David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences
Major Information
Minor Information
Department of English
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Mission Statement and Core Values

Goals and Objectives:

Three primary educational goals underlie the English major. Students in both the Literature and Writing tracks will receive instruction in, and be able to demonstrate their grasp of:

  1. critical practices, or the ability carefully to read, analyze, interpret, and write about texts from a wide range of genres, historical eras, theoretical paradigms, and cultural contexts;
  2. disciplinary knowledge, conceived as the intellectual richness, evolution, and diversity of literatures in English from different periods, technologies, and geographical areas;
  3. writing skills, or the ability to write with clarity, grace, economy of expression, and persuasiveness.

Achieving Major Goals and Objectives:

Each element of the two curricula–literature and writing–contributes, either wholly or in conjunction with other elements, to the achievement of these goals. Each curriculum as a whole is evenly divided between all four years of a student’s career, and is designed to furnish students with increasingly complex and sophisticated intellectual challenges that build on previously acquired knowledge and skills. All courses will enhance our students’ critical reading, analysis, and interpretive abilities. Literature majors’ critical practices are particularly strengthened by English 2206, in which they will receive focused instruction in the disciplinary standards, research practices, and theoretical paradigms of literary study. Writing majors acquire the foundation for critical practices in English 2122, a course which teaches the skills, craft, process, and discourse necessary to write in a variety of creative genres. For Literature majors, advanced disciplinary study begins in the slate of required courses, which includes the Literatures in English survey (2250-­‐2255) and continues in studies of various periods and genres in 3000-­‐ and 4000-­‐level courses. Students’ appreciation of the richness, evolution, and chronological and geographical diversity of English literature is further enhanced by the requirements that literature majors take two courses in British and American literature before 1900, as well as a course in regional, post-­‐ colonial, multicultural, or world literature/literature in translation. Reflecting our faculty’s conviction that the best writers are avid, broadly learned, and deeply critical readers, the writing curriculum includes substantial coursework in literature. Writing majors are required to take at least 12 credits of literature classes, eight of which must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. Writing students’ reading skills are also developed and refined by the workshop approach employed by most writing courses In the process of analyzing and critiquing their peers’ writing, students learn to read with the eye of an aesthete and the judgment of a critic.

Furthermore, the number and breadth of writing assignments require students to constantly produce and revise material, and to continually rethink their approaches to creating text. Workshop courses (3000-­‐level) give students ample practice in each genre, and advanced courses (4110-­‐4199) allow students to specialize in genres, including those that employ digital media. In all courses, students’ writing will be assessed according to a departmental rubric, emphasizing growth in intellectual sophistication, critical awareness, and disciplinary knowledge. Though the topic of each student’s senior project will be self-­‐generated, as part of that capstone course students will be required to compile a major portfolio. This portfolio, which will be evaluated by department faculty, will include sample papers from throughout the student’s career, as well as an essay in which students reflect on and analyze their experience as English Literature or Writing majors.


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