A major or minor in English gives you training in the vital and complex art of reading: being able to perceive and articulate what words say in texts and the contexts that shape them. Reading well means noting silences and emphases in texts; it lets you see the window through which writers allow us to see their worlds. Reading well promotes self-awareness and ability to think critically, which are powerful tools for our personal and working lives. Reading well empowers you to engage with writing of all kinds—with great books that you love as well as stories, essays, satires, travel narratives, and poems (from medieval epics to hip-hop lyrics and rhythms) that help you stretch to imagine new ways of being human—of expressing, persuading, reflecting, entertaining, instructing, and urging action—beyond those that you may already know and love.
In addition to reading, our English majors cultivate the ability to write expressive, communicative, and purposeful prose and poetry. We learn to deploy writing as a powerful tool to communicate information, ideas, and arguments to a range of audiences, and how to recognize the ways in which literary interpretations respond to their social, cultural, and historical contexts, including power relations and human difference.
English majors should take EN 105 in the fall semester of their freshman year and EN 106 in the fall or spring of their freshman year, or as soon as they have declared English as their major. The sequence in which they take major courses and fulfill core requirements will vary depending upon the various choices a student makes (i.e. minor(s), a second major, study abroad, internships). Students should work closely with their academic advisors in planning their course schedules and longer range plans. Note that students pursuing teaching must take Introduction to General Linguistics (English 355) and either Public Speaking (English 221) or Oral Interpretation of Literature (English 222). Students pursuing a major in both English and Communication should work with their advisor to determine the number of courses that will fulfill requirements in each.
For a sample of a typical semester's course offerings, see our Department Newsletter for Fall 2020.
The English Department has a dual aim: to teach students how to read literature appreciatively and expertly and to help them develop a mastery of written and oral expression. To accomplish the first aim, the department offers courses which require students to read widely--primarily in British and American literature--and courses which introduce students to literary theory and history. Together, both types of courses acquaint the student with the rich variety of literary works, their relationship to historical events and intellectual currents, and changing conceptions of literature. The department seeks to produce readers who can recognize literary excellence in ancient poetry or modern novels and who can discern the humanistic values intrinsic to these works. To accomplish the second aim--skillful writing--the department offers a wide range of courses from basic to advanced composition, journalism, and creative writing. Students are encouraged to develop clear, graceful, and effective prose.
- EN 106 - Introduction to Literary Studies
Course 2 and 3:
Choose 2 courses from the following pre-1800 courses
- EN 233 - Studies in Medieval Literature
- EN 234 - Studies in Renaissance Literature
- EN 236 - Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature
Choose 1 course from the following:
- EN 237 - Studies in Romantic Literature
- EN 238 - Studies in Victorian Literature
- EN 239 - Studies in Modern British Literature
Choose 1 course from the following:
- EN 235 - Early American Literature
- EN 241 - Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
- EN 242 - Studies in Modern American Literature
Course 6, Course 7, Course 8, Course 9:
Choose any 4 electives from the offerings of the English Department
Note that at least two of the student's four electives (Courses 6,7,8,9) need to be literature courses that are at least 200-level or above. In addition to other elective offerings, students may choose as electives any course listed in the "required" categories above if they have not already used that course to fulfill a required category. One of the four electives may be an English Department-sponsored internship. With the exception of EN106, no 100-level English courses may be counted towards the fulfillment of the English major.
- EN 475 - English Senior Seminar
Course Sequence for English Major:
English majors should take EN105 in the fall semester of their freshman year and EN106 in the fall or spring of their freshman year, or as soon as they have declared English as their major. The sequence in which they take major courses and fulfill core requirements will vary depending upon the various choices a student makes (i.e. minor(s), a second major, study abroad, internships). Students should work closely with their academic advisors in planning their course schedules and long range plans. Note that students pursuing teaching must take Introduction to General Linguistics (EN355). Students pursuing a major in both English and Communication should work with their advisor to determine the number of courses that will fulfill requirements in each.
Double Major in English and Communication
Students may elect to double-major in English and Communication. In completing the requirements for each the two majors, students are permitted to count two of their courses as fulfilling requirements for both majors. Students completing the double major must enroll in each major's senior seminar and will typically complete two separate thesis projects. A single, interdisciplinary thesis to count for both majors is possible with the approval of the Department Chair and the respective seminar leaders. All double majors must pass the comprehensive exam in each major.