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Undergraduate English

The Department of English offers two distinct but complementary concentrations--the Literature Emphasis and the Writing Emphasis--both of which provide a unique perspective for studying and creating literary texts. Central to these programs is our belief that the close study of literature offers great pleasure and intellectual challenge. Among these rewards students gain greater understanding of the power of literary language and thought, the rich diversity of the literary traditions and the cultural contexts of literary production. Intellectually, students will mature as readers, thinkers, researchers, and writers. Ultimately, students in the Writing Emphasis and the Literature Emphasis are able to engage in analysis and discussion, make sense of complex literary texts and write with acuity and critical self-awareness.

Combining traditional literary inquiry with courses on writing and editing, the Department of English offers the best of both worlds for writers and scholars. The Literature Emphasis provides a background in the major works of British and American literature. Its foundation is a series of foundational courses introducing the British and American literary traditions and fostering the critical skills English majors will need throughout their studies, followed by discussion/lecture courses on the literature of different historical periods. These courses emphasize the traditions, movements and influences among writers, as well as literature's cultural contexts. Upon completing these courses in literary periods, students will have a comprehensive understanding of British and American literary history.

The Writing Emphasis is an innovative program that seeks to train writers within a broad practical and theoretical framework. More inclusive than a traditional creative writing program and more creative than a regular rhetoric/composition program, the Writing Emphasis combines classes in rhetoric, the history of writing and creative writing to build a curriculum that helps students develop as writers in a multitude of genres. Through workshops, seminars, internships, and other writing courses, students learn about writing from the inside out--becoming not simply savvy consumers but savvy producers of literary texts.

For both emphases, the major culminates in a significant senior seminar project that students complete during their final semester. Graduating Literature and Writing students produce a major written project and present their work publicly in a year-end symposium. These capstone projects, like the majors themselves, prepare students for success in a variety of careers and graduate programs.