“We read to find life, in all its possibilities.”

                                                           - Roxane Gay

The Department of English (ENGL) offers intensive study in literature by major writers from the medieval period to the present. We also provide experience in a variety of interpretive methods and cultural contexts and foster the understanding and appreciation of literature as an artistic expression of human experience. In addition, we offer rich and varied opportunities for the development of creative writers in all genres.

English student in class.

Our Courses

We offer courses on the British and American literary traditions from their origins to the present, as well as on literature written in English in the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Majors may follow the Literature Track or the Creative Writing Track.

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Creative Writing

We offer creative writing courses in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and experimental media. The Creative Writing Track for majors includes substantial coursework in creative writing as well as a strong foundation in literary analysis.

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Learning Goals

The major cultivates powers of empathy and sympathy as well as critical thinking, rigorous analysis, thorough and responsible research, and clear and persuasive writing—skills and abilities that are valued by employers in nearly every field, and essential for graduate programs in law, medicine, journalism, and other disciplines. 

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About the Department

English studies begin with a core sequence of courses designed to introduce students to close reading, literary theory and criticism, and the historical foundations of literature in English. This introduction is followed by lecture and seminar courses that expose students to the important periods and works of British, American, and Anglophone world literature, as well as research methods in literary study. 

Seniors may elect to complete the major with an independent writing and research project—the senior thesis—conducted over one semester. Senior theses may be literary interpretation or creative work. Students considering graduate work in literature or writing are strongly encouraged to complete a thesis during their senior year.

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Creative Writing Program

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Our Alumni

Students in our major pursue internships and research in a variety of fields, enabling them to apply their liberal arts learning in real-world settings that prepare them for rewarding careers after Middlebury. See what our alumni are doing.