Language and literature lie at the heart of a liberal education. The study of English attends both to literary works of the imagination — poems, plays, novels, short stories, and non-fiction — and to language crafted to communicate. Students increase mastery of written expression as they enlarge their appreciation of literary techniques. By helping students develop into sensitive readers and powerful writers and speakers, courses in the English Department offer the added benefit of preparing students for graduate study in law, medicine, business, and education, and for careers in all professional fields that value effective communication.
Each semester the English department offers approximately 25 upper-division courses for majors, as well as numerous offerings for non-majors at the introductory and intermediate levels.
Some courses are organized by historical period (Contemporary Irish Literature, American Renaissance, African-American Literature); some by literary type (Medieval Romances, 19th-Century Novel); and some by author (Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot). Others are arranged regionally or thematically (Caribbean Literature, Rhetoric, Detective Fiction); some deal with aesthetics and criticism (Feminist Literary Theory, Queer Theory); and others focus on the craft of writing (Introduction to Academic Writing; Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry). Tutorials, seminars, and lecture courses on special topics are also offered. Many of the Department’s courses are cross-listed with the College’s concentrations in Africana Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Latin American and Latino Studies; and Peace and Conflict Studies; as well as with interdisciplinary majors and minors including International Studies and Environmental Studies.
English majors in the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020 are required to take 11 courses in English, fulfilling the following specific requirements:
Two Introductory Courses, including:
1. Any Critical Reading and Writing (CRAW) course [e.g. Fiction, Drama, Multigenre] or Montserrat "L" course that is (a) taught by an English Faculty member AND (b) receives approval of its instructor to substitute for the CRAW requirement.
2. Poetry and Poetics (prerequisite see #1, above).
Two Intermediate Courses:
1. Touchstones 1: Early British Literature
2. Either (a) Touchstones 2A: American Literature OR (b) Touchstones 2B: Later British and Anglophone Literature.
**NOTE** If a student intends to study abroad in a non-English speaking country in the junior year, it is particularly important that these Survey courses be completed in the sophomore year.
Seven Advanced Courses, fulfilling the following categories:
GROUP A (Pre-1800): 2 courses, each from a different period among Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-Century historical periods
GROUP B (19th-Century): 1 course from EITHER the 19th-Century British or 19th-Century American historical period.
GROUP C (Marginalized Voices): 1 course. This group will include all courses focused on traditionally marginalized groups (i.e. courses that take as their primary focus literature or theory written by or about groups traditionally underrepresented in the canon-e.g. with respect to gender, ethnicity, class).
Group D (Theories and Methodologies): 1 course. This group will include all seminars AND all courses that offer a sustained methodological or theoretical consideration of the study of literature or language (e.g. "Advanced Poetics," "Literary Theory," "Contemporary Literary Theory," "Rhetoric," "Queer Theory,").
Advanced courses can simultaneously fulfill any of these four groups. That is, "double-dipping" or "triple-dipping" is allowed (e.g. a seminar on "Gender in the Renaissance could conceivably fulfill Groups A, C, and D at the same time). The remaining courses required for the major can come from any of the upper-division courses listed below, including courses that are approved for Study Abroad and tutorials and honors theses devoted to British or American literature. Up to two creative writing courses (at any level) may also be counted among these courses. If the student is in the Teacher Certification Program, which requires a full semester during senior year, it is also necessary to take all of the requirements for the major by the end of the first term of the senior year.
The purpose of these requirements is (1) to provide a formal grounding in the many forms literature has taken over time; (2) to introduce the student to the cultural and historical issues that shape literary responses to their times; and (3) to continue with development of close reading and analytical writing skills begun in the first-year courses.
English majors in the class 2021 and later need only take Poetry & Poetics at the introductory level (i.e. they do NOT need to take a Critical Reading and Writing course or Montserrat course as a prerequisite), and must take 8 (rather than 7) upper-level English courses, six of which must be at the 300-level or higher. All Touchstones and Group category requirements listed above remain the same.
Study Abroad: Students who study abroad for their junior year may transfer a maximum of four courses worth of credit toward the English major, with the exception that students studying at Oxford University or Trinity College, Dublin may transfer five courses worth of credit toward the major.