About the Department

The English Department promotes critical thinking, historical awareness, and effective communication through the study and craft of reading and writing. Our primary focus is the investigation and production of texts typically considered literary, but we maintain a more capacious definition of "texts" by including the study of rhetoric, theory, film, and visual images as they intersect with and inform the field broadly known as English Studies.

Whether exploring literary texts, rhetorical and critical theory, visual media, or creative writing, English Department courses enhance students' ability to see the world as writers of other times and cultures have viewed it. Many of our courses consider the ways texts respond to and shape specific rhetorical and cultural contexts. In addition to analyzing the writing and ideas of others, students learn to communicate clearly, persuasively, and imaginatively while writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Our courses provide students with an enduring humanistic education, as well as the analytical skills and writing ability that engaged civic participation requires. Many English majors proceed to graduate study in English or creative writing, education, law, or other disciplines, and many others enter careers in business, journalism, the non-profit sector, or government. As a complement to a major in English, the Department strongly urges its majors to obtain speaking and writing competence in a foreign language.

A student who successfully completes a major in English at the University of Puget Sound is prepared to

  • Read perceptively and critically:
    • recognize and characterize different literary and rhetorical styles
    • apprehend the relationships between aesthetic form and content
    • pursue connections between texts and their political, social, and cultural contexts
  • Write with clarity and sophistication:
    • conduct scholarly research and write original, self-directed projects that integrate multiple texts
    • analyze texts critically across genres and media
    • respond appropriately to the unique demands of different writing situations
  • Speak persuasively and from a position of knowledge:
    • approach literature from perspectives of both craft and analysis
    • engage ethically with a diversity of perspectives
    • present academic research orally and engage in relevant scholarly discussion

The English Department's website includes more information about the curriculum, professors' expertise and interests, careers open to English majors, and our alumnae.