Explore the power of language
You will feel right at home as an English Literature major at St. Edward’s University if you love reading, if the creative process intrigues you, and if you are interested in cultural history.
In this program, you will learn how to analyze and write about literary works with guidance from accomplished professors who share your passion for literature. Studying a broad range of authors from the medieval period to the present will challenge you to think critically about the human condition. Writing about literature develops both analytical and verbal skills with numerous practical applications.
In this major, you'll become part of a group of passionate readers and writers who engage in invigorating discussions.
Students in this program will:
- Learn to write with skill and grace
- See the world through the lenses of diverse authors
- Analyze formal construction
- Consider what literature reveals about cultures of origin
- Develop expository writing skills and hone critical reading abilities
- Have opportunities to submit work to school publications
English majors develop solid writing skills that can be applied to graduate studies, teaching or a career in the public or private sector.
Renowned Argentinean postmodernist Jorge Luis Borges declared he “could not imagine the universe” if he had not read works by great writers such as Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Milton, and Conrad. Borges sees humanity as creative beings, constantly exchanging old worlds for new. Since we create the worlds that we imagine, we ought to take our task to heart and imagine our worlds well. From among the best artistic minds we may, like Borges, choose our guides.
To study literature is to study the past, the present, and the future within the beautifully complex and nuanced context of artistic expression. Borges sees humanity as creative beings, constantly exchanging old worlds for new. Since we create the worlds that we imagine, we ought to take our task to heart and imagine our worlds well. From among the best artistic minds we may, like Borges, choose our guides.
What Can You Do With a Degree in Literature?
Graduates develop good writing skills and pursue graduate studies or a career path.
Graduates with majors in English develop careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Public relations
- Information science
- Public service
- Foreign service
- Book author
- Graduate Studies
Graduate or professional study is also an option for those interested.
Many graduate programs are available to Literature majors seeking advanced degrees, such as:
- Political science
- Information science
- Public Administration
- Religious Studies
Our students have gone on to graduate programs at many schools, including the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Pennsylvania State University School of Law and Loyola University in Chicago.
Preparation for Law School
According to the American Bar Association, a literature degree is excellent preparation for law school. Practicing attorneys and law school deans frequently say the kind of critical thinking and textual analysis required of English majors provides ideal preparation. Also, humanities majors, including English majors, tend to score above the mean on all three parts of the MCAT exam, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Outside the Classroom
Students are encouraged to seek out internships to get workplace experience and further refine their writing skills.
"I can't remember a semester where I wasn't juggling a spot on an on-campus publication plus an internship and a job. It was my internship at L Style G Style magazine that opened the door for a paid position on staff as an editor."
— Shelby Cole
Sigma Tau Delta
Literature and English writing students can consider joining Sigma Tau Delta, an international organization that promotes literacy worldwide. The St. Edward's chapter meets regularly and seeks to promote literacy.
The Sorin Oak Review is an annual literature and arts journal produced by St. Edward's University students. Anyone within the St. Edward's community may submit short fiction, poems, creative nonfiction essays, photography and artwork.
Arete is an award-winning, student-run academic journal. It's published annually with student submissions of research papers and essays that present substantive, fresh and well-researched arguments for an informed audience.
Hilltop Views is a weekly student newspaper published with news, life and arts, and sports stories relevant to St. Edward's University students.
Visiting Writer Series
The Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writers Series brings working writers to campus to read from their work, talk about their writing and interact with students. You'll have the opportunity to meet award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights.
Meet the Faculty
Alan Altimont's aim as a teacher is to help familiarize students with literary cultures past and present, and to foster young writers eager to make their own contributions to these wonderful inheritances. He especially engages with contemporary American poetry and playwriting, and has published articles on John Berryman, Andrew Marvell and William Shakespeare.
Barbara Filippidis enjoys mentoring students as they prepare papers to present at conferences both on and off campus. She was recognized as the SEU 2015 Advisor of the Year. Filippidis specializes in Victorian and Modern Literature and has published articles on Walker Percy and T.S. Eliot.
Christopher Flynn has published a book and several articles and essays on British and Irish literature, with a special emphasis on 18th-century and Romantic authors. He has also directed several short films, and his film Defoe in the Pillory premiered at the Defoe Society Conference in Bath, England.
Catherine Rainwater has published more than 50 literary critical essays and chapters in books, focusing especially on modern American women writers and Native American authors. She has been recognized with the Norman Foerster Award from the Modern Language Association, the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award and a Choice Award from the American Library Association.
Brian Sheerin's passion for anything old and British helps students delve deeply and creatively into works ranging from Beowulf to John Milton's Paradise Lost. He regularly takes his Shakespeare students to live productions of local plays, and is active in helping students present and publish their scholarly writing from his classes. Sheerin has published several articles on Shakespeare, Thomas Kyd and Ben Jonson.
About the Minor
Students who wish to earn an English Literature minor must take the following coursework, totaling 24 hours.
- British Literature I
- British Literature II
- American Literature I
- American Literature II
- One Course from Period Studies
Students must select three courses from the English Literature electives.
For more information about applicable coursework, please consult the undergraduate bulletin.