English at Wesleyan

The English major at Wesleyan is designed to equip critical minds, inspire creative imaginations, and hone reading, writing, speaking, and research skills. Our faculty is comprised of distinguished scholars and writers. Our curriculum offers a wide range of innovative courses in American and British literatures, in English language literatures from around the world, and in critical and cultural theory. The Department also has a vibrant tradition in creative writing and offers a rich array of courses and workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.


The general program of study for English majors is designed to develop reading, writing, and analytical skills; to familiarize students with the history of literary expression; to acquaint them with basic questions and concepts in literary and cultural theory; and to introduce approaches to studying the relation of literary texts to their historical contexts—including the histories of race, gender, sexuality, science, politics, and religion. In addition, English majors choose a Concentration in which they pursue more focused study. English majors may concentrate in British or American Literature, in Race and Ethnicity, or in Theory and Literary Forms, or they may apply to the Creative Writing Concentration.


The study of literature and culture is a richly rewarding experience. Some students are drawn to the English major because of their love of literature and language or because of the many ordinary and extraordinary things that books can tell us about other times and our own. Some wish to understand how literature works and how we make meaning out of it. Other students are attracted to the life of the mind lived large on the printed page—gifts of the creative imagination that Zora Neale Hurston called “thought-pictures” or “crayon enlargements of life.” Still others want to read in order to write.