At the undergraduate level, the department offers seven options for English majors: 1) Literature; 2) Creative Writing; 3) English Teaching; 4) Film studies; 5) Linguistics; (6) Teaching English as a Second Language; and (7) Literature and the Environment. In addition, students may pursue a general minor in English or minors in Film Studies, English Teaching and Irish Studies, and may also take classes in Composition and Rhetoric
Under the Literature option, students ground their study in the reading and examination of works through a series of historically based surveys as well as other core courses, covering the techniques of literary analysis, the application of literary theory, and finally the development of a research project in a senior seminar. Students also choose from electives that engage specific genres, authors, and periods, as well as different disciplines (e.g. Literature and the Environment) and literatures of diversity (e.g. Native American Literature). The literature emphasis imparts an understanding of not only the aesthetic richness of canonical and emerging literatures but also the historical and cultural forces that have contributed to their making. The classes are of a size that makes discussion very much a part of a student´s experience.
Literature and the Environment
The English Department is pleased to offer an exciting new option in Literature and the Environment. The option is for students interested in literary expression that addresses the human relationship to our more-than-human world. The body of work encompassed by Literature and Environment includes oral and written “texts” spanning diverse cultural traditions through millennia of human experience. Though differing greatly in the kinds of rhetorical strategies they deploy, these “texts” share a common interest in fundamental ontological and ethical questions and the social and environmental implications of our answers to them. The many approaches to this body of literature, under the rubric of Ecocriticism, engage students in vital inquiry, an exploration of sustaining and sustainable aesthetic and environmental relationships.
The Creative Writing program is predicated on the model of the workshop, and focuses on three areas of study: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Undergraduates who select the creative writing option fulfill some of the same requirements as those in literature, while also participating in a series of small workshops at both the lower and upper division, gaining the techniques needed to craft poetry and/or prose that work towards artistic excellence. Our undergraduate students have the opportunity to contribute and edit their own literary magazine, The Oval.
The English Teaching program provides content knowledge, pedagogy, and professional experiences required for teaching literacy in a democratic society. Based on current research and best practices, the English Teaching program integrates the study of language, literature, and media, creating learning communities and supporting teachers as critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and reflective practitioners. Students who successfully complete this option and the requirements from the School of Education receive a secondary teaching license (grades 5–12) in English.
In Film Studies, students receive a thorough introduction to the many facets of moving image culture, including a background in film history, theory, and aesthetics. In this interdisciplinary program, students are exposed to a broad array of national and international films, as well as filmic translations of well–known works of literature. Students analyze film from a variety of theoretical perspectives and become critical viewers of what is now one of the most predominant forms of cultural representation.
Linguistics/Teaching English as a Second Language
In conjunction with the Linguistics Program, English also offers an option in English Linguistics. Students select one of two tracks: 1) General Linguistics, which provides a background in both literature and linguistics, or 2) Teaching English as a Second Language, which prepares students for the particular concerns of second–language acquisition while also providing a foundation in the study of literature.
The Department of English also offers an interdisciplinary minor in Irish Studies that provides students with access to instruction in the fields of Irish language, history, literature, and culture. This academic and artistic approach to Irish culture involves an interdisciplinary and inter–collegiate collaboration that brings together leading scholars in the humanities and the creative arts.
Through the administration of one of the core competency requirements of the University´s General Education curriculum, the Expository Writing or Composition program serves the entire student body by ensuring that all students learn to write with clarity of thought and precision of language. Writing is understood as a skill, one that is improved by instructing students in the concerns of audience, organization, development, voice, diction, and grammar. Good writing also is related to cogent thinking, and the Composition program–through both its general education requirement and its advanced courses–seeks to integrate critical thinking within the production of skilled writing.