In core classes, majors will develop a critical understanding of and adeptness at the acts of reading and writing, and a familiarity with the forms of attention given to texts and the cultural place of English studies.
The English Major consists of at least 5 lower-level courses and 6 upper-level courses. It is the most flexible of the majors in the department. At the lower level, students take gateway courses ENG 38 Literary Study and ENG 39 Writing Seminar and select one course from each of the following three areas:
In Writing: Topics and Genres courses students will engage in the study of thematic and formal traditions through writing. Courses will explore particular forms of writing; ways of using writing to pose and explore particular kinds of questions about class, gender, sexuality, race, etc.; and ways of using writing within particular institutional contexts.
History and Tradition courses focus students’ attention on one or several of a number of questions related to the history of English studies and the traditions it examines. Courses will introduce students to critical methods for situating literary, filmic, and cultural interpretations within the historical and cultural contexts of their creation, dissemination, reproduction and reception; explore the historical development of a particular form, topic, or critical method; and examine historically distant texts in order to provide historical understanding or insights into contemporary developments in culture, literary genre, and the practices of writing, reading, and criticism.
Culture and Identity courses will focus students’ attention on the way texts represent, construct, and engage with culture and, in doing so, enact and reflect on individual and group identities.
At the upper-level, available to students starting second semester sophomore year, students select 5 electives and take the capstone. Upper-level electives are associated with the three areas described above as well as two additional areas: theory and criticism, including courses in linguistics; and rhetoric and media studies, including courses in film, visual rhetorics, and argumentation. Several courses are crosslisted with Honors and/or fulfill requirements in other programs, lending an interdisciplinary aspect to much of the major. Students often double major in areas as diverse as Environmental Sustainability, Law, Politics, and Society, or Marketing.