Questions, not settled answers, are at the center of literary studies at Dickinson. The English major is focused upon problems, issues, and approaches to literature as much as it is upon traditional canonical texts and diverse, largely non-canonical texts. The department seeks to empower students to be independent critical readers and writers rather than passive recipients of received knowledge or political correctness. The curriculum encourages students to explore both texts and their multiple contexts: cultural, historical, biographical, economic, political, and psychological. At the end of the major, students are required to demonstrate their sophistication in a culminating seminar and workshop, resulting in a long paper on a topic they have chosen and researched.
We encourage our majors to make the most of the opportunities to write on campus and develop a portfolio. Such opportunities include The Dickinson Magazine, The Dickinsonian, The Dickinson Review, Belles Lettres Society, and internships. For additional details about the English major and current courses, please access our current Spring 2013 newsletter. Our department chair and faculty members are available for advice and advising your academic and career path.
Opportunities for study abroadEnglish majors interested in off campus study should refer to the English department study abroad web page. Important information concerning transferring back advanced courses will be found on this site. Current sophomores should already be planning their year (or semester) off campus. First-year students should be gathering information. If you have any interest in study abroad, please contact the college's Center for Global Study and Engagement at x1341 in the Stern Building. English majors and prospective majors should consider the Dickinson Program in England as a valuable junior-year-abroad option. For further information on the Norwich program, please contact Professors Johnston, Moffat, or Nichols in the English department.
Independent study and researchThe English department offers independent study and research in literature and in expository and creative writing for content not covered in regular courses. A list of professors and their special interests is available in the English office, 4th floor, East College. As a general rule, no more than two independent studies or independent research courses may be counted toward the major; exceptions must be approved by the department chairperson. Students must secure a professor with whom to study and submit proposals (covering topic, methodology, preparation, relevance to educational goals, bibliography or primary and secondary sources, director, and course requirements) normally in the semester before the study is to be undertaken. See the academic department coordinator for English for the necessary forms.
An internship tests the practical applications of liberal learning in any of a variety of professional or occupational settings. This experience also provides a way to explore possible career choices while still in college. Detailed information about internships, advice in planning, and all necessary forms are available in the Dickinson College Career Center/Internships. Recent examples of Dickinson English major internships include:
- Intern, The David Letterman Show, New York
- Editorial Assistant, British Heritage Magazine, Harrisburg
- TV News Intern, WHP-TV, Harrisburg
- Publications, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC
- Public Relations Assistant, American Red Cross, Harrisburg
- Legal Intern, Barbin and Barbin, Harrisburg
- Editorial Assistant, Stackpole Books Publishers, Harrisburg
- Cooperating and Research Assistant in Advertising, The Neiman Group, Harrisburg
- Higher Education Research, PENN-DOT, Harrisburg
- Advertising and Promotions Intern, HarperCollins Publishers, NYC
Course Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Studies Numerous students pursue courses in other interdisciplinary majors and minors as well as the English major.
The American Studies department at Dickinson
cooperation with participating departments, the American Studies
department at Dickinson seeks to provide an innovative and coherent
approach to the study of American culture.
The Medieval & Early Modern Studies major
This interdisciplinary major enables students to bring together courses from many different departments—English, history, art, music, philosophy, religion, classical studies and foreign language—around a topic involving European civilization from late antiquity to the 18th century. The major culminates with a senior seminar and a research project.
The Creative Writing minor at DickinsonThe
Creative Writing minor may be undertaken in conjunction with any major
at the College; it is not an emphasis within the English major. Within
the minor, students must select an area of concentration in either
fiction or poetry. The minor in creative writing challenges young
writers to develop their talents in the art and craft of fiction,
poetry and other genres. The workshop classes are small, and all
members participate enthusiastically in discussions of student work.
The minor is made up of seven courses that can be taken in conjunction
with any major.
The Film Studies minor at Dickinson The
Film Studies minor brings together film courses in many of Dickinson's
departments. One of the College's distinctive features is the wide
range of films from different countries and cultures taught across the
curriculum—films of Germany, England, India, France, Spain, Latino
cultures, and the Far East are all regularly screened. The political
science, American studies, and sociology departments offer courses that
take a critical perspective on issues of contemporary culture and the
Career Directions Because our graduates know how to
learn to read and write effectively, they flourish in a variety of
professions and vocations: they become writers and bankers, teachers
and politicians, lawyers and environmentalists, journalists and college
professors, homemakers and world travelers. Perhaps most important,
they have the power to lead reflective, examined lives. Long after the
last paper is written and course credit recorded, reading and writing
keeps giving our graduates the imaginative space that Thoreau found at
Walden--the space where, in his words, he learned how "to live
deliberately." The Career Center provides a full range of career
information and assistance to all students including career and
graduate school advising, field experience and internship programs,
recruiting, and volunteer programs. Students are encouraged to visit
the Career Center throughout their four years at Dickinson to take
advantage of all the opportunities available. Alumni may use most of
the services as well. Check out the Dickinson College Career Center web site.
Graduate School Placements Recent English majors have enrolled in a wide range of institutions for graduate study:
They have studied fields as diverse as English • Law • Medicine • Business • Counseling • Elementary • Secondary, and Special Education • Publication Design • Arts Administration • Play writing • Theology • Occupational Therapy • Music • Library Science • History • Environmental Science • Public Relations • Sports Medicine • Social Work