In English courses students investigate the great body of literature written in the language, and develop skills in their own writing: analytic, creative, journalistic.
Students who pursue a major in English become familiar with the language, with literary theory, and with a variety of literatures in the language, including works outside the recognized canons. They practice literary and linguistic analysis, and they develop as writers of different modes and genres. While the major requires certain courses and categories of courses, it also allows the individual student the flexibility to emphasize an area of special interest such as literature, journalism, creative writing, linguistics, or speech. Many juniors and seniors enroll in internships to test classroom knowledge in the outside world and to explore career interests. Juniors and seniors with appropriate academic standing may also elect to pursue individual studies. An increasing number of students choose to study abroad. What unites all English majors is joy in the language and love for its literature.
The program offers courses appropriate to students at all levels. Except for English 295, courses on the 200-level are designed for students from all disciplines. Courses on the 300-level may also appeal to a diverse audience but require a more
sophisticated study of texts, often exploring works of literature defined by period, genre, or theme, and more advanced writing. Courses on the 400-level offer a seminar experience in which students study a topic or theme in depth, frequently take charge of class discussions, and produce a major paper or project. To facilitate discussion and individual attention, the department limits enrollment in many classes to 15 to 25 students.
Upon graduation, English majors go in many directions. About 20 percent enter teaching. Others go to graduate and professional schools. Still others take jobs in journalism, public relations, government, and business. Graduates of the English program report that the skill they acquired that employers value most is good writing, but like most disciplines in the humanities, English teaches complexity of thought and subtlety of feeling. In nourishing good communication and analytical skills, the program prepares students to enter many fields.
The Department of English and Linguistics is committed to the aggressive recruitment of minority faculty and students.