View English Department websiteLiterature is a treasury of our cultural heritage and an expressive human creation embodying both beauty and knowledge. Close examination of literature improves our thought and our use of language, enhances our understanding of past and present, and provides insight into our interior lives. So, too, does the practice of accurate and carefully crafted writing. Consequently, the English major at St. Mary’s is designed so that students will read a broad historical and cultural range of literatures and develop a variety of writing skills.
To achieve these goals, the English program begins with a required course on reading and writing in the major and three required literature-in-history courses, as well as 200-level elective courses that concentrate on either writing or a specific literary topic. In the surveys, students encounter influential writers, works, and ideas, which provide necessary background knowledge for further study of writing and literature. At the upper level, students define their individual course of study by taking “Methods of Literary Study” and more specialized literature and writing classes. During their senior year, students make use of the knowledge and skills learned in previous courses by choosing to do a St. Mary’s Project or by taking additional advanced coursework. Within this overall framework, faculty advisors help each student select courses that will best meet his or her interests, needs and goals.
With its stress on clarity of thought and expression, and its focus on choices within the program, the English major provides an excellent foundation for a meaningful liberal arts education as well as a strong preparation for a variety of careers that require analytic rigor and clear, precise communication. The English major also provides the basis by which students can enrich their lives through an ongoing contact with stimulating authors, evocative language, and significant ideas.
Write effectively and perceptively as determined by the appropriate rhetorical context
Craft language with precision in a variety of genres of writing
Generate connections among literary texts within and across historical periods, national literatures, cultural groups, and formal categories
Analyze how language is used in a range of literary texts
Create complex interpretations of a variety of texts
Use information from a variety of sources in order to support interpretations of literary texts
Demonstrate their knowledge of how literature and writing contribute to a full and meaningful life
Speak effectively and perceptively as determined by the appropriate rhetorical context