Values & FAQs

Statement of Values

As an inclusive Department, we affirm our commitment to the holistic development of all students and we value their diverse identities, orientations, backgrounds, and traditions.  Rooted in the Jesuit values of care for all human beings and the concern for social justice, our teaching emphasizes discussion and dialogue, historical awareness, critical argument, and reflective creativity in an atmosphere of respect, empathy, and equality.  Because the study of literature, creative writing, and film puts us into contact with a wide range of human experiences and cultural expressions, we value paying attention to all voices and perspectives, especially those which are under threat or marginalized.

What is it like to be an English Major?

In English and English/Creative Writing, we have designed our courses to open your mind, ignite your imagination, strengthen your critical and creative powers, broaden your literary and historical understanding, and promote powerful encounters with the world that will deepen your commitment to social justice.  English majors have the opportunity to supplement their coursework with cross-listed offerings in Film Studies, and vice versa.

Our professors are committed to your intellectual and creative development.  In the Jesuit tradition, we are committed to your personal and professional formation as well.

As an English major, you'll benefit from award-winning teaching in seminar-sized classes, careful advising throughout your degree, and workshops preparing you for careers and graduate school.  You'll also encounter opportunities to:

  • Submit your creative work to our magazine, Fragments, or serve as an editor;
  • Present your scholarly work at undergraduate conferences where our majors have won prizes;
  • Get credit for internships at a business or non-profit organization.

To see what our professors, majors, and alumni accomplish, read our most recent SUbtext newsletter

Why pursue a degree in English?

The major in English is excellent preparation for careers in law, journalism, advertising and marketing, technical writing, video games, media, and many other fields, as well as for advanced degrees in literary studies, creative writing, rhetoric and composition, women and gender studies, cultural studies, teaching, and other disciplines in the humanities.  For more on why employers prefer students from English and the Humanities, click here.  

The faculty and students in English belong to a discipline that remains at the heart of a liberal arts education.  Together, we aim to cultivate

  • The power of expression, in all its variety;
  • The pleasures of reading complex literary texts, visual images, performance works, and cultural objects;
  • Different kinds of literacies (e.g., understanding cross-cultural rhetorics, reading images and visually-constructed meanings, and developing technological/informational fluency);
  • Critical inquiry, analysis, and argumentation, which are fundamental for virtually all intellectual pursuits and many kinds of careers; and
  • Creative thinking, reflection, imagination, and insight.

These strengths, skills, and abilities continue to make English not just a mainstay of core education in general but also a major asset on your professional résumé. 

What courses will I study?

The faculty in the English Department have worked together to design a coherent course of study. In addition to the carefully-sequenced classes in literary, cultural, and social history, you will have the opportunity to take a wide variety of literature and creative writing courses, including Medieval Marvels, Travel Writing, Shakespeare, Victorian Detectives, Slam Poetry, The History of the English Language, Multiethnic Literatures of the United States, Graphic Novel, and Modernist Time Machines.