Humans make meaning: we can’t help ourselves. We tell stories; we arrange patterns in words, and those patterns affect everything we do. They represent us to ourselves and others, and they change the world. English concentrators study—and create—art made out of words: fiction and nonfiction, tragedy, comedy, lyric, and much more. By studying English literature, you will learn to interpret the verbal expression of others and to make the meanings you want for yourself—skills more crucial than ever in a digital age, when so many words travel so fast. You’ll also visit the dazzling imaginary worlds that have brought readers and writers together across vast expanses of space and time. As you encounter many cultures and many lives in poems, novels, screenplays, playscripts, comics, and hip hop rhymes, you will discover new ways of living in and bettering our interconnected communities.
As an English concentrator you can pursue either the Honors Program or the Elective Program, which requires between 12 and 14 courses. A third option, for honors candidates only, is a joint concentration, which culminates in a thesis supervised by faculty in English and one other department. As an honors candidate you must maintain a concentration grade point average of 3.40 or higher and 3.60 or higher for the joint concentration.