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The English program, designed to develop a sense of literature, literary history, and sensitivity to cultural values, offers courses for majors and minors as well as electives for non-majors. Students will learn to analyze effectively and to write persuasively, skills that are valuable in almost any vocation. Our program offers a dynamic range of courses, from medieval to contemporary.

In addition, students pursue independent research through a capstone experience or honors work.

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Learning Outcomes

  1. The ability to read closely through a variety of critical and theoretical approaches
  2. The ability to conduct research and engage in relevant scholarship
  3.  The ability to write an analytic essay
  4. The ability to deliver an oral presentation
  5. The ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  1. The ability to analyze a variety of texts and situate them within their historical contexts
  2. Familiarity with literary terminology (using the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms )
  3. Beginning knowledge of research skills
  4. The ability to write a coherent essay
  1. The ability to identify common structural features
  2. Close reading skills, using literary terminology
  3. The ability to write a well-organized essay or creative project that demonstrates an understanding of the genre in question
  1. The ability to apply a range of critical, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches (such as philological, historical, feminist, deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, or linguistic) to texts
  2. The ability to understand a complex text in great depth
  3. The ability to develop cogently argued and carefully supported original ideas about a variety of texts
  4. The ability to write an effectively documented and extended research paper
  5. The ability to deliver an effective oral presentation
  1. The ability to apply a broad range of critical and theoretical approaches to a variety of texts
  2. The ability to design and complete an independent research project
  3. The ability to deliver an effective oral presentation
  4. The ability to work effectively on a team project

Areas of Specialization

This specialization allows students to explore many different formulations of the American experience through old, new, and non-canonical writers in a range of genres and periods.

This focus area is for students interested in comparatively exploring literature in English by people of ethnic origins in the Americas. It complements students’ programs of study in Africana studies, comparative race and ethnic studies, and comparative literature.

This area of study focuses on the origins of English-language literature from the medieval period to the dissemination of English forms and genres across national borders. Students will consider the literary production of the specific national and regional traditions of Britain, but also will explore the idea of Britain as a contingent formation that becomes salient within particular historical and cultural contexts.

This concentration focuses on the study of literature and cultural production within a global context, and within specific local histories and economies that emerge in the modern world. Courses in this area consider literary texts as well as extra-literary forms such as social movements and everyday life practices. Students may find it useful to combine this concentration with a focus on a particular regional or language tradition — drawing, for example, on offerings in Asian studies, Africana studies, or comparative literature.

A specialization in early literature not only fosters a nuanced understanding of past times and places but also deepens your sense of how the present is rooted in long histories, from literary conventions to pressing social and political issues of today.

This specialization deepens your understanding of women’s writing, as well as your understanding of gender and sexuality as theoretical concepts that have evolved and continue to evolve through time. These courses examine the ways in which differences are produced culturally and emphasize the interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race, class, and nation. This specialization complements the pursuit of study in women’s and gender studies.

Other Possible Specializations

In consultation with your adviser, you may design your own area of specialization. It should include at least five coherently related courses, one of which can be offered by another department. After you and your adviser agree on the nature and requirements of the individually designed area, an outline of it should be forwarded to Professor Lisa Kasmer, department chair, for approval.

Courses in the Education Department that are required for secondary certification fulfill this area of specialization. Students should consult with their adviser in the English Department and an adviser in the Education Department to determine these courses.

You may use a second major, a minor in another field, or a University wide concentration as your area of specialization, as long as you demonstrate links between the English major and the other field of study in your Capstone project or in another appropriate course.

Interested in pursuing library and information sciences or another book-related profession? You’ll find coursework related to book history.

Contact Information

Department of English

Contact Us
  • Anderson House
    12 Hawthorne Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7142
  • 1-508-793-8892 Fax