English Major

English Major

The major in English is designed to develop students’ understanding of the complexity and versatility of the English language and to cultivate skill in critical and creative thinking, writing, and research. In addition to a small set of core courses, students in the English major choose one or more concentrations (listed below). What all the concentrations have in common is a careful engagement with the varied and multiple ways that language is used, whether as a medium of persuasion or of artistic expression. Readings are selected for literature and language courses because they broaden our perspective on the world, human values, and personal and community life, requiring us to come to terms with uncertainties, value judgments, and emotions.

English majors learn how to read situations, interpret details, detect meaningful patterns, evaluate competing points of view, examine cultural perspectives, and form insightful questions. Responding to complex texts helps students sharpen their thinking and develop their capacity to communicate ideas with nuance and precision. The habits of mind that English majors develop—analytical acumen, attention to detail, sensitivity to tone, and clarity of thought and expression—prepare students for success in a variety of fields, from medicine to law, philosophy to commerce, diplomacy to applied technology, as well as to success in the creative arts and education.