Welcome to the English Department at Albright College!
The English Department introduces students to the excitement of reading and analyzing literature, from the Anglo-Saxon origins of English to the present. Students develop the ability to read critically and thoroughly, to understand the power of language and narrative, to express themselves clearly, persuasively, and artfully, and to think independently. Studies have shown that the academic study of literature and literary history increases metacognitive awareness, which empowers us to consider and choose between different thinking and learning strategies, to adapt to new tasks, and to respond strategically to challenges to our understanding and abilities. In addition to these valuable skills, the study of literature provides the groundwork for a life-long source of joy, contemplation, and solace.
“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” — Muriel Rukeyser
The department’s core offerings in literature include surveys of all periods of English and American literature, selected readings in world and non-western literature, and more intensive study of major writers, periods, genres, and critical theories. For majors, the goal of the department is to ground students in the historical development of literature in English from its origins in the Anglo-Saxon period through the present. The requirements for the full major ensure that students will have taken courses that introduce them to that historical development as well as in-depth experiences in each period of British as well as American literature.
Students can also work on creative writing, both formally in the classroom and in our magazine for creative expression, the AGON. The Creative Promise Program offers awards to students showing particular promise in creative writing. The English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, organizes literary and social events throughout the academic year. Exceptional students have the option of applying for grants under the Albright Creative and Research Experience (ACRE) program, which funds one-on-one work of students with professors on projects of their own choosing. Such work often leads to presentations at conferences both regional and national. As one graduate puts it, “My ACRE project is still one of the neatest experiences of my academic career. I couldn’t be more grateful to the department and Albright for the opportunity.”
The department teaches a wide variety of literature and composition courses in support of the College’s General Studies programs, and its staff provides courses for Albright’s American Civilization Major, Women’s and Gender Studies Major, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Minor, and, in conjunction with the Art Department, Film & Video Studies Minor. The Department offers two introductory composition courses, ENG 101 Composition and ENG 102 Writing with Texts, as well as ENG 226 Intermediate Grammar and Composition.
- Students will read in and understand relationships among the historical periods of literary texts in British and American literature.
- Students will understand the role of social privilege and marginalization in its various modes of textual expression in regards to gender, race and/or class divisions.
- Students will develop critical approaches to texts, informed by close readings, by literary history, by theoretical concerns, and by the discipline of literary study generally.
- Students will develop familiarity with the tools of writing in the discipline, including writing essays as well as finding, digesting and accurately representing secondary as well as primary sources.
English is a versatile major. In developing your abilities to read literary texts in historical and critical contexts, and to express your conclusions in lucid writing, it fosters skills that are in high demand across a wide variety of industries. It also is excellent preparation for continued graduate or professional training in areas such as English, law, political science and government, public administration, psychology, counseling, communications, and religious studies.
In recent years Albright alumni with English degrees have landed the following positions:
- Acquisitions Editor, Prentice Hall
- Admission Counselor, University of Wisconsin
- Apparel Editor, Miller Freeman Publications
- Assistant Director, Effective Writing Center, University of Maryland Assistant Media Planner, Communications Media, Inc.
- Assistant Professor, English Department, Salem College
- Associate Medical Editor, W. B. Saunders Company
- Attorney, CNA Insurance Companies
- Attorney, Saul H. Krenzel & Associates
- Broadcast Buyer, Rubin Postaer & Associates
- Commodities Trader, NYAM Options
- Communications Consultant, William M. Mercer
- Communications Specialist, Accenture
- Copy Editor, Tapsco
- Director, Development, Reading Symphony Orchestra
- Editor, TFH Publications
- Manager, Real Estate, Brooks Brothers
- Marketing Coordinator, American Red Cross
- Merchandising Editor, Allure Magazine
- Pension Consultant, Manchester Benefits Group
- Publications Manager, American Association of Physics Teachers
- Reference Librarian, Lancaster County Library
- Regional Director, Joint Action in Community Service
- Research Assistant, Rodale Press
- Sales Manager, Pepsi Bottling Group
- Technical Trainer, NUI Corporation
- Trade Marketing Coordinator, Swatch
- Vice President, Bear-Stearns
- Writer, Reading Eagle Company
Albright alumni have enrolled in English graduate programs at the following institutions:
- Arcadia University (M.A., English)
- Binghamton University (M.A., English)
- Brown University (M.A., teaching English)
- College of William and Mary (M.A., English)
- Columbia University (M.S., journalism)
- Drew University (Ph.D., English literature)
- Drexel University (M.S., publication management)
- Fairleigh Dickinson University (M.A., English)
- George Mason University (M.A., English)
- Lehigh University (Ph.D., English)
- Northern Arizona University (M.A., English)
- Rowan University (M.A., public relations)
- Pennsylvania State University (M.A., English)
- State University of New York (Ph.D., English)
- Syracuse University (M.A., English)
- Temple University (M.A., journalism; M.A., speech pathology)
- Tufts University (M.S., health communication)
- University of Essex (M.A., American literature)
- University of Leeds (M.A., medieval English literature)
- University of Maryland (M.A., English; Ph.D., English)
- University of Pennsylvania (M.A., English; M.S., intercultural communication; Ph.D., English)
- University of South Florida (M.A., English literature)
- University of Southern California, M.A. in Communication Management, Los Angeles, CA
- Villanova University (M.A., English)
- Widener University (M.A., English)
In addition, our graduates have gone on to law schools from Duke to Widener, and to library schools from Simmons to Illinois. Our majors in secondary education teach in almost every high school in Berks County as well as in high schools in Philadelphia and throughout New Jersey. One graduate who now works in secondary education reports, “I use many of the tools my professors taught me in my own classroom. Because I was encouraged to analyze literature and think outside the box, I have my students do the same thing.”
One recent graduate of Albright described her experience as an English major as a “phenomenal experience”: “The skills [I was taught] set me apart as a graduate student! Often times throughout graduate school, I was asked where I did my undergraduate studies because of how well-developed my skills were… I’m really proud to be an Albright English alum!”
Major in English Language and Literature
- Group 1: ENG 201 British Literature to 1789; 202 British Literature from 1789; and 204 American Literature
- Group 2: two from ENG 350 Beowulf’s World; 351 Middle English Literature; 352 Chaucer; 354 Shakespeare; 355 Renaissance; 356 Milton/17th Century; 357 Restoration/18th Century
- Group 3: two from ENG 380 Modern American Women Poets; 384 American Writers to 1865; 385 American Writers from 1865; 386 Modern American Fiction; THR 388 Postmodern American Drama
- Group 4: two from ENG 366 Romanticism; 368 Victorian; 372 British Fiction to 1890; 373 Modern British and Irish Fiction; 374 European Fiction; THR 389 Postmodern British Drama
- Group 5: two more courses from groups 2, 3 or 4, or from the following (only one 200-level course can be included in this group): ENG 210 African American; 225 Creative Writing; 226 Intermediate Grammar; 235 Literature Topics; 236 Literature Topics-Global; 270 Classical Heritage; 301 History and Structure of the English Language; COM222 Writing for the Mass Media
- Group 6: ENG 399 Junior Seminar in Theory and 491 Senior Seminar in Literature
- Occasionally the department offers a section of topics in British and American Literature (ENG 390), based on a special area of faculty or student interest. The nature of the topic determines whether ENG 390 satisfies a course requirement in group 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
Combined Major in English Language and Literature
- ENG 201 British Literature to 1789; 202 British Literature from 1789; and 204 American Literature
- One of the following: ENG 399 Junior Seminar in Theory and 491 Senior Seminar in Literature
- One course each from groups 2, 3, 4, and 5, with the exception of ENG 235 and ENG 236, listed in the full major requirements
Minor in English Language and Literature
- ENG 201 British Literature to 1789; 202 British Literature from 1789; and 204 American Literature
- Two 300-level courses chosen in consultation with an adviser
Secondary English Education
English Majors preparing for a career in education take English courses and a series of Education and other courses specified by the Education Department to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations. As early as possible in their college experience, candidates for teacher certification in English should consult the Requirements section of the Education website and the chair of Education regarding specific course requirements. The English Education certification is a grades 7-12 program.
General Studies and Elective Offerings
In addition to offering upper level concentration and special non-concentration programs, Albright’s English Department is a vital part of the College’s liberal arts core – the general studies programs – in the areas of composition and literature. All students at Albright take at least one composition course, usually ENG 102, and most students take both ENG 101 and 102. For other general studies requirements in Foundations, Connections, and Global Connections students may take course from departmental offerings as appropriate.
For General Studies Humanities Foundations credit, the English Department offers a variety of courses, listed as ENG 135, including the following topics: Ghost Stories, Literature of Fantasy, Dada and Surrealism, The Vampyre, Tragedy, Hitchcock: Film and Text, American Short Fiction, Comedy, Adolescent Protagonists, Modern American Poetry, Folklore and Fairy Tales. ENG 380, Modern American Women Poets, may also be taken for Foundations credit. Other topics and courses may be added to the list.
Our Creative Writing course, ENG 125, may be taken for Fine Arts Foundations credit.
For General Studies Connections credit, the English Department offers a variety of courses, listed as English 235, including the following topics: Utopian Literature, Novel Englishwomen, Black Women Writers, Latin American Poetry, African Autobiography, Irish Literature, Afro-Caribbean Literature, Shakespeare and Company, Literature of War, Hip-hop, Mean Girls. Selected courses listed for majors are also available for Connections credit, including the following courses: ENG 204, Survey of American Literature; ENG 210, African-American Literature; ENG 356, Milton and the Seventeenth Century. Other topics and courses may be added to the list.
For General Studies Global Connections credit, the English Department offers ENG 234, Adolescent Literature, as well as a number of courses listed as ENG 236, including World Litereature, Irish Arts (a course that includes a trip to Ireland), Latin American Poetry, and Afro-Caribbean Literature. Other topics and courses may be added to the list.
Nearly all of the department’s offerings have proven to be both popular and enriching elective courses, and many of Albright’s majors in other programs have rounded off their liberal arts experience at the College with courses in, drama, literature, and/or creative writing, or one of the department’s travel courses offered from time to time during Interim session or in the summer to such places as London, Dublin and Italy.
Students interested in supervised creative writing projects may pursue them on an individual study basis after approval by a departmental adviser. Together with the Dean of the College, the English Department maintains a Writing Center where students of all disciplines are welcome to seek assistance in redrafting papers and in improving writing skills. Albright’s Theatre Department offers several dramatic literature courses that may be used to satisfy English concentration requirements. Please see the Theatre section for descriptions of these courses.
Interdisciplinary Major in English-Theatre
- ENG 201 and 202
- THR 280
- One from THR 150, 210, 211, 212, 213
- THR 288 or 289
- ENG 354
- THR 388 and 389
- One from ENG 350, 352, 355, 356, 357, 366, 368, 372, 373, 374
- One from ENG 380, 384, 385, 386
- ENG 399 or 491
- THR 491
- Students are advised to take THR 101 as their General Studies Foundations Fine Arts course
- Students are advised to take ENG204 as one of their General Studies Connections courses
A study of the fundamentals of effective written expression, with emphasis on grammar, syntax, and usage, and on the development of thesis-directed essays that make use of evidence and argumentation to validate their theses. Coupled with attention to the fundamentals of research, including quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing effectively and accurately and citing sources correctly, using any of a number of forms for citations and works cited. Required of all first-year students with the exception of students who evince superior facility in written expression..
Writing About Texts
Continued attention to grammar, syntax, usage, and formal research methods is coupled with study of thesis-directed writing that incorporates the work of other writers for the development of the students’ own writing. Required of all students. Prerequisite: Successful completion of or exemption from ENG 101.
Creative Writing for General Education
Intended for students who are curious about creative writing and who want to exercise their imaginations in expressing themselves in writing. FOUNDATIONS-FINE ARTS
Major Authors and Topics
These courses provide students with a foundational introduction to the language and methodology required for the close reading of texts. Students become familiar with the fundamental analytical tools for performing such readings, and apply those tools regularly to the readings in the course using them to write about the texts they have read. Different sections of ENG 135 focus on different texts, but in all cases students will exercise their interpretational and analytic skills. May be repeated with a new topic. FOUNDATIONS-HUMANITIES
ENG 102 Writing About Texts is a prerequisite for all 200- and 300-level English courses.
Major British Texts to 1780
A survey of major British texts, writers and literary trends from the Anglo-Saxon period to 1780. This course also is designed to provide intermediate students of literature with a wide variety of critical skills and approaches. While it is intended for English concentrators, other serious students of literature may enroll in the course with the permission of the instructor. Offered every fall.
Major British Texts from 1780 to the Present
This course surveys central British texts, writers and literary trends from the Romantic period to the present. It also provides intermediate students with a wide variety of critical skills and approaches. The writers studied include: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Browning, Austen, E. Bronte, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf, Yeats, Pater and Wollstonecraft. Organic form, the lyric and Gothic Strains in 19th century literature, along with “aesthetic theory,” “The Woman Question,” and postcolonialism are some of the topics this course considers. The course is intended for English concentrators, but other serious students of literature may enroll with the permission of the instructor. Offered every spring.
General Survey of American Literature
As a survey of American literature and culture, this course introduces students to some of the major themes and writers in American history via discussion of a variety of works produced by American authors. Some writers will receive some depth of treatment, but we will treat most authors briefly in order to focus on the author’s place in the development of American cultural expectations. As a consequence, questions of canonicity and of the mutual shaping of canon and cultural expectations will be recurring themes of the course. Offered every fall. CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES
A survey and analysis course divided into rubrics of period, activity and/or genre designed to acquaint the student with the formal links and traditions within African-American literature, including drama, the short story, poetry and nonfictional prose. Offered alternate fall semesters. CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES
Writing for the Mass Media
Introduction to the fundamentals of gathering, sifting, and writing for the print, online and broadcast news media: information gathering, news concepts, story structure, news style, and so forth. Offered every fall.
A course designed to offer practical skills in various kinds of imaginative writing. A given course will address one of the following four genres: nonfictional imaginative prose; long fiction; the short story; or survey of poetry, short fiction and prose.
Intermediate Grammar and Composition
Intended for all students interested in writing, this course provides instruction in the theory and practice of English grammar, emphasizing the formal rules of grammar and their deployment in well constructed, organized and developed writing.
A survey of literature written for children, with attention to the history of and generic variations in the literature. The course addresses current best practices and strategies for teaching the literature. Intended for students specializing in primary education.
Literature for Adolescents
A survey of literature written for children in their high school years, with attention to the history of and generic variations in the literature. The course addresses current best practices and strategies for teaching the literature. Intended for students specializing in secondary education. CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL-HUMANITIES
Major Authors and Topics
The premise of these courses is that writers make connections between their traditions and ways of thought in order to define the value systems that produce their particular culture and identity. Each section of the course provides students with the opportunity to focus on and to understand a distinct group, defined by geography, by historical period, or by class, race, ethnicity, gender, or nationality. May be repeated with a new topic. Prerequisite: ENG 102 CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES
Major Authors and Topics-Global Topics
The premise of these courses is that writers make connections between their traditions and ways of thought in order to define the value systems that produce their particular culture and identity. Each section of the course provides students with the opportunity to focus on and to understand a distinct group, defined by geography, by historical period, or by class, race, ethnicity, gender, or nationality. May be repeated with a new topic. Prerequisite: ENG 102 CONNECTIONS-GLOBAL-HUMANITIES
The Classical Heritage
A study of selected ancient Greek and Roman epic, dramatic, lyric and theoretical works that have influenced later world literature and thought – especially literature in English. All works are read in translation. Special emphasis is on the relationship of these works to contemporary critical issues. Writers studied vary from year to year but always include most of the following: Homer, Sappho of Lesbos, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, Plautus, Catullus, Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Juvenal. Offered in response to demand.
Introduction to the Historical Study of Language
This course provides a survey of the historical development of the English language from Indo-European roots through dialects of Middle English to modern English dialects around the world. The course also introduces linguistic terminology and theories, and debates socio-linguistic issues like African-American Vernacular English and the survival of minority languages. Alternates with 352
Beowulf’s World: Old English Literature and Language
Beowulf, the earliest English epic, not only begins the English literary canon, but also summarizes many of the canon’s chief concerns. This deceptively simple poem offered a literary response to the vexing questions of its era: violence, religion, gender, political power. In short, Beowulf interrogated human beings’ role in this world. Beowulf was far from being the Anglo-Saxons’ only answer to these still-current questions. Poems such as The Wife’s Lament offered a feminist critique of a militarized ideology that viewed glory as the ultimate life-goal, while religious poems such as The Dream of the Rood praised pacifism at the same time that Christian kings fought, and fell,in desperate battles with pagan Viking invaders. This course will thoroughly introduces students to the literary masterpieces of Anglo-Saxon England, from Ad 600-1100, but will also examine the political and societal forces that created those masterpieces. By the end of the course, students will have a solidworking knowledge of Old English.
Topics in Middle English Literature
This course is an upper-level seminar-style approach to Middle-English literature within its historical and European literary contexts.
A careful reading of Chaucer’s major works from the House of Fame to the Canterbury Tales. Basic instruction in Middle English pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar are given so that the student may read Chaucer in his own language. All of the texts are studied with reference to historical and cultural backgrounds. Offered in the fall; alternates with 301
This course examines several major Shakespearean plays. Primary emphasis is on a close reading of the plays, but the Elizabethan background and modern Shakespearean criticism are also studied. Offered every fall.
Poetry, prose and drama, from the late 15th to the early 17th century. Emphasis varies, but the course includes such writers as More, Wyatt, Elyot, Sidney, Spenser, Marlow, Raleigh, Jonson, Donne, Webster, Herbert, Bacon, Burton, Beaumont and Fletcher, as well as continental writers such as Pico, Petrarch, Ficino, Vives and Rabelais, in translation Offered in the spring in alternate years.
Milton and the 17th Century
A study of Paradise Lost and either Paradise Regained or Samson Agonistes as the focal points of Early Modern controversies in poetics, ecclesiology, theology, politics, science, and gender. Other readings vary, but may include Jonson, Herrick, Herbert, Donne, Marvell, Richard Hooker, Bacon, Browne, Calvin, Filmer, Hobbes, Lilburne and Winstanley, as well as selections from Milton’s prose and minor verse. Alternates with 357. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES
Dryden to Blake: Restoration and 18th Century Literature
A survey of poetry, drama and prose from 1660 to 1798 intended to represent the formation of group identities as reflected in the literature. Emphases vary, but may include topics such as satire, changes in the conception of dramatic comedy and tragedy, the development of the novel, the advent of sensibility, the rise of a protofeminist consciousness, the beginning of a social class system, the effects of the slave trade in the identity of slaves and slave masters, and the “othering” of colonized subjects. Writers considered also vary, but may include Dryden, Wycherly, Behn, Otway, Montagu, Defoe, Addison and Steele, Swift, Pope, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Thomson, the Wartons, Goldsmith, Johnson, Sheridan, Burney, Burke, Equiano, Prince, and Wollestonecraft. Alternates with 356. GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES
Romanticism: Monsters and Visions on the Brain
The course begins with a study of some of the more important 18th century forerunners of Romanticism and continues with selected writers of the British Romantic period. Poems by Wordsworth (“Tintern Abbey,” “[Immortality] Ode,” “The Prelude”), Blake (“Songs of Innocence and of Experience,” “The Marriage of Heaven & Hell” “The Book of Urizen”), Coleridge (“The Eolian Harp,” “Frost at Midnight,” “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Christabel”), Byron (“Childe Harold ‘s Pilgrimage” “Don Juan”), Shelley (“Ode to the West Wind,” “Prometheus Unbound,” “Adonais”), Keats (“La Belle Dames Sans Merci” “Eve of St. Agnes,” “The Ode to Psyche,” ”The Ode to a Nightingale,” “The Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “The Fall of Hyperion,” “Lamia”), and Clare (The Shepherd’s Calendar) – as well as the prose of De Quincey (Confessions of an English Opium Eater) Dorothy Wordsworth (The Grasmere Journals) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) are some of the many British Romantic texts that are studied intensively. Alternates, spring semester, with 380.
Literature of the Victorian Era
The major writers of nonfictional prose, beginning with Carlyle, are studied in connection with the leading social, religious, intellectual and artistic movements of the age. The poets, with major emphasis on Tennyson, R. Browning, E.B. Browning, Arnold and the Rossettis, are studied against their contemporary background. Attention is also given to writers such as Meredith, Swinburne, Lear, E. Brontë, Morris, Kipling, Hopkins, Pater, Hardy, Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde. Alternates with 374.
British Fiction to 1890
The course offers an analytical and historical study of the technique and development of British fiction from the 18th century through Hardy. Major figures studied include Fielding, Richardson, Austen, Thackeray, Eliot, the Brontës, Dickens, Meredith, Gaskell, Trollope and Hardy. Alternates with 373.
Modern British and Irish Fiction
This course surveys major figures and themes in British and Irish fiction from 1890 to the present. The writers studied include many of the following: Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Iris Murdoch, Margaret Drabble, Doris Lessing, Elizabeth Bowen, Jeanette Winterson, Ladie Smith, and Anthony Burgess. Alternates with 372.
The writers studied in this course are drawn from continental authors of the 19th and 20th centuries. Major works of Pushkin, Gogol, George Sand, Flaubert, Turgenev, Stendhal, Tolstoi, Dostoevski, Colette and Chekhov are among the works read. Alternates with 368.
Modern American Women Poets
In this class we will do close-reading analyses of the writings of American women poets. Our emphasis will be on primary texts (the poems) with additional readings in secondary texts offering biographical, psychological, historical, cultural, ideological and theoretical contexts for the poetry. Alternates with 366.
Major American Writers to 1865
This course begins with two or three writers from the colonial and federal periods such as Bradford, Bradstreet, Franklin and Irving. It then concentrates on major figures of the three decades before the Civil War: Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman and Dickinson. Alternates with 385.
Major American Writers from 1865 to the Present
Beginning with writers from the era of Mark Twain, Henry James, Henry Adams and Edith Wharton, this course moves to modernists such as Eliot, Frost, Stevens, Faulkner, O’Neill, Wright and Cather, concluding with writers from post World War II era to the present such as Williams, Miller, Malamud, Lowell, Plath, O’Connor, Updike and Morrison. This course includes poetry, fiction and drama, always concluding with a unit on living writers. Alternates with 384.
Modern American Fiction
The development of American prose fiction – primarily the novel – from the late 19th century to the present. Beginning with realistic and naturalistic fiction, this course moves through modernism to the postmodern novel. Writers studied may include James, Chopin, Wharton, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cather, Wright, Nabokov, Bellow, Roth, Updike, Pynchon, Morrison and others. Offered in alternate years.
Postmodern American Drama
This course explores the themes, theories and theatrical techniques of the contemporary American stage. Students study the works of several major American playwrights, their use of traditional and nontraditional methods of stage production and their exploration of the undercurrents inherent to contemporary American life.
Postmodern British and European Drama
This course explores the themes, theories and theatrical techniques of the contemporary British and European stage. Students study the works of several major British/European playwrights, their use of traditional and nontraditional methods of stage production and their exploration of the diminishing role of nationalism inherent to the ever-changing face of contemporary Europe. Prerequisite: ENG102
Topics in British and American Literature
This course explores a topic or central problem of current importance in literary study. This course may focus on the work of major writers such as Virginia Woolf, Henry James or Joseph Conrad. In some semesters the course will focus on themes, genres, and traditions in American and British literature such as “The Gothic,” “Harlem Renaissance,” “Mythology,” and “Women’s Fiction.”
Seminar on Theory and Methods
This course affords the student an intensive exposure to prominent theories of literary interpretation, from structuralism to deconstruction and from discursive analysis to feminist theory, and an application of those theories to a variety of examples of writers from Britain, Italy, France, Africa, and the US. Emphasis falls upon in-class reports and critical papers. To be taken in the Spring of junior year. Offered every spring.
Senior Seminar: The Discipline of English Studies
Opening with a review of students’ personal experiences of the English concentration, this seminar moves through analysis of issues in current English studies to consideration of new directions. Students also read texts drawn from both English and American literatures and grouped around a major literary topic such as “romance.” Throughout the semester, students work on a research paper concerning a topic of their own choosing not necessarily confined to the subjects of the seminar. Offered every fall.
Teresa Gilliams, Ph.D.
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What Can I do With a Major in English?
“A new study from PayScale Inc., the Seattle-based job-data firm, highlights 14 types of jobs — all paying at least $60,000 a year — for which English majors are unusually likely to be hired. Eight of these involve traditional editing, writing and public relations. But most of the rest appear in newer fields with a high-tech twist. It turns out that even the digital economy needs people who are good with words.”
“The top occupations for English-degree holders ages 27 to 66 are elementary and middle school teachers, postsecondary teachers, and lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. Indeed, English majors, who go on to a range of careers, are less likely to work in food service than in many highly skilled positions, including as chief executives and legislators (1.4 percent), physicians and surgeons (1.2 percent), or accountants and auditors (1.2 percent). Parents worried that their children will study English and end up as baristas should know that their sons and daughters are statistically more likely to end up as CEOs, doctors or accountants than behind the counter of a Starbucks.”
“Creative and independent thinkers are attracted to the English degree, and that course of study helps to develop their creativity and their initiative — the same personal qualities that serve them so well in the working world after graduation.”
“I think what I appreciate most about English majors is that they are taught to think critically, and that is exactly what I want in my business.”
“That’s the secret: connecting and communicating. That’s what English majors acquire after years of critiquing and discussing their thoughts in group settings. Eventually, they become comfortable with sharing their ideas.”
“‘There is a pattern,’ says Dr. Jane Robbins of the University of Arizona, ‘of employers asking for more liberal-arts training for all kinds of professions—engineering, medicine, the law, and certainly management.’ She adds, ‘Many people may not know that philosophy and English, not just biology, are common undergraduate majors for physicians.'”