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English Major

Why Major in English?

English as a field of study focuses especially on language as a medium of communication, and on the analysis and enjoyment of works of imaginative literature. The study of English is at the heart of a humane education; as such its value is intrinsic to the molding of the self as a person and as part of society. English Majors study the structure and content of works of literature, whether in the form of poetry, prose, or drama; explore theories of language and literature; and develop the ability to mold and interpret language in speech and writing. In addition, students learn strategies for producing, understanding, evaluating, and enjoying language in all its socially significant forms. Graduates with a B.A. in English have pursued careers in business, academia, and public service. While an English degree prepares students directly for a variety of careers involving the abilities to teach, write, speak, and analyze, the degree also provides excellent preparation for advanced graduate study or for professional study in law, medicine, business administration, and other fields.

The undergraduate major in English Language and Literature asks students to achieve:

  • Breadth of knowledge
    A broad critical understanding of literary culture, including canons, alternative canons, and critical histories of literatures in English; the variety of critical perspectives on literature; the history and theory of language; the history and theory of genres (or literary modes); modes of production; and the connection between literary culture and socio/historical contexts.
  • Depth of knowledge
    Mastery of a coherent body of more specialized knowledge that the student helps to formulate.
  • Heightened awareness of language as a medium
    The skills needed to recognize, analyze, and appreciate rhetorical, poetic, and other uses and functions of language; to produce close and critical readings of a wide variety of texts; to write clearly and effectively in a variety of modes; to develop and articulate a persuasive argument in speech and in writing; and, for some, to write creatively in various genres.