Ursinus College Catalog

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English

Professors Dole, Lionarons, Schroeder, Volkmer; Associate Professors Goldsmith, Ho, Jaroff (Chair), Keita, Kozusko; Assistant Professor Weight

Students choose to major in English because they love to read and write, and are curious about how language constructs the world in which they live. The program for English majors builds on these passions by developing the skills of attentive reading, thoughtful analysis, and graceful writing.

The analytical tools developed in the English major illuminate both literary texts and the societies in which they are produced.  Our majors study principal authors of the American, British, and Anglophone traditions, just as they learn to interpret women’s writing, the poetics of the blues, and literary technologies from Gutenberg to digital.

By encouraging students to apply their interpretive and writing skills in multiple contexts, the English major prepares students to enter a wider variety of careers, to succeed in graduate or professional study, and to become engaged global citizens.

Requirements for Majors

Students majoring in English must complete ten courses, at least eight of which must be English courses. Required English courses include: ENGL-290W and one other course between 220 and 260; at least four 300-level colloquia, including one focusing on literature before 1800 and one focusing on literature after 1800 (ENGL-301 may count as a colloquium); and a 400-level seminar or honors. Elective courses may include any of the following: additional English courses; MCS-207 and MCS-208; FS-101, FS-250, FS-251, FS-252, FS-253, and FS-305; CLAS-224, CLAS-230, and CLAS-326; EAS- 224; and LAS 215. Only two electives outside of the department may count towards the major. Only one ENGL 100-level course may count towards the major. English majors can fulfill both the capstone requirement and the requirement for an oral presentation in the major by taking any of the following courses: ENG-441W, 442W, 443W, 444W, or 492W.
Students seeking teaching certification in English must fulfill all departmental requirements for an English major. Their courses should include literary genres, themes, histories, and major writers. In addition, students working toward certification must select the following courses: ENGL-214; and either MCS-205, or any FS course. Students are strongly recommended to take either ENGL-220 or a 300-level colloquium on Shakespeare and either IDS-101 or CLAS 326. It is also strongly recommended that the candidate participate in student journalism or theater activities. Students and their advisers should consult the Ursinus College Education Department.

Requirements for Minors

A minor concentration in English consists of at least five courses in English at the 200 level or above. No more than one creative writing course may be included in the English minor. ENGL-290W is strongly recommended.

A minor concentration in Creative Writing consists of at least five English courses, including ENGL-402 and at least three of the following creative writing courses: ENGL-106, 205, 206, 209 (one or more sections), and 302. MCS-207 may also be counted toward the minor. One literature course may count toward the creative writing minor. Participation in student publications is also required.

Courses

ENGL-104W. Introductory Topics in English Faculty

A writing-intensive course focusing on a particular topic related to literature, film or other forms of cultural studies. This course emphasizes the writing process and is designed for all students interested in developing their critical reading ability and improving their writing, as well as for students interested in an English major. Limited to first- and second-year students. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H; G or D, if so designated, contingent upon topic)

ENGL-106 Introduction to Creative Writing Faculty

A mixed-genre introduction to writing fiction, poetry, and at least one other genre (such as memoir or playwriting), in a workshop environment. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-205. Fiction Writing Dr. Volkmer

A beginning course in the writing of fiction, with special attention to the short story. The student will study technical aspects of the craft and masterpieces of the genre. The student will write short stories, receive critical responses, and make extensive revisions. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-206. Poetry Writing Dr. Keita

A beginning course in the writing of poetry. The student will study selected works, learn traditional forms of the lyric, and write original verse in those forms. The student will make extensive revisions, based on responses from peers and the professor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-209. Special Topics in Creative Writing Faculty

A workshop course in an area of creative writing not normally covered in ENGL-205 and 206. Topics will vary. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-214. The Structure of the English Language Dr. Lionarons

The morphology, syntax, and grammar of Standard American English and selected dialectal variants, along with an overview of earlier forms of the language. Required for students seeking certification to teach English. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

English 220-250, Faculty

These literature courses focus on improving students’ skills in close reading of texts and writing of critical essays, with instruction in the conventions of genre, period, and region as appropriate. Students will complete a research project as part of the course.

ENGL-220. Shakespeare Dr. Kozusko

The reading of Shakespeare’s principal plays, and the study of their background. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL-222. African American Literary Traditions Dr. Schroeder, Dr. Keita

An overview of the literature written by black American writers from its beginnings to the twenty-first century. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D.)

ENGL-228. Women’s Literature Faculty

A cross-period study of women’s writing attending to issues of canon formation and feminist literary theory. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, D.)

ENGL-230 Literary Histories

A mixed-genre approach to a specific historical period or literary movement, including early modern/ Renaissance, Modernism, Romanticism, ante-bellum America, the Atlantic World, and post-war America. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL-240. Literary Genres

Focusing on the development of a single literary form throughout a specific time period or more generally through literary history, genre courses emphasize the relationships between formal innovation and changing thematic concerns. Sample topics include medieval romance, lyric poetry, epic poetry, satire, drama, rise of the novel, memoir, neo-historical novel, and short fiction. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL-250. New Directions in Literature

These courses shift the focus from conventional genres and periods to new directions in the expanding field of literary study. Students may encounter contemporary genres, such as the graphic novel or the neo-slave narrative; explore literary texts through a recent theoretical lens such as disability studies or ecocriticism; or inhabit new spaces of textual production such as the digital humanities or transnational/urban literature. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL/ENV-262. The Environment in Literature. Dr. Jaroff

Students in this course will read and reflect on a variety of texts focused on environmental issues, such as sustainability, the land ethic, ecological crises, climate change and other eco-critical concerns.  From nature writers, to philosophers, and poetry to prose, students will engage with the literature as well as participate in a civic engagement project as part of their course-related work. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL-290W. Methods in Literary Studies Faculty

Designed as a gateway to the English major; appropriate for minors as well. Includes an introduction to critical vocabulary; study of the genres of poetry, prose, and drama; critical reading practices; a general introduction to literary theory; conventions of the literary research paper; and frequent practice of careful critical writing. Prerequisite: CIE-100, or permission of instructor. Four hours per week. Four semester hours.

Advanced Colloquia in English

Courses numbered between 310 and 335 build on the English major’s knowledge and skills, while providing students with opportunities for substantive research, oral presentations, and other scholarly activities.

To ensure that students are prepared for advanced work, each colloquium will have as prerequisites both ENGL-290W and one course between ENGL-220 and 250; or permission of the instructor.
To provide students with as many choices as possible, the English Department will rotate the courses listed below and post specific course offerings at least three semesters in advance on its website. (Listed topics are subject to change.)

  • 310—Topics in the Novel
  • 315—Topics in Poetry
  • 320—Topics in Drama
  • 325—Crossing Borders/Periods/Genres
  • 330—Literature in Translation
  • 335—Post-Colonial Literature

ENGL-301. Literary Theory Dr. Goldsmith, Dr.Jaroff 

A study of theoretical approaches to literary texts, such as feminism, postcolonialism, and cultural studies. Recommended especially for students considering teaching or graduate studies in English; required for English honors candidates. Prerequisites: ENGL- 290W and one course between ENGL-220 and 250, or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

ENGL-302. Advanced Special Topics in Creative Writing Faculty

A workshop course designed for advanced creative writing students who have already completed one or more sections of 205, 206, or 209. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills already learned at the 200 level. Topics and specific prerequisites will vary. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-381. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an onsite supervisor. Discuss details with the chair of the department.Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: approval of an internship adviser. Three semester hours. (I.)

ENGL-382. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an onsite supervisor. Discuss details with the chair of the department.  Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: The approval of an internship adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

ENGL-391. Independent Study in English Faculty

Independent work, either scholarly or creative, under the supervision of a faculty adviser. A substantial final written project is required. Prerequisites: at least three English classes at the 200 level or above, a written project proposal; and permission of a department faculty member who will serve as adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

ENGL-402. Advanced Creative Writing Dr. Volkmer, Dr. Keita

A workshop course in creative writing offering the student the opportunity to receive significant critical responses on extended works of poetry or prose fiction. Prerequisite: at least two of the following: ENGL-205, 206, 209 (one or more sections), MCS-207; or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A.)

ENGL-441W through 444W. Seminar in Advanced Studies in Literature Faculty

A study of a genre, a major figure, or a special topic. Prerequisites: ENGL-290W; or 301; senior or second-semester junior standing. This course will satisfy the College requirement for a capstone experience and an oral presentation in the major. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

ENGL-491. Research/Independent Work Faculty

This course is open to candidates for departmental honors and to other students with the permission of the department chair. Pre-requisite: ENGL-301. Four semester hours. (I.)

ENGL-492W. Research/Independent Work Faculty

A continuation of course ENGL-491. Prerequisite: ENGL-491. When this course is used to fulfill the capstone experience in the major, the student will be required to give a substantial oral presentation of the research project, either to the departmental honor society or to another group approved by the project adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)