English

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Bachelor of Arts
Major, Minor
School of Arts and Sciences
4-Year Degree

Overview

Studying everything from classic literature to comic books, English students learn to think critically and communicate effectively about the written, visual, and electronic media that saturates our world. The English program challenges students to sharpen their writing skills, interpret historically and culturally diverse texts, and analyze literature and film through a variety of theoretical perspectives. Through regular practice with close attention from highly qualified professors, you’ll become a strong and effective writer. And, by participating in class discussions, workshops, internships, and national literary publications, you’ll graduate with the skills and professional experience you need to pursue what you love.

Who It's For

The English program is ideal for students who are passionate about language and love looking for the best way to communicate their ideas. Our students are interested in thinking critically about the way culture influences the written word, producing original creative work, and analyzing literary and cultural texts, including books, comics, and film. Graduates of the program will be prepared for a wide variety of careers in fields including publishing, advertising, education, and nonprofit work.

Key Benefits

  • There are endless opportunities to hone your creative writing chops, from participating in workshops with published poets and novelists, to joining the staff of our nationally recognized literary journal, ellipsis.
  • You’ll work closely with dedicated professors who regularly publish books, articles, poems, and creative nonfiction, and help guide you through the process of producing your own work.
  • As an English major, you’ll be eligible to work in the campus Writing Center, gaining valuable professional experience in teaching and editing.
  • Each year, some of the nation’s top poets come to campus for readings, class visits, and face-to-face meetings with students as part of the Visiting Writers Series.
  • You can earn credit toward your degree by completing internships with local companies, and we’ll work with you to find internship opportunities that align with your interests.
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Student sitting on a brick wall outside, reading a book

About the Program

The English program is designed to help you build a solid foundation of writing, critical thinking, and communication skills that you’ll use as you study literature, media, and culture. In small class settings, you’ll study the classics and the experimental, exploring diverse points of view as you work to define your own personal style. Dedicated professors with expertise in American and Latin American literature, poetry, rhetoric, medieval studies, post-colonialism, and gender theory will be there to guide you every step of the way.

English faculty provide suggestions for extracurricular opportunities you may want to explore to get involved in the Westminster community and make the most of your English education.

EXPLORE MORE AND MEET FACULTY

What You'll Learn

  • Creatively and effectively practice writing and revision across a variety of genres
  • Locate, evaluate, and synthesize secondary sources and integrate them with analyses of texts
  • Collaborate with peers to give and receive constructive feedback on writing
  • Closely analyze texts from a range of periods and genres and generate written and spoken arguments about them supported by evidence and reasoning
  • Understand the social foundation and functions of language and media and their effects on communication
  • Develop interpretations and evaluations of texts through discussion with others
  • Demonstrate awareness of the width and breadth of English literature and the ability to make informed connections across the field
  • Understand how literature emerges from, responds to, and influences various historical, cultural, and political contexts
  • Understand the role of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other categories of identity in how authors produce and how readers interpret the text
  • Read and interpret literary and theoretical texts relating to one another
  • Critically approach contemporary literary and theoretical discourse
  • Develop self-awareness by questioning biases and embracing diverse perspectives in both reading and writing

Plan of Study

You will choose to pursue the English program through one of 2 emphases, which will determine certain program requirements. Before diving into emphasis specific content, you will start by taking introductory-level courses in textual analysis, texts in contexts, and critical theory, examining texts from diverse authors, nations, and genres as you build a solid foundation in critical reading, thinking, and writing. Then, as you move through the program, you’ll be able to choose elective courses within your emphasis.To complete your degree, you’ll participate in a senior seminar with your cohort.

Emphases

Literary Emphasis

The Literary Emphasis allows you to explore the relationship between literature and various historical, cultural, and political contexts, including the roles of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other categories of identity in text.

Creative Writing Emphasis

In the Creative Writing Emphasis, you become a part of a community of writers who are focused on poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and screenwriting. Opportunities within this emphasis include attending events in the Ann Newman Poetry Series, participating in workshops with visiting writers, and taking required courses where you will work on publishing the ellipsis... literature and art journal.

Liberal Education Courses

You must complete the WCore program or join the Honors College (and complete requirements) to fulfill your liberal education credits.

Sample Courses

War on Heaven: Cosmic Rebellion in Literature and Film

By examining creative works ranging from John Milton’s Paradise Lost to the cult classic film, Blade Runner, you’ll explore the aesthetic, ethical, and political implications of rebelling against the very order of the universe.

Literatures of the African Diaspora

In this class, you’ll survey literary texts in English that have been published since 1900 by writers of the African Diaspora, including W. E. B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe, Malcolm X, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, and Octavia Butler.

Exploring the Great Salt Lake

Investigate the impact of the Great Salt Lake on literature, art, and historical texts. Through field trips with your classmates, you’ll learn to view the natural landscape through an eco-critical lens, using the Great Salt Lake as your primary text.

Want to learn more about the English program?

A dedicated admissions counselor will reach out to you with personalized information to help with your search for the right program.

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Career Opportunities

A degree in English is extremely versatile. Whether you see yourself writing witty copy for an ad agency, editing articles for your favorite magazine, or working on your first bestseller, our program gives you the skills you need to communicate effectively and write with prowess. Many of our students have continued their education in graduate or law school. Others have gone on to work in publishing, advertising, journalism, education, business, and nonprofit work.

Potential Careers

  • Editor
  • Copywriter
  • Advertising executive
  • Journalist
  • Technical writer
  • Lawyer
  • Novelist
  • Teacher
  • Screenwriter
  • Librarian
Photo of Tiana Smith with graphics of the covers of Tiana's books "Match Me If You Can" and "How to Speak Boy"

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Related Programs

The program can also be taken as a minor, which goes great with the environmental studies, philosophy, gender studies, psychology, film studies, justice studies, sociology, and history programs.

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Tuition and Aid

There's No Better Investment Than You

Westminster College knows you want an education where you matter—a place that will serve as a launchpad for a successful career and a meaningful life. Westminster will work with you individually through every step of the financial aid process. From scholarships to grants and loans, Westminster helps you make it happen.

With the highest percentage of students who complete one or more internships in the state, Westminster students hit the ground running with real-world experience. Plus, 90% of students were either employed or attending graduate school within 5 months of graduating. With a Westminster degree, you don't have to choose between a successful career and a fulfilling life.

Learn About Tuition

You’ll be automatically considered for scholarship and grant opportunities.

In addition to general merit scholarships, other scholarship programs are available to support you throughout your time at Westminster.

Check Out Scholarships

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