About the Department

The English Department aims to promote critical thinking, historical awareness, and effective communication through the study of literature and writing. Students majoring in English also establish a solid foundation in the elements of English Studies and develop a deeper understanding of British, American, and other literary traditions.

Courses in writing and in literary and rhetorical theory enhance students' ability to analyze the writing of others and to communicate clearly and persuasively while writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.

One objective of English courses is to provide students with an enduring humanistic education, as well as with the analytical skills and writing ability in demand throughout society. Many English majors proceed to graduate study in English, education, law, and other disciplines, and many others enter careers in business, journalism, the non-profit sector, and government.

English majors choose one of three emphases in the major. Students who pursue the emphasis in Literature learn to analyze complex texts and to see the world as writers or other times and cultures have viewed it. They also study different kinds of literary criticism and critical theory. Students who choose the emphasis in Creative Writing refine their own writing in courses on poetry, short fiction, nonfiction prose, and playwriting, and they read widely in these genres. Students who choose the Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture emphasis learn to analyze the ways in which many kinds of writing-including but not limited to literature-respond to and shape specific rhetorical and cultural contexts. The emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture features courses in classical and contemporary rhetoric and in cultural studies.

Regardless of the emphasis students eventually select, they all complete English 210: Introduction to English Studies, several courses that provide breadth of literary knowledge, and at least one course in early British or American literature. The three emphases are grounded in this shared course of study.

The department encourages students to work closely with academic advisors, particularly with regard to the selection of elective courses, and especially in connection with potential pursuits after graduation.

The English Department's website includes more information about the curriculum, professors' expertise and interests, careers open to English majors, and our alumnae. The website includes links to individual professors' Web pages. The English Department is located on the third floor of Wyatt Hall.

Language Option

The English Department strongly urges its majors to obtain speaking and writing competence in a foreign language. Students who satisfactorily complete two years of college-level language study (or its equivalent) are eligible to have "English Department Foreign Language Option Fulfilled" printed on their official permanent academic record. This acknowledgment is determined during the degree clearance process. Students who have fulfilled this option at another college or university must present their transcripts to the transcript evaluator at least three months prior to the date of their graduation.