Advising

Undergraduate Program Office Hours & Contact Information

Stephanie Burt, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Barker Center 270; burt@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: TBD
Email to set up appointment
Academic advising for concentrators and prospective concentrators

Beth Blum, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Barker Center 015; bblum@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: TBD
Email to set up appointment
Academic advising for prospective concentrators

Leah Whittington, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Barker Center 275; lwhittington@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: TBD
Email to set up appointment
Academic advising for prospective concentrators

Darcy Frey, Director of the Creative Writing Program
Lamont 406; frey@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: Fridays 3-5pm and by appointment
Email to set up appointment
Academic advising for the Creative Writing Program

Lauren Bimmler, Undergraduate Program Administrator
Barker Center 159; lbimmler@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: M-F, 10am-4pm
Email to set up appointment
Requirements and general advising for concentrators and prospective concentrators, and study abroad

Henry Vega Ortiz, Undergraduate Program Assistant
Barker Center 158; henryvegaortiz@fas.harvard.edu
Office Hours: M-F, 10am-4pm
Email to set up appointment
Requirements and general advising for concentrators, prospective concentrators, and secondary field

Prospective Concentrators

Considering English as a concentration?  In our courses, you'll explore questions such as:

  • What is literature? What makes it different from philosophy or history?
  • What is the relationship between form and content?
  • Why do human being write, read, and argue about what is essentially make-believe?
  • How and why do we divide literature into genres and periods?
  • How do writers and readers use literature to define themselves and their communities?
  • What is the relationship between literature and ethics?
  • How does literature reflect and inspire political action?
  • What is interpretation? Is there "validity in interpretation"?
  • What is the canon? How and why are canons formed?
  • What are the "institutions of literature" and how do we understand and account for historical conditions of literary production and reception?
  • In what sense is literature "cultural capital"?
  • How do literary studies draw from, inform, and take issue with other disciplines?

Students are welcome to enroll in or apply for admission to any English course. Come talk to us about where to find your favorite authors in our classrooms.

Choosing a Faculty Concentration Advisor

When you declare English as your concentration, you'll also choose a faculty concentration advisor. This will be a faculty member you work with for the duration of your time in the English Department. Your concentration advisor will release your advising hold each term, but their role is much broader: they will help you consider the overall shape of your career as an English concentrator, guide you in course selection, and assist you in mapping out a balanced plan of study that appeals to your specific interests. Remember, this advising relationship is what you make it! Drop in a few times over the course of the semester and really get to know each other. 

If you have a specific professor in mind, we urge you to contact them directly. All (non-creative writing) English faculty participate and expect to hear from you. This could be a professor you’ve taken a class with, a professor you haven’t taken a class with but think you might like to work with, or a professor who shares a similar academic interest as you do. We encourage you to explore faculty interests. (We are aware that it might feel a little awkward to approach a faculty member about this, but go ahead and send an email, drop by office hours, or chat with them after class – please know that they’re excited to work with you!)

If you don’t have someone in mind, or if your first choice is unavailable for some reason, we will likely look to current (or recent) courses you have taken and try to assign you to an English professor who knows you from coursework.

If you’ve only taken one or two English classes and you don’t have a clear choice, please feel free to come chat with the Undergraduate Program staff and we will be happy to make some recommendations!

What to Discuss with Your Advisor

To ensure a departmental experience rich in both breadth and depth, we encourage you to work with your faculty concentration advisor to explore your interests in depth and to explore as many subfields of English literature as possible:

  • Medieval (c. 700-1550)
  • Renaissance (c. 1550-1688)
  • Enlightenment (c. 1688-1800)
  • Romanticism (1780-1830)
  • Nineteenth Century British (c. 1815-1900)
  • Modern British (1900-present)
  • Early American (c.1700-1850)
  • American Renaissance & Post-Bellum (1850-1900)
  • Modern American (1900-present)
  • African American (1800-present)
  • Transnational Anglophone (c.1750-present)
  • Drama
  • Literary Theory
  • Creative Writing

Additional Advising Resources

The Advising Programs Office is charged with coordinating, supporting, and facilitating academic advising programs for all undergraduates and, as such, works with students, faculty, the Freshman Dean’s Office, the Houses and other Harvard College and FAS offices on all aspects of pre-concentration and concentration advising.

The Academic Resource Center supports students in developing reading strategies, time management skills, and metacognitive approaches to learning through consultations, workshops, academic coaching, peer tutoring, and skills-based resources.

The Office of Career Services supports all students and alumni of Harvard College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in exploring and making effective career choices.