Questions, not settled answers, are at the center of literary studies at Dickinson. The English major is focused on problems, issues, and approaches to literature as much as it is on canonical and noncanonical texts. The department encourages students to be independent critical readers and writers rather than passive recipients of received knowledge or political correctness. The curriculum encourages students to explore texts and their numerous contexts: cultural, historical, biographical, economic, political, and psychological. At the end of the major, students demonstrate their sophistication in a year-long seminar and workshop, resulting in a long paper on a topic they have chosen and researched.
We encourage our English 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 details about the
English major and current courses, please access our current Spring 2013 newsletter. Additional information on English major opportunities can be found on our current English major web site. Our department chair and faculty members are available for advice and advising your academic and career path.
Opportunities for study abroadProspective English majors should consider a study abroad experience. The Dickinson Program in England is a valuable junior-year-abroad option. Prospective English majors interested in off campus study should refer to the English department study abroad
web page. 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.
The department strives to help its students—majors and non-majors alike—live more reflectively and imaginatively by introducing them to the power, beauty, and passion of the written word. Since we believe that we do not possess our ideas until we express them, all of our courses stress writing.
To aid our students in becoming independent thinkers and articulate writers, we offer a sequence of courses in rhetoric, language, expository and creative writing. Expository writing courses at the intermediate and advanced level emphasize the development of clear and cogent arguments, the effective use of evidence, and the importance of audience and context. In seminars, workshops, and individual conferences with instructors, students learn the significance of revision in the writing process. Creative writing courses offered in fiction, poetry, memoir, and drama give students the opportunity to work with established, published writers. In workshops, students read and discuss literary texts, practice the craft of writing, and receive criticism and suggestions from peers and the instructor. Our writing and introductory literature courses are open to all students at the college, and our advanced literature and writing courses are open to anyone who has the prerequisite or the instructor's permission.
For English major requirements, please go to our English Curriculum page.
Additional Courses of Study
Numerous students pursue courses in other interdisciplinary majors and minors as well as the English major. In cooperation with participating departments, the American Studies department at Dickinson seeds to provide an innovative and coherent approach to the study of American culture.
The 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 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 media.
Spring 2013 newsletter