English Program Overview
English majors both read and write literature. The major offers both a Literature option and a Writing option, and while both options focus on literary and historical traditions in context, the Writing option provides practice in several different genres, including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, while the Literature option offers exposure to a wide range of literary texts from different cultures, traditions, genres, and historical periods. All English majors learn clear and effective writing, aesthetic appreciation, textual analysis, and the theoretical foundations of the discipline.
Our curriculum offers students learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Many classes incorporate reading and writing with hiking, walking, or cooking, while others have provided students the chance to work with materials in the new Frank Shuffleton Modern Poetry Collection in the Mason library archives. Students participate in public readings and publish their work in national journals. They have assisted with the Conference on International Women’s Writing in the Twenty First Century and have collaborated with graphic design classes in the production of a literary journal.
A major in English can provide students with the habits of mind and skills to succeed in a rapidly changing world. English majors learn to communicate effectively, to think critically and creatively, to read carefully, and to write with clarity and purpose. Graduates of our English program teach locally and abroad, attend graduate or professional programs, and volunteer their talents in philanthropic organizations such as Teach for America, AmeriCorps, or the Peace Corps. They become writers, journalists, and publicists, while others choose careers in publishing, editing, advertising, or library sciences.