Study in English nurtures your creative spirit while sharpening your skills.

Deepen your understanding (and enjoyment) of literature by examining the intricate threads woven through the works of writers ranging from Shakespeare and Dickens to Toni Morrison and Jhumpa Lahiri. You'll study poetry, drama, novels, children's literature, films, and television—guided by award-winning faculty with expertise in prose, poetry, drama, children's literature, and media studies—and discover your own style and talent as an analytical and creative writer, as well as your own skills as a literary critic.

Our students go on to careers in law, publishing, advertising, business, government service, technology, media, journalism, writing and teaching. As an English major, with the ability to read carefully, analyze complex and sophisticated material, and communicate clearly in written and verbal form, your skills will always be in demand.

Program Requirements

The major in English consists of 11 courses given by, or approved by, the department. The following courses are required of all majors:

  • ENGL 199 Approaches to Literature
  • ENGL 200 Introduction to Theory
ENGL 199 is an introduction to the major and is open to all students thinking about majoring in English. All potential majors are urged to take it no later than the beginning of their sophomore year. While ENGL 199 and 200 constitute a sequence and must be taken in that order, this sequence is not necessarily consecutive. ENGL 199 is a class appropriate for incoming first-year students, while ENGL 200 is an advanced course in critical theory, open only to students with sophomore standing and above who have taken 199. Students will thus typically take 199 at the beginning of their first year, and they will take 200 no earlier than the beginning of their second year. ENGL 199 is the prerequisite for all 300-level literature classes offered by this department. Some 300-level classes may have additional prerequisites; see the course descriptions below.

Students may choose either the creative writing or the literature option for their English major. Additional requirements for each option are described below.

The Creative Writing Option
  • One course covering English Literature before 1610 (ENGL 111, 112, 121, 321, 326)
  • One course covering English Literature from 1610—1800 (ENGL 243, 307*, 332, 342)
  • One course covering 19th c. English Literature (ENGL 211*, 254*, 304, 306, 307*, HONS 304, HONS 305)
  • One course in American Literature before 1900 (ENGL 161, 162, 235, 312, 320, 331)
  • One course covering English or American Literature and/or Media of the 20th and/or 21st c. (ENGL 172, 178*, 195, 211*, 221, 214, 221, 239*, 254*, 275*, 317*, 318, 327, 328, 354, 398)
  • One course in Multi-Ethnic Literature (ENGL 138, 163, 176, 178*, 220, 239*, 250, 275*, 308, 316, 317*, HONS 205)
  • Two Creative Writing courses (ENGL 105, 107, 109, 305, 350)
  • One Literature or Creative Writing Elective
Note: Two of these eleven courses must be 300-level literature seminars.

*ENGL 211 and 254 may satisfy the 19th c. English literature requirement OR the 20th/21st c. requirement, not both. ENGL 178, 239, 275, and 317 may satisfy the multi-ethnic literature requirement OR the 20th/21st c. requirement, not both. ENGL 307 may satisfy the English Literature 1610-1800 requirement OR the 19th c. English Literature requirement, not both.
**ENGL 323, Special Topics, in its various versions may satisfy one of these requirements. Check with the Chair of the Department.

The Literature Option
  • One course covering English Literature before 1610 (ENGL 111, 112, 121, 321, 326)
  • One course covering English Literature from 1610—1800 (ENGL 243, 307*, 332, 342)
  • One course covering 19th c. English Literature (ENGL 211*, 254*, 304, 306, 307*, HONS 304, HONS 305)
  • One course in American Literature before 1900 (ENGL 161, 162, 235, 312, 320, 331)
  • One course covering English or American Literature and/or Media of the 20th and/or 21st c. (ENGL 172, 178*, 195, 211*, 221, 214, 221, 239*, 254*, 275*, 317*, 318, 327, 328, 354, 398)
  • One course in Multi-Ethnic Literature (ENGL 138, 163, 176, 178*, 220, 239*, 250, 275*, 308, 316, 317*, HONS 205)
  • Any Three other English courses (one of which may be a creative writing course)
Note: Two of these eleven courses must be 300-level literature seminars.

*ENGL 211 and 254 may satisfy the 19th c. English literature requirement OR the 20th/21st c. requirement, not both. ENGL 178, 239, 275, and 317 may satisfy the multi-ethnic literature requirement OR the 20th/21st c. requirement, not both. ENGL 307 may satisfy the English Literature 1610-1800 requirement OR the 19th c. English Literature requirement, not both.
**ENGL 323, Special Topics, in its various versions may satisfy one of these requirements. Check with the Chair of the Department.

In consultation with their departmental advisor, each student is encouraged to choose required and elective courses to extend the range of study or to explore in greater depth areas of particular interest, historical periods, genres, or themes.

In the Department of English, some or all of the College's independent learning requirement can be met by taking ENGL 350, 355, 370, 380, or 390.  Alternatively, English majors may meet the requirement by taking appropriate courses or completing projects in an area other than English. Internship and Field Work (ENGL 370 and 380) do not count toward the eleven courses required for the major. In addition to 350, 355, 370, 380, and 390, some 300-level literature classes will satisfy the independent learning requirement. Students should check with their department advisor and/or the Chair to learn which 300-level literature classes satisfy the independent learning requirement each term. (Students may only satisfy half the college's independent learning requirement through an approved 300-level literature course.)

Honors in English

Students may earn Honors in English in one of two ways.

1. A student must have a GPA of 3.67 in English and submit an application and a portfolio by the end of the first semester of junior year to the Chair of the department. The portfolio should include a writing sample, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of intent describing intellectual interests and reasons for pursuing honors in English. The chair, in consultation with members of the department, will determine candidacy. Honors in English requires that candidates complete the regular English major through either the creative writing option or the literature option, plus ENGL 350 (Independent Study) followed by ENGL 355 (Thesis). Honors in English also requires that the student maintain a GPA of 3.67 in English.

2. Students may also earn Honors in English by taking 12 English classes plus ENGL 390 (Seminar in Literary Scholarship). This option requires that the student maintain a 3.5 GPA in English and earn at least an A- in ENGL 390.

Students intending to continue the study of English at the graduate level will find it advisable to take the honors program. Students considering graduate work are also strongly urged to take a significant number of English courses at the 300 level and to take a literature course in another modern language. Interested students should consult with Sheldon George, Director of the Graduate Program in English.

Minor Requirements

A minor in English requires five courses from departmental offerings, including ENGL 199 and at least one course at the 200 or 300 level.

Customize Your Program

We encourage our students to augment their required courses with in-depth study in the liberal arts and additional courses in the major. Dual-degrees, interdisciplinary programs, and a wide range of minors are also available. You'll work with your advisor to develop a coherent course program that will meet your educational goals.

We also offer a minor in English for students pursuing other majors. A minor in English requires five courses from departmental offerings, including ENGL 199 and at least one course at the 200 or 300 level.

Internships and Research

Our students take advantage of internships in Boston and beyond, building their skills and resumes and learning from mentors in their fields. Simmons English majors have interned at:

  • Charlesbridge Publishing
  • The Actors' Shakespeare Project
  • The Boston Casting Co
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • Brookline Center for the Arts
  • Horn Book Magazine
  • Candlewick Press
  • Boston Ballet
  • Horticulture Magazine
  • MIT Press
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History
  • Blackwell Publishing
  • Beacon Press 
  • The Museum of Fine Arts 
  • Children's Television Workshop
  • Comcast
  • Versus News
  • Blueberry Hill Productions
  • Cambridge.com
  • Brookline.com
  • Woburn Public School System Libraries
  • Raytheon BBN Technologies
  • Teen Voices Magazine
  • Boston Casting Company

Previous senior theses have included:

Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film

Learning Heterosexuality in Homosocial Spaces: The Paradox of Competing Homosocial and Homosexual Interests of Victorian Boys’ School Stories

Poems Beyond the Page: The Active Art of Reading Poetry

Faculty
    Kelly Hager
    • Kelly Hager
    • Associate Professor, English, and Department Chair, Women'
    • Phone: 617-521-2173
    • Office: C301F
    Renee Bergland
    • Renee Bergland
    • Hazel Dick Leonard Professor of English and Department Chair
    • Phone: 617-521-2220
    • Office: C310E
    Pamela Bromberg
    Sheldon George
    • Sheldon George
    • Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in English
    • Phone: 617-521-2211
    • Office: C310G
All faculty »
How to Apply
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