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Department of English

Mission Statement

The Department of English offers to all students, wherever their professional and vocational interests lie, skills in critical thinking, analysis and writing along with an appreciation of the great literary heritage of Western civilization, with particular emphasis upon British and American literature. The program also promotes global awareness and the appreciation of cultural diversity through numerous opportunities for world or multicultural studies.

Our goal is that, through the humanistic study of a variety of literature, students will obtain a better understanding of themselves, their culture and other cultures with which they must invariably come into contact.

A senior requirement ensures that each major will have a final capstone experience through courses designed to integrate earlier training and focus it toward postgraduate needs and opportunities.

Goals

To build upon the skills introduced in the General Education program, the Department of English strives to:

  • Provide students advanced instruction in writing styles ranging from expository and creative writing to literary criticism.
  • Help students master advanced skills in analytical and critical thinking.
  • Develop skills in research and information access.

Career Opportunities

Careers that involve critical thinking, document analysis or oral and written communication such as:

  • Career Counseling
  • Corporate Recruiting
  • Consulting
  • Editing
  • Educational Administration
  • Film and Food Critic
  • Graduate school in English, creative writing, law and library science
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance underwriting
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Law school
  • Library science (librarian, archivist, preservationist)
  • Literary agent
  • Literacy Instructor
  • Lobbyist
  • Magazine writing and editing (print and online)
  • Marketing
  • Newspaper reporting/Foreign Correspondent
  • Non-Profit Advocacy and Administration
  • Public relations and public affairs officer
  • Publishing
  • Research
  • Speech writer
  • Stockbroker
  • Teaching

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

  • Sigma Tau Delta (the National English Honor Society)
  • gardy loo! (a literary magazine)
  • Sister Speak (JMU's feminist journal)
  • MacGuffin Film Journal
  • Cinemuse Film Club
  • Hopscotch (children’s literature magazine)

Degree and Major Requirements

Students majoring in English earn the B.A. degree unless they are completing an English major with an cross disciplinary focus or an additional major in a degree program other than the B.A. The minimum requirement for a major in English is 36 credit hours of course work in the major.

The department recommends that students choose a variety of courses covering contemporary and early literature, as well as period, genre and linguistics courses. In addition to core courses, English majors must take nine credit hours of English electives on or above the 300 level. Courses taken to fulfill General Education Cluster Two requirements may also fulfill requirements in the English major. Students may complete credit requirements by taking additional electives.

The minimum requirement for a major in English with a cross disciplinary focus is 36 credit hours of course work; 24 of these hours must be in English courses, with 15 hours at the 300 level or above. Twelve hours from another discipline or disciplines must be chosen in conference with the student's adviser and approved by the department head. For more information about the cross disciplinary focus, contact a departmental adviser.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses              

Credit Hours

General Education1

            41

Foreign language classes (intermediate level required)2

            0-14

Philosophy course (in addition to General Education courses)

            3

University electives

            26-40

Major requirements (listed below)

            36


            120

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student's chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures' placement exam.

Major Requirements

All students must include in their program the following core courses:

Core Courses      

Credit Hours

ENG 299. Writing About Literature1

            3

Choose one from the following:

            3

ENG 235. Survey of English Literature: From Beowulf to the 18th Century

           

ENG 247. Survey of American Literature: From the Beginning to the Civil War

           

Choose one from the following:

            3

ENG 221. Literature/Culture/Ideas

           

ENG 222. Genre(s)

           

ENG 235. Survey of English Literature: From Beowulf to the 18th Century

           

ENG 236. Survey of English Literature: Victorian Era through the 20th Century

           

ENG 239. Studies in World Literature

           

ENG 247. Survey of American Literature: From the Beginning to the Civil War

           

ENG 248. Survey of American Literature: From the Civil War to the Modern Period

           

ENG 260. Survey of African-American Literature

           

Choose one from the following:

            3

ENG 235. Survey of English Literature: From Beowulf to the 18th Century

           

ENG 236. Survey of English Literature: Victorian Era through the 20th Century

           

ENG 239. Studies in World Literature

           

ENG 247. Survey of American Literature: From the Beginning to the Civil War

           

ENG 248. Survey of American Literature: From the Civil War to the Modern Period

           

ENG 260. Survey of African-American Literature

           

Choose one course at the 200 or 300 level

            3

Choose five courses from the 300 level

            15

Choose two courses from the 400 level

            6


            36

The courses selected must include the following:

One course at the 300 or 400 level, pre-1700:

ENG 301. Old English Language and Literature

ENG 306. The Bible as Literature

ENG 311. Medieval Literature and Culture

ENG 313. Sixteenth Century British Literature

ENG 315. Seventeenth Century British Literature

ENG 316. Early Modern Drama

ENG 317. Shakespeare's Tragedies and Romances

ENG 318. Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories

ENG 319. Teaching Shakespeare

ENG 320L. Shakespeare on the Page and Stage in London

ENG 401. Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature

ENG 402. Advanced Studies in British Literature before 1700

One course at the 300 or 400 level, pre-1900:

ENG 301. Old English Language and Literature

ENG 306. The Bible as Literature

ENG 311. Medieval Literature and Culture

ENG 313. Sixteenth Century British Literature

ENG 315. Seventeenth Century British Literature

ENG 316. Early Modern Drama

ENG 317. Shakespeare's Tragedies and Romances

ENG 318. Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories

ENG 319. Teaching Shakespeare

ENG 320L. Shakespeare on the Page and Stage in London

ENG 321. Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Literature

ENG 322. Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Drama

ENG 325. Romantic Literature

ENG 327. The Gothic

ENG 329. Victorian Literature

ENG 330. The Nineteenth Century British Novel

ENG 342. Early American Literature

ENG 343. Antebellum American Literature

ENG 344. Late Nineteenth Century American Literature

ENG 352. The American Novel to 1914

ENG 363. Native American Literature

ENG 401. Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature

ENG 402. Advanced Studies in British Literature Before 1700

One course from the Identity, Diversity and Power selections:

ENG 358. Oral Literature

ENG 359. Studies in African-American Literature

ENG 360. Introduction to Ethnic American Literature

ENG 361. African-American Fiction

ENG 362. African-American Poetry

ENG 363. Native American Literature

ENG 368. Women's Literature

ENG 369. Feminist Literary Theory

ENG 370. Queer Literature

ENG 377. Introduction to African Literature

ENG 378. Studies in South Asian Literature

ENG 379. Literature and Empire

ENG 408. Advanced Studies in African-American Literature

ENG 423. Advanced Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Literature

ENG 431. Studies in Caribbean Literature

ENG 432. Studies in African Literature

ENG/SPAN 434. Latin American Literature in Translation

ENG 466. Advanced Studies in Women's Literature

Two courses at the 400 level:

ENG 401. Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature

ENG 402. Advanced Studies in British Literature Before 1700

ENG 403. Advanced Studies in British Literature After 1700

ENG 405. Advanced Studies in Anglophone Literature

ENG 407. Advanced Studies in American Literature

ENG 408. Advanced Studies in African-American Literature

ENG 410. Advanced Studies in Author

ENG 413. Advanced Studies in Literature and Ideas

ENG 414. Advanced Studies in Genre

ENG 415. Advanced Studies in Textuality and the History of the Book

ENG 417. Advanced Studies in Linguistics and the English Language

ENG 420. Advanced Studies in Theory and Cultural Studies

ENG 423. Advanced Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Literature

ENG 430. Advanced Studies in Comparative Literature

ENG 431. Advanced Studies in Caribbean Literature

ENG 432. Advanced Studies in African Literature

ENG 434. Advanced Studies in Latin American Literature in Translation

ENG 439. Advanced Studies in Major Authors of Literature in Spanish

ENG 466. Advanced Studies in Women’s Literature

Other courses may be applied to these requirements via course directive. Students should consult advisers and the departmental semesterly list about other options.

1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

Recommended Schedule for Majors

Prior to declaring a major in English, students should consult with an assigned English adviser to plan a course of study tailored to their interests and goals. Students should contact the department office (Keezell Hall, Room 215) to request an adviser. The following chart shows a typical four-year program.

First Year             

Credit Hours

Foreign language courses

            6-8

General Education courses

            23


            29-31

 

Second Year        

Credit Hours

Two of three required courses from among ENG 221-ENG 260

            6

ENG 299. Writing About Literature

            3

General Education courses

            15

Foreign language courses

            6


            30

 

Third Year            

Credit Hours

Remaining requirement from General Education

            3

English 300-level courses

            12-15

Other electives

            15


            30

 

Fourth Year         

Credit Hours

English 300-400 level courses

            12-15

Other electives

            15-18


            30

Concentrations

Majors may use their electives to concentrate in British, American, or world literature or creative writing.

British or American Literatures

In consultation with their advisers, students may choose nine credit hours of courses beyond the core offerings that lead to a coherent view of the scope and development of British or American literature.

World Literature

In consultation with their advisers, students may choose nine credit hours of courses beyond the core offerings that acquaint them with the scope of world literature.

Courses

Credit Hours

Choose three of the following:

           

ENG 305. Mythology

           

ENG 306. The Bible as Literature

           

ENG 430. Advanced Studies in Comparative Literature

           

ENG 431. Advanced Studies in Caribbean Literature

           

ENG 432. Advanced Studies in African Literature

           

ENG 433. Studies in Arabic Literature

           

ENG/FR 435. Studies in French Literature

           

ENG/GER 436. Studies in German Literature

           

ENG/ITAL 437. Studies in Italian Literature

           

ENG/RUS 438. Studies in Russian Literature.

           

ENG 302 and ENG 412 may also satisfy these requirements when content of the courses is appropriate

           


            9

Creative Writing

Students with a strong interest in developing various writing skills should include in their program nine credit hours of electives from the following courses.

Courses

Credit Hours

Choose three of the following:

           

ENG/THEA 347. Playwriting

           

ENG 390. The Environmental Imagination

           

ENG 391. Introduction to Creative Writing: Nonfiction

           

ENG 392. Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry

           

ENG 393. Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction

           

ENG 483. Narrative Form

           

ENG 484. Poetic Craft and Creativity

           

ENG 493. Advanced Creative Non-Fiction

           

ENG 494. Advanced Poetry Writing

           

ENG 495. Advanced Fiction Writing

           

ENG 496. Advanced Topics in Creative Writing

           


            9

Minor Requirements

English Minor

The minimum requirement for a minor in English is 18 credit hours. At least nine hours must be taken in courses at the 300 level or above. A minor in English does not meet requirements for the Secondary Teaching License.

Cross Disciplinary Minors

English participates in the following cross disciplinary minors:

Teaching Licensure

Students interested in becoming teachers must meet specific curriculum requirements in their major as part of the undergraduate academic degree. English majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must complete READ 254, include among their core courses the surveys of both English and American literature (ENG 235, ENG 236, ENG 247 and ENG 248), and include among their electives the following:

Choose one of the following:

ENG 309. Traditional English Grammar

ENG 310. Modern English Grammar

Choose one of the following:

ENG 317. Shakespeare's Tragedies and Romances

ENG 318. Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories

ENG 319. Teaching Shakespeare

ENG 320L. Shakespeare on the Page and Stage in London

At least one course at any level in American literature

At least one course at any level in British literature

At least one course at any level in world literature

In addition to the general education and academic major requirements, English majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must be admitted to teacher education, complete the pre-professional program in secondary education at the undergraduate level and complete the graduate level Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

It is critical that students seeking licensure consult regularly with both their education adviser and their major adviser to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education, in addition to the College of Education section of the catalog.

Teaching English as a Second Language

For a description of the TESOL program, refer to the College of Education section of the catalog.