B.   By presenting interpretive analysis in defense of a central thesis from a variety of theoretical perspectives; and

    C.   By continuing to practice and to improve research skills.