Majors-English

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Harness the power of words.

Can the power of our words convince you to major in English at Clark? How about the words of Shakespeare, Dickinson, Melville, Morrison? Through close reading, analytical reasoning and cogent writing, you’ll master the power of language and learn from literary masters, past and present, from all genres.

Our exceptional faculty will be your guide as you begin to connect what you learn to the real world through in-depth explorations of contemporary issues such as cultural identity and gender dynamics. Here, you’ll develop the tools to live a life of consequence and be prepared for success in a wide variety of career paths, from education to law, business, and science. Communication is power.

Requirements for:

Why Study English at Clark?

  • Learn from experienced professors — many of whom are professional novelists and poets — who are happy to share their expertise.
  • Join our close-knit community of faculty and students in lively intellectual and social engagements, such as ClarkWrites (the student-run English Department blog), ChowderFest, our annual alumni event, and the annual Undergraduate Shakespeare Conference.
  • Strengthen your analytical skills and explore ethical concerns that are critical to successful preparation for a wide range of career options and graduate study programs.
  • Gain access to primary archival material at Worcester’s prestigious American Antiquarian Society and Clark’s own Goddard Library Archives and Special Collections.
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Your Will. Your Way.

The Major Path

English majors and minors at Clark epitomize the voracious Clarkie. They possess an intellectual hunger that drives them to make their Clark educational experience their own. Students progress from the simpler pleasures of reading and writing to the empowerment afforded by critical engagement with a variety of texts.

In addition to courses foundational to literary studies, such as Introduction to Shakespeare and Major American Writers, you can choose from innovatively conceived and cutting-edge courses that both expand conventional fields of study and practice and link those fields with other disciplines.

You also can broaden your critical perspectives through interdisciplinary seminars. Examples of such courses have included Science Fiction and the Mind of the Other (English and philosophy), In Sickness and In Health: Narrative and the Art of Healing (English and psychology), and Freedom Dreams: Global Freedom Struggles from Decolonization to the Present (English and history). You can also apply to join, for credit, an American Studies Seminar offered by Worcester’s prestigious American Antiquarian Society, a national research library of American history.

In the fall of your senior year, you’ll take part in the distinctive English capstone experience. During this semester-long, workshop-style class, you’ll develop an independent research project of your own design that will serve as a culmination of your individualized program of study. That program might take the form of a specialization within the major, or a combination of the English major with a minor, concentration, or second major. The capstone is not only an opportunity for you to demonstrate skills emphasized in the English major, but to articulate your own academic career and to look forward to your vocation after graduation.

In an effort to enhance students’ opportunities for entrance into the health professions, the Pre-health Advising Program has a special arrangement with the English Department that allows students to major in English while meeting the specific requirements of medical schools.

The department and faculty offices are located in beautiful Anderson House. Many English courses, department colloquia, and other events take place in this historic building. We invite you to read our blog and our newsletter, The English Times [PDF], to learn more.

Qualified students are eligible for election to Sigma Tau Delta, the National Honor Society in English.

Skills you will learn include:

  • Principles of effective written and oral communication
  • Critical theory and analysis — apply critical, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches (such as philological, historical, feminist, deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, or linguistic) to a variety of texts
  • Collaboration — work successfully on team projects
  • Integration of knowledge and skills — develop well-supported original ideas about a variety of texts, write cogent critiques, and deliver effective presentations
  • Cultural knowledge and how it applies to civic engagement

During your junior year, you might be accepted into the English honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice. Examples of recent honors thesis topics are:

  • “Palpable Verb Tenses:” Non-Patriarchal Models of Readerly and Authorial Position
  • Gender in Conflict: A History of Iraqi Women from Ba’athism to Occupation
  • There Were Never Heroes: Autonomy, Identity, and the Modern Age in the Super Hero Genre
  • A Return to Linguistics: Morrison’s Interpretation of the Song of Songs in Conversation with Song of Solomon
  • To Ourselves and Our Posterity: Fathers, Sons, and the American Dream in William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom! and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

The LEEP difference

An education merging knowledge, action, and impact

With Liberal Education and Effective Practice, lessons begin in the classroom but never end there. Your learning includes world and workplace experiences that forge your skills and shape your path.

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Explore what the English Department has to offer