2023-2024 Catalog 
    Feb 29, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

English Major, Literature Concentration

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Professors Allison, DeMarco
Associate Professors Butcher, Comorau, Long, Merkel
Professors Emeriti Musser, Olmstead
Part-Time Senior Lecturer Burns

English majors develop both reading and writing skills. They gain a wide knowledge of authors, of texts originally written in English, of the English language, and of interpretive approaches to literature. They read literary works and watch films selected to illustrate the linguistic connections among texts, historical perspectives, cultural contexts, the development of English as a language, and the canon, its critics, and its alternatives. The major and minor foster curiosity about language, and the conviction that literature and film enrich human experience.

In English courses, students develop close reading skills—heightening their awareness of the conventions of literary and cinematic form, structure, language, genre, and rhetoric—and are introduced to current critical methods. Throughout the major, students test and revise their notions of what makes literature literature. They cultivate sensitivity to language as a medium of thought and communication, and they learn to ask penetrating questions about texts and language.

English majors and minors become thoroughly acquainted with the writing process, sensitive to the rhetorical situation, and alert to the demands for correctness and precision.

The English department expects that its students will explore the relationship of language and literature to social and cultural issues. It hopes they will become habitual, morally engaged readers, appreciating literature’s function in developing an imaginative sensitivity to and disciplined regard for the relation between words and the world, the writer and the work, the representing self and the represented other.

The English major and minor also provide practical preparation for the world of work. They equip students to communicate clearly, to write effectively, and to read critically and accurately. These skills are fundamental for success in numerous professions and occupations, especially in the age of the Internet.

Many English courses do not carry prerequisites. In general, however, courses at the 100 and 200 levels are most appropriate for first-year students and sophomores, or for those students who have not previously taken a college literature course. Upper-level students and those who have previously taken a college literature course may take courses at all levels.

Learning Objectives

1. Students will learn how to situate diverse literary, cinematic, and cultural texts within social, historical, and aesthetic contexts, including the history of literary periods and genres as well as the history of English as a global language.

2. Students will cultivate close reading skills, including the ability to recognize and analyze literary language, forms, and conventions, as well as a sensitivity to language itself as a medium of communication and expression.

3. Student will develop writing skills, including the ability to construct a thesis-driven argument supported by textual evidence and research, as well as facility with using or adapting the conventions of literary genres to argumentative or artistic purposes. 

4. Students will come to appreciate the manifold ways in which literary, cinematic, and cultural texts enrich human experience, contributing to a person’s ability to understand the world and self in new ways.

Major Requirements

ENG 250  is required for all English majors, and prospective and declared majors are strongly encouraged to take ENG 250  in their first or second year, before enrolling in upper-level courses. However, if a Junior or Senior English major has not yet taken ENG 250  and has successfully completed several upper-level English courses, then the student may petition to the Department chair to substitute ENG 380  for ENG 250 . Unless this petition is approved by the chair, ENG 250  will be required to complete the major. Students are encouraged to plan ahead with regard to required seminars and advanced workshops.


Literature Concentration:

The English Literature Concentration is 10 units.

***PLEASE NOTE:  A single class can be used to satisfy no more than 2 distribution requirements.***

I. Lower-level Literature - 249 or below (1 unit):

II. Introduction to Literary Study (1 unit):

III. British, European, and Postcolonial Literature (2 units):

IV. American Literature (1 unit):

V. Intermediate-Level Courses - 250-300 (1 unit):

VI. Advanced-Level Courses - 301 and above (3 units):

VII. Elective(s):

One (1) or more English course units to reach at least 10 units to complete the Literature Concentration.

VIII. Distribution Requirements:

As part of the above 10 units, students taking the Literature Concentration must satisfy the following requirements:

  • At least one (1) pre-1800 course
  • At least one (1) Diversity course


ENG 105  does not count toward the major. Internships and Apprenticeships, while encouraged, are viewed as an extension of the major, not as a substitute for a regular course. ENG 495  does not count toward the major.

A course taken credit/no entry may not be counted toward the major. At least seven courses must be taken at Ohio Wesleyan.

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