About Our Undergraduate Program

The English major is designed to cultivate both historical understanding and critical skills. In addition to the basic set of requirements, English majors can choose from a wide selection of electives and specialized options. For English minors and non-majors, our program provides all kinds of opportunities to explore the worlds of literature and culture. By design, the BA in English provides students with a comprehensive array of courses rooted in the conviction that the study of literature is critical to the development of reading, writing, and thinking skills – all of which are necessary beyond disciplinary study and are requirements sought by employers in all professions. 

The English major curriculum focuses on providing students with the tools they need to develop their critical engagement with texts and their exploration of the dynamic field of English studies, covering a wide range of historical periods, geographical zones, and critical approaches. To this end, the course of study follows a coherent, if flexible, sequence that begins with an intense survey of the critical approaches and questions germane to the study of literature in English. From there, students take all four survey courses (American Literature I & II and British Literature I&II), which provide a broad, comprehensive outline of the major works, authors, and literary movements that constitute literary history. Our survey courses also introduce students to both the traditional and the newer canons of the discipline. In addition, students are required to take a course that exposes them to works by racially and ethnically diverse writers, thereby fully engaging their appreciation and understanding of the variety of voices and concerns found in Anglophone literary production.

Moving beyond the required sequence of courses, students are encouraged to explore the discipline and its array of period, subject, and general topics – pursuing self-defined tracks that can be configured narrowly toward a specialization or comprehensively toward a generalist orientation. Either way, the curriculum is designed to fully engage students in their exploration of literature in English as a discipline while continually reinforcing the discipline’s core values of critical thinking and effective communication. 

We offer small, student-centered classes using innovative pedagogies that embrace a variety of teaching approaches and strategies. Our majors are well prepared for graduate/professional schools or careers in writing, publishing and editing, government and law, business, public relations and advertising, and education. 

Many of our previous undergraduate majors are currently teaching in seventh- through twelfth-grade classrooms. Our undergraduate program is designed to serve those who wish to pursue careers immediately upon graduation as well as to provide a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue a lifetime of literary study.