The English program offers courses for majors and minors and electives for non-majors. The program is designed to develop a sense of literature, literary history, and sensitivity to cultural values. Students will also acquire the ability to analyze effectively and to write persuasively, skills that are valuable to almost any vocation. Our program offers a range of courses, from traditional areas, such as Shakespeare, Romanticism, and global literature, to cutting-edge fields, such as medical humanism and science fiction.
We advise English majors and minors to take two historical surveys, one pre-1850 and one post-1850, early in their programs.
In addition, we have a Creative Writing minor with courses in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction taught by professional writers. These courses guide students to examine literary works as a writer to apply what they learn to their own writing. Interactive workshops, moreover, provide the feedback that helps students to develop and refine their work. Please contact Professor Elliott for more information.
Our program provides a number of scholarly opportunities, such as participation in our national Honors Society, our Capstone in English, and our Honors program. We also have connections to a number of internships, such as the London Internship Program, which offers positions in the fields of theater and journalism, in addition to internships with local newspapers and journals, as well as national organizations. Our program, moreover, has strong ties with the American Antiquarian Society, which offers seminars and the opportunity to participate in archival research. For those interested in studying abroad, the English Department has a partner program at the University of East Anglia and Advanced Studies in English in Bath, England.
For more information, please visit the English Department’s website.
Scholarly Research Program
Our program facilitates scholarly research through our Capstone in English, a senior research project, and our Honors program. Please contact Professor Kasmer, Chair, for information. Also, every year The American Antiquarian Society, a prestigious national research library of American culture located in Worcester, offers seminars in specialized topics in American studies. Please contact Professor Elliott or Neuman for more information.
In cooperation with the University’s internship office, the English Department supports internships for all majors. Internships are available both in university offices and in venues beyond the campus-for example, newspapers, news departments of radio and television stations, periodical and book publishers, and communication departments. Please consult with Professor Kasmer, Chair, for further information.
In an effort to enhance students’ opportunities for entrance into medical, dental and veterinary schools, the Premedical and Predental Advisory Committee has a special arrangement with the English Department, allowing students to major in English while meeting the specific requirements of medical schools. The English Department also offers courses in medical humanism, helping those interested in the medical field to become more culturally sensitive and empathetic. If interested, please consult Professor Jones.
The English Department has a special arrangement with the University of East Anglia in England, the Advanced Studies in English in Bath, England and the London Internship Program. For information, please consult with Professor Kasmer, Chair, or Clark’s Study Abroad Programs.
A minimum grade of C is required to receive major field credit. Each designation in parentheses in the descriptions below is used in course listings every semester in order to identify what requirement a course meets. Thus, if a course does not appear in the list below (for example, a new course), you can nonetheless readily see what requirements it meets through these designations. For questions concerning requirements, please see your adviser.
A. Historical Sequences (2 courses)
The two courses used to satisfy this requirement must include one course from A-1 and one course from A-2:
(A-1) Pre- 1850 (1 course):
(A-2) Post-1850 Course (1 course):
B. Genre Courses (2 courses)
(B-1) Each major must take at least one poetry course, such as:
(B-2) Each major must also take at least one other genre course, such as:
C. Period Requirements (4 courses)
(C-1) Each major must take at least two courses of literature before 1700, one of which must be at the 200-level such as:
(C-2) Each major must take at least one 200-level course of literature between 1700 and 1900, such as:
(C-3) Each major must take at least one 200 level course of literature after 1900, such as:
D. Theory or Language (1 course)
(D-1) Each major must take at least one 200-level course in the theory and language, such as:
E. Capstone Requirement (1 course)
Each major must take the Capstone course in the fall semester of senior year:
F. Area of Specialization
As early as possible, in combination with an adviser, an English major should select an Area of Specialization (seven courses, four of which are typically fulfilled by core courses in the major).
Students may substitute a second major, a University concentration, or a minor for the Area of Specialization as long as they demonstrate the links between the English major and the substituted area of study in the Capstone or in another appropriate course.
Descriptions of areas of specialization with lists of required and recommended courses are available from the department.
In the spring semester, the faculty identify qualified junior majors and invite them to work on a yearlong honors thesis during their senior year. Other students who wish to take honors in English should identify an area of interest, consult with an appropriate honors adviser, and apply to Professor Kasmer, Chair, before the end of the junior year.
Nonrequired Preparatory Courses:
Louis Bastien, Ph.D.
Eric De Barros, Ph.D.
James Elliott, Ph.D.
Betsy P. Huang, Ph.D.
Esther Jones, Ph.D.
Lisa Kasmer, Ph.D. - Department Chair
Stephen M. Levin, Ph.D.
Meredith Neuman, Ph.D.
Michael Bamberg, Ph.D.
Gino DiIorio, M.F.A.
Robert Tobin, Ph.D.
Jaan Valsiner, Ph.D.
Dianne Berg Ph.D.
Bruce Borowsky M.A.
Michael Carolan M.F.A.
Morris Collins M.F.A.
Timothy Connolly M.A.
Jonathan Dickstein Ph.D.
Reginald Gibson M.F.A.
Joan Houlihan M.A.
Trent Masiki M.A., M.F.A.
Karen Osborn M.F.A.
Jessica Bane Robert M.F.A.
Lucilia Valerio Ph.D
John J. Conron, Ph.D.
SunHee Kim Gertz, Ph.D., Research Professor
Serena S. Hilsinger, Ph.D.
Fern Johnson, Ph.D., Research Professor
Virginia Mason Vaughan, Ph.D., Research Professor
Graduate Studies in English
Stephen M. Levin, Ph.D., Director