The study of English allows students to explore the critical role language and literature play in the shaping of human culture and social experience. Department courses cover a variety of national, regional, and diasporic literary traditions; acquaint students with a range of genres and cultural practices, including poetry, prose, drama, film, and mixed or emerging media; and employ a range of critical and methodological approaches. All foster skills of critical analysis, interpretation, and written argument and expression. By cultivating a sophisticated awareness of linguistic and literary representation, and by encouraging the ability to read critically and write persuasively, the English major provides students with an intellectual foundation and analytical skills that they can draw upon to follow a wide range of paths.
English Majors at Williams are urged to select a balance of intermediate and advanced courses, and to choose classes from the American, British and Anglophone traditions. Because the major requirements specify historical and methodological categories instead of specific courses, students can construct their major largely around their own interests.
Our majors are also urged to take courses in related Departments and Programs. American Studies, Africana Studies, Comparative Literature, Environmental Studies, Latino/a Studies, the Language Departments, Theater and Women’s and Gender Studies all frequently offer courses cross-listed with English. Courses in music, art, philosophy, history and religion can also be an important part of a course of study in literature in English.
For more information on the major click the The English Major link on the menu to the left.