The English Major

  • The English major encompasses and offers students training in creativity, interpretation, and analysis across three main areas of study. 
Literature, Culture, and Media Creative Writing Language and Linguistics

Literature, Culture, and Media studies the range of literature in English from its medieval origins to its global present while also training students in critical interpretation of texts, objects, film, and digital media. Students can focus in areas such as the African Diaspora, gender and sexuality, composition and rhetoric, folklore, postcolonialism, and critical theory.

Creative Writing offers students the opportunity to practice a literary art form (fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction) with the guidance of published writers. Students work to develop technical skills specific to each genre and enter into aesthetic conversations with the literary community.  

Language and Linguistics provides a new perspective on something we normally take for granted: language. Courses in this area investigate the English language by considering its contemporary structure and historical development as well as the broader principles that shape English and all languages.

  • English majors must take at least 30 credit hours in English, satisfying requirements listed below. At least 24 hours must be at the 3000-level or above. At least 9 hours must be at the 4000-level.
  • No more than 40 hours of English courses may be counted toward graduation. The required hours of English composition (ENGL 1000) are excluded from this maximum. We recommend taking these hours before enrolling in any literature courses numbered 2000 or above.
  • A single course may count for 1, 2, or 3 of the three categories of Breadth of Study, Depth of Study, and Historical Coverage. A single course may not count more than once in a single category.

THE SIX COMPONENTS OF THE ENGLISH MAJOR:

English 2100: Writing about Literature

Often considered the “gateway” course to the English major, English 2100 provides instruction in the fundamentals of writing about literature.  Designed with the needs of declared or prospective English majors and minors in mind, it employs a broad theme or topic in order to introduce students to the basics of literary research, interpretation, and criticism. A central goal of the course is to familiarize students with a variety of critical and theoretical approaches that are used in the study of literature.

Breadth of Study

Students take at least 1 course from each of the following areas at the 3000-level and above.

a. Period Studies and Surveys
Courses in this area examine texts in their historical context, whether through the broad sweep of the survey course (such as “American Literature from 1865 to the present”) or by a more in-depth look at a single period (Medieval, Romantic, Victorian, Harlem Renaissance, Modernist, etc.). These courses consider how historical events and developments shape culture and texts (and vice-versa).

b. Author Studies
Courses in this area focus on an individual or several selected authors or artists. Such courses might consider, among other topics, the relationship among works by the same author, connections between the author’s life and his or her work, and the features and achievements that make this work distinctive.

c. Genre Studies; Thematic Studies
This heading encompasses two separate categories of courses. Genre Studies introduces students to a textual kind, its conventions, and its history. Broad literary genres include the novel, poetry, drama, and the essay, but also may be more narrowly defined (Bildungsroman, tragedy, dramatic monologue, etc). Thematic Studies explores a shared theme among works that may or may not belong to the same period.

d. Theory and Methods
Courses in this category give primary attention to the frame of inquiry and/or the method by which knowledge-making takes place.

Historical Coverage

Students take 3 courses that focus on literature written prior to 1890. One of these must focus on literature written prior to 1603.

Depth of Study

Students must take 3 courses in one area of specialization listed below

a. Medieval Literature
b. Renaissance / Early Modern Literature
c. 18th and 19th Century Literature
d. 20th and 21st Century Literature
e. African Diaspora Studies
f. Postcolonial & Global Literatures
g. Literary, Critical or Rhetorical Theory
h. Creative Writing 
i. Composition & Studies in Writing
j. English Language and Linguistics
k. Folklore Studies
l. Film and Digital Studies
m. Gender and Sexuality Studies
n. Other (subject to English Department Advisor approval)

Description of Depth of Study Areas:

A.  Medieval Literature:  Medieval literature is capacious in its forms, striking in its innovations, and wildly diverse in its interests. Medieval writings are multi-lingual, spanning centuries and ranging from epic poetry to lyric, from drama to prose narrative. They bear witness to the invasions, inventions, religious controversies, and assimilations that inaugurated key concepts such as human rights and romantic love. Courses focus on our language’s Old English beginnings and extend through the late medieval period, incorporating British, European, and global literature.

B. Renaissance/Early Modern Literature:  The Renaissance/Early Modern period in Britain is not only the age of Shakespeare and other unforgettable dramatists, but the source of some of the funniest, strangest, smartest and most beautiful lyric and epic poetry in English. With course topics ranging from John Milton’s Paradise Lost to Shakespeare on film, a concentration in Renaissance/Early Modern literature allows students both to study the history and culture of the past and to become familiar with works and genres that have remained influential for subsequent writers to the present day. 

C. 18th and 19th Century Literature:  Literature of the 18th and 19th centuries saw the emergence and rise to dominance of the novel. Along with the novel, the period saw dramatic transformations in poetry, drama, and non-fiction (including essays, speeches, pamphlets, letters, etc.). These transformative literary works reflected the times themselves, which were filled with revolutions of many kinds (political, technological, cultural, philosophical and religious). Courses in this area often focus on the emergence of women’s writing, the problem of slavery, the consequences of urbanization, and the promises and perils of global expansion.

D. 20th and 21st Century Literature:  20th and 21st Century Literature is shaped by the increasingly rapid changes that define modernity—changes in technology, in national and geopolitics, in the ways in which the world’s cultures and peoples are more connected and more divided. Studying 20th and 21st century literature means trying to appreciate and understand the ways in which the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film, and even popular music of the times reflect and reflect upon this changing world. Courses in this area focus on a wide range of topics from history to economics to racial, gender, and sexual identity to the experiments with form that characterize much of the artistic production of the period.

E. African Diaspora Studies:  African Diaspora literature celebrates, interconnects, and critically explores the histories, as well as the flourishing literary and cultural productions, of the Black Atlantic. Covering the creative, theoretical and critical terrains of Africa, African America, Afro-Caribbean, Black Britain, and emergent discourses of Black Asia, African Diaspora literature illuminates and deepens the folk and oral traditions, life-writings, poetry, fiction, drama, films, and intellectual exchanges by authors and other cultural workers of African descent. In their cross-referentiality, African Diaspora Studies courses recognize the geographic discreteness but also underscore the broader intersections of the lived experiences, thought, and creativities of peoples of African descent.

F. Postcolonial & Global Literatures:  Postcolonial & Global literatures is a transhistorical and transnational category of writing that appears in a variety of forms, ranging from novels, drama, and poetry to film, music, and digital media. Focusing on courses in this area will allow you to read texts from North America, the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand. It encompasses various perspectives on empire building and its aftermaths and explores themes such as race, gender, sexuality, indigeneity, migration, sovereignty, and diaspora. The courses offered in this area provide opportunities to examine how a history of empire and capitalism is central to literary developments around the world, while learning about theoretical concepts like colonialism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism, Orientalism, nationalism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and globalization.

G. Literary, Critical, or Rhetorical Theory: What is distinctive about the works that we read in English classes and what methods are available for interpreting them?  Most of our courses focus on a specific genre or period, which means that we are engaged in defining a relatively narrow category, such as silent film, medieval mystery plays, or modern poetry. Drawing on ancient traditions of rhetoric and poetics as well as other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, and gender studies, courses in the Theory area ask broad questions concerning interpretation, the aesthetics of reading, and the politics of inclusion and exclusion—questions that are relevant to almost every other course in English and to the practice of interpretation in everyday life.

H. Creative Writing: Creative Writing offers students the opportunity to practice a literary art form (fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction) with the guidance of published writers. Our courses involve a wide variety of activities, such as reading classic and contemporary literature, reporting on literary magazines, journaling, collaborating with peers, and experimenting with various formal structures from sonnets to podcasts. Other assignments might involve imitation, word games, experiential and archival research, performance, book arts, author visits, Skype interviews, peer editing, workshop, and revision. Students work to develop technical skills specific to each genre and enter into aesthetic conversations with the literary community.  

Note: Students choosing to satisfy Area H (Creative Writing) for their depth of study requirement will take an additional 3 hours (33 total) to complete their coursework and satisfy the requirement for 24 hours at the 3000+ level because several courses in this sequence are numbered below the 3000 level.

I. Composition & Studies in Writing: Classes in Composition and Writing Studies give students the chance to expand the possibilities of what it means to write. Some classes will provide opportunities to write in new genres, while others will introduce you to different ways of approaching the process of writing.

J. English Language & Linguistics: Linguistics provides a new perspective on something we normally take for granted: language. Courses in this area investigate the English language by considering its contemporary structure and historical development as well as the broader principles that shape English and all languages. How are sounds different from letters? Why do children overgeneralize grammatical rules (e.g. “foots”)? Why do some of Shakespeare's rhymes not work today? These illustrate the kinds of questions students may explore as they refine their understanding and appreciation of language.

K. Folklore Studies:  Folklore Studies embraces the unofficial art of the modern world, as it appears in many forms and among diverse subcultures and groups. It includes, for example, verbal genres such as proverbs, fairytales, jokes, and urban legends, and nonverbal genres such as graffiti, food rituals, memes, quilting, festivals, and tattoos. Courses in this area focus on the intersections between folklore and social identities (gender, race, disability, ethnicity, locale, subculture, etc.), and between folklore and diverse media (Internet, film, video, photography, print, etc.).

L. Film & Digital Studies: The study of film and digital media involves attention to a tremendous range of electronic forms, their historical development in the U.S. and globally, and diverse theories accounting for human interactions with our many kinds of screens. Courses in these areas often focus on visual and sonic film language, film genres (documentary, westerns, animation, zombie films, film noir, television dramas, etc.), the cinema of particular groups (such as women in film, African American cinemas, Indigenous media), and film and media theory. In addition to these critical studies courses, Digital Storytelling courses include camera-based and animated production as well as audio storytelling and writing for digital media.

M. Gender & Sexuality Studies: Gender and sexuality studies introduces students to an exciting array of cultural narratives and critical perspectives about gender and sexuality and their intersection with race, class, nationality, and other dimensions of diversity. Crossing boundaries and challenging traditional categories, courses invite students to explore a myriad of voices, literary traditions, genres, and themes that illuminate how gender is constructed in literature and culture. Courses may focus on African diaspora women writers, gender and poetics, feminist and queer theories, women’s self-expression, LGBTQ representation, and women and film.  

 

Diversity Requirement

English majors must take one (3-hour) course that focuses on issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Each semester a list of approved courses will be made available to students.

Capstone

Capstone Experience: English 4970 or English 4996 (if choosing honors sequence)

Additional Options:

Honors

Students may take an additional 3 hours (33 total) to complete 4995, the Honors Thesis. In order to apply to do this, students must have a 3.3 GPA (3.5 GPA in the major and a 3.3 GPA overall as of Fall 2015). Note that 4996 (the Honors Senior Seminar) will count towards the 9-hour requirement for 4000-level classes, but the 4995, the Honors Thesis, will not.

Internships and Independent Research

Students making satisfactory progress towards completion of degree requirements are encouraged to explore possibilities for gaining professional experience through internal or external internships. They are also encouraged to follow up on the various opportunities to pursue independent research sponsored by the department, the College of Arts and Science, and other divisions of the University. Note that only 3 credits of internship or independent study (English 4940, 4950, 4955 or 4960) will count towards the major’s 4000-level requirement or towards the 24 hours at the 3000+ level.

 

THE ONLINE ENGLISH MAJOR:

It is now possible to earn a BA in English through Mizzou Online. While the online requirements are the same as those outlined above, the course offerings are somewhat different. Open the tabs below to read about the courses that fulfill each distribution area within the online major.

English 2100: Writing about Literature (3 credits)

  • Semester-based: Spring 2020
  • Instructor: Associate Professor Frances Dickey

This required course for English majors provides instruction in the fundamentals of writing about literature, including literary research, interpretation, and criticism. The theme of our readings is “the city,” as we explore changing representations of city life in English and American fiction, poetry, and nonfiction over the last two centuries. A primary goal of the course is to familiarize students with a variety of critical and theoretical approaches that are used in the study of literature. Students will practice these methods in online discussion posts and responses, and short writing assignments, building up through preliminary exercises to a research paper of 8-10 pages. Prerequisite: ENGL 1000 or equivalent, sophomore standing.

Breadth of Study

Students take at least 1 course from each of the following areas at the 3000-level and above. (9 credits)

a. Period Studies and Surveys
Courses in this area examine texts in their historical context and consider how historical events and developments shape culture and texts. Choose one of the following courses:

 

English 3200: British Literature Beginnings to 1784 (also fulfills pre-1890 requirement)

  • Self-paced: all semesters
  • Instructor: Associate Teaching Professor Penny Smith-Parris

Historical survey from beginnings of British literature through the age of Johnson, with readings representing significant writers, works, and currents of thought. The purpose of the course is to survey the development of English literature from its beginning in the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century and the beginnings of romanticism. Major readings include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Course assignments include four progress checks consisting of brief essays (3-4 pages) and two major essay exams (midterm and final).

 

English 3210: British Literature, Romanticism to the Present

  • Self-paced: all semesters
  • Instructor: Associate Teaching Professor Kim McCaffrey

This 100% online survey course provides a historical perspective on the development of British literature in the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. It focuses on the shifting values and attitudes that define these eras—cultural, political, economic, artistic, and literary. Subjects include women’s rights, ideas of democracy, and issues of colonialism, among others. The course includes 13 assignments and 3 exams, which combine short answers and essays. Our text is The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. 2.

 

English 3300W: American Literature, Beginnings to 1865 (also fulfills pre-1890 and English diversity requirements, as well as A&S Writing Intensive requirement)

  • Semester-based: Summer
  • Instructor: Associate Professor Alexandra Socarides

This course will provide a survey of American literature between the colonial period and the Civil War. We will read in a wide variety of genres – poetry, sermons, autobiography, essays, songs, letters, journalism, and political tracts – paying close attention to how writers used the conventions of these genres to meet their particular personal, aesthetic, and political goals. Writers will include but not be limited to: Smith, Bradford, Bradstreet, Rowlandson, Edwards, Franklin, Occum, Equiano, Jefferson, Wheatley, Irving, Schoolcraft, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson. Along the way, we will focus on issues such as colonization, slavery, women’s rights, nature, magic, and individualism. Course assignments will include weekly papers, responses to your peers’ papers, and two revisions. This is a WI course and is conducted entirely online.

 

English 3310: American Literature from 1865 to the Present

  • Self-paced: All semesters
  • Instructor: Teaching Professor Dana Kinnison

On the MU campus, English 3310 is one of the most popular courses offered to undergraduates by the English department. Chief among the appeals is the literature itself. Students read works by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Alice Walker, and others. Though the structure of the course is chronological, beginning with the post-Civil War era and coming up to recent times, the works are grouped to reflect themes and stylistic developments of various periods. This survey course is an opportunity to examine American cultural history and better understand the human condition. Assignments consist of four 1500-word essay responses to questions, a midterm, and final exam.

 

English 3400W: African American Literature to 1900 (also fulfills pre-1890 and English diversity requirements, as well as A&S Writing Intensive and Diversity [DI] requirements)

  • Semester-based: 8-week course in Fall semester
  • Instructor: Associate Professor April Langley

This (8-week) online writing intensive course introduces students to the major developments, themes, and works of African American literature from the arrival of enslaved people from the continent of Africa through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and their post-enslavement as de facto slaves and half-citizens. Specifically, we explore African American literature's continuing response to the call of African, American, and Afro-British American oral and written traditions in the form of folktales, songs, sermons, prose, and poetry, and examines the social, political, and cultural influences of early African-American literature. This summer online course is both fast paced and fun, with short mini-lectures (15 min or less) and diverse reading of literature across many genres, contemporary videos and classic documentaries that add to your interdisciplinary knowledge of literature. Assignments include reading responses, video viewing responses, discussion board peer responses, revisions, and a Final essay with drafts. Students are advised to prepare for this writing intensive course by taking English 1000 in advance. Note: This course meets several requirements for the College of Arts and Science, English and Black Studies Departments: Writing Intensive, Humanities, Diversity Intensive, and other major/minor requirements.

 

English 4140: Transatlantic Modernism (also fulfills English diversity requirement)

  • Semester-based: Spring
  • Instructor: Associate Professor Frances Dickey

This course explores the literature of “Modernism,” a period of cultural upheaval from 1900 through World War I (1914-18) and the 1920’s in the United States and Great Britain. During this time artists and writers launched a program of experimentation that challenged long-held conventions of form and content. We begin with the avant-garde movements of the pre-war period, such as Cubism, Futurism, and Imagism, which revolutionized artistic styles and the relationship of writer to audience. Then we examine the social impact and literary representation of World War I, one of the century’s most cataclysmic events, and finally conclude with a unit on the Harlem Renaissance. Authors studied include Joseph Conrad, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, Richard Wright, and other greats. In examining how women and writers of color found their voices and made their mark on early twentieth-century culture, this course also fulfills the English diversity requirement for the English major. Written assignments include discussion board posts and responses, short essays, two tests, and a final project.

 

b. Author Studies
Courses in this area focus on an individual or several authors or artists. Choose one of the following courses:

 

English 4220: Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature (only class that also fulfills the pre-1603 requirement)

  • Semester-based: Fall
  • Instructor: Associate Professor William Kerwin

In this course we will read seven plays by William Shakespeare. Each one will be introduced with a particular literary or historical focus, and then we will proceed act-by-act, asking specific questions about the play’s language and the thematic concerns. We will look at film clips of a range of productions and adaptations of the plays, and we will also look at several poems by other authors that can shed light on the poetic approaches and social issues found in our seven plays. Students will respond to prompts for discussion exchanges, write short essays on each play, and then write a longer essay at the end of the course.

 

English 4188: Major Women Authors, 1789-1890: The Brontë Sisters (also fulfills pre-1890 and English diversity requirements)

  • Semester-based: Spring
  • Instructor: Associate Professor Elizabeth Chang

This class will introduce you to the greatest literary family of the nineteenth century and to some of the greatest novels written in English, not to mention some very complicated and dramatic family history. We will read novels by three of the Brontë sisters as well as some of the siblings’ writings from childhood. We will also learn about the creation and dismantling of the Brontë myth, and about the current critical assessment of each of the sisters. Along the way, we will also discuss Victorian literature, culture, and the history of women’s writing in nineteenth-century Britain more generally.

 

c. Genre or Thematic Studies
Genre Studies introduces students to one literary “kind”—such as the novel, poetry, drama, the essay—its conventions, and its history. Thematic Studies explores a shared theme among works that may or may not belong to the same period. Choose one of the following courses:

English 4140: Transatlantic Modernism (also fulfills English diversity requirement)

English 4220: Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature (also fulfills the pre-1603 requirement)

English 4188: Major Authors, 1789-1890: The Brontë Sisters (also fulfills pre-1890 and English diversity requirements)

 

English 4179: The Global Novel after 1945 (fulfills English diversity requirement and A&S Diversity [DI] requirement)

  • Semester-based: Summer
  • Instructor: Associate Professor Sheri-Marie Harrison

In the Global Novel after 1945 students will study a variety of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces three major theoretical developments of the global novel during this period: world literature, the postcolonial novel, and the global novel. We will read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958), Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (1988), Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah (2013), and Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad (2013) along with critical writing on each of the theoretical developments. Our focus will be on the relationship between writers and readers, innovations in the novel form, fiction’s engagement with history and politics, and the changing place of national literature in the world.

 

English 4510: Creative Writing: Advanced Fiction

  • Semester-based: Summer
  • Instructor: Professor Phong Nguyen
  • Prerequisite: English 1510  Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction or another Creative Writing course

In this course, students will learn advanced fiction-writing techniques and approaches, such as drawing connections between disparate elements within a story. To that end, this course will introduce students to single-author short story collections and, in some cases, novels. In addition to undertaking close reading and generative writing exercises, students are encouraged to enter into a wider literary context, positioning their work in dialogue with published fiction of the past, present, and future.

 

English 4510: Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry

  • Semester-based: Fall (second 8-week session)
  • Instructor: Assistant Professor Gabriel Fried
  • Prerequisite: English 1510  Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction or another Creative Writing course

In this course, students will develop their skills of poetic craft and voice, taking up approaches and modes that expand on what poems can do or be. This will likely include more daring engagement with prosody/poetic form, as well as the creation of interconnected poetic sequences. Throughout, we will pay close attention to the relationship between the textual (written) poem and its vocalization (performance). Over the semester, we will consider and learn from published examples of ambitious, surprising poems. We will also read and respond to several chapbooks or full-length books in order to deepen our sense of how poems by the same poet may interact with one another within a published volume.  

 

d. Theory and Methods
Courses in this category give primary attention to the frame of inquiry and/or the method by which knowledge-making takes place. Choose one of the following courses:

 

English 4610: History of the English Language

  • Self-paced: every semester
  • Instructor: Professor Matthew Gordon

This course examines the history of English from the prehistoric roots that bind it to other languages of Europe and Asia, through the period of its earliest attestation, and into the modern era. We can see that English has undergone dramatic alterations throughout its life, and the class considers changes in sounds, grammar, meaning, and vocabulary. To understand these changes and why they occur, we look for explanations in both the structure of the language and in the social history of its speakers. The course approaches the subject from the perspective of modern linguistics, a field whose theories and analytical methods differ somewhat from other areas of English. There is one main textbook for this course with additional readings available online. Grading for this self-paced course is based on 16 progress evaluations and 4 exams.

 

English 4970W: Capstone Experience (also fulfils Capstone requirement)

Instructor and theme TBA (to be first offered summer 2021 or spring 2022, depending on demand)

For students in their last semester, this course focuses on a major project and the processes of selection, research, and writing leading to its completion. Includes a unit on careers and professionalization (resume, cover letter).

Historical Coverage

Students take 3 courses (9 credits) across historical periods, including one on literature prior to 1603. Courses may also fulfill other requirements at the same time.

1. One course on literature before 1603: English 4220 Shakespeare and Renaissance Lit (currently the ONLY course that fulfills this requirement)

2. Two other courses on literature written prior to 1890:

English 3200: British Literature, Beginnings to 1784

English 3300W: American Literature, Beginnings to 1865

English 3400W: African American Literature to 1900

English 4188: Major Authors, 1789-1890: The Brontë Sisters

Depth of Study

Students must take 3 courses (9 credits) in a single area of specialization. We currently offer three areas, though more may become available:

18th and 19th Century Literature. Choose 3:

  • English 3200: British Literature Beginnings to 1784
  • English 3210: British Literature, Romanticism to the Present
  • English 3300W: American Literature, Beginnings to 1865
  • English 3400W: African American Literature to 1900
  • English 4188: Major Authors, 1789-1890: The Brontë Sisters

20th and 21st Century Literature. Choose 3:

  • English 2009: Pop Culture Film
  • English 2150: Literature of Baseball
  • English 2150: Tolkien
  • English 3210: British Literature, Romanticism to the Present
  • English 3310: American Literature, 1865 to the Present
  • English 4140: Transatlantic Modernism
  • English 4179: The Global Novel

Gender and Sexuality. Select the following 3 courses:

  • English 3300W: American Literature, Beginnings to 1865
  • English 4140: Transatlantic Modernism
  • English 4188: Major Authors, 1789-1890: The Brontë Sisters

Diversity

Students must meet the English Diversity Requirement by taking a single course that focuses on issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality (3300W, 3400W, 4188, 4140, 4197). The College of A&S also has its own diversity requirement, which is fulfilled by 3400W and possibly others TBA.

Capstone

All students must take English 4970W, which includes research skills and a careers component.

Writing Intensive

The College of A&S also has a Writing Intensive requirement, which can be satisfied within English by taking the capstone (4970W) and one other WI course.

Electives

Online students may also choose from the following electives at the 1000 and 2000 level. Keep in mind that of the minimum required 30 credit hours in English, 24 must be at the 3000 level and above, plus the required course English 2100, so that only one other lower-level course is needed to fulfill the 30 credit hours for completing the English major, though up to 40 credit hours may be counted for the major.

 

English 1310: Introduction to American Literature

  • Self-paced: every semester
  • Instructor: Teaching Professor Dana Kinnison

A basic introduction to the concepts, terms, and practices commonly encountered in literary study, presented by way of texts from the history of American literature that appropriately demonstrate such concepts, terms, and practices. This course is recommended for prospective English majors. Graded on A/F basis only.

 

English 1510: Introduction to Fiction Writing

  • Self-paced: every semester
  • Instructor: Dr. Darren Pine

This self-paced course introduces the fundamentals of writing fiction. We will explore the building blocks that make up a story: significant detail, characterization, fictional time, plot, perspective, dialogue, setting, and revision. This course comprises eight lessons during which we will read two short novels- Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - along with our textbook, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway, and several short stories in The Seagull Book of Stories. Each lesson will include responses to the reading as well as creative writing exercises, culminating in the creation of your own short story.

 

English 2009: Studies in English, 1890 to the Present: Pop Culture Film

  • Self-paced: every semester
  • Instructor: Sam Stowers

This course examines the role of men and masculine identity at the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures. It traces a history of filmic connections between Asian and American models of masculinity by examining recent Hollywood action films alongside more subtle contemplations of Asian-American identities, as well as comparing American Westerns with Japanese Samurai films that define masculinity as a warrior's life.

 

English 2150: Popular Literature: The Literature of Baseball

  • Semester-based: summer
  • Instructor: Dr. Marc McKee

Baseball is commonly hailed as the most literary of sports. Over the past century, it has been represented in countless novels, stories, poems, and plays, and has spawned its own brand of essay and memoir. This course is a survey of literature about baseball. Through reading assorted literary works (as opposed to sports writing) in a variety of genres, we will consider why baseball has been such a prevalent muse for such a variety of American writers and how it has been represented, while honing our skills as writers about literature. As we do so, we will discuss the ways in which these writers use baseball as a context to portray other aspects of American life and culture. Weekly assignments include one or two on-line posts and responses to the posts of others. (All coursework will be conducted on-line).

 

English 2150: Popular Literature: Tolkien

  • Self-paced: every semester
  • Instructor: Dr. Darren Pine

This self-paced course studies the literary genre of fantasy, with specific emphasis on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, his major accounts of the mythical land of Middle-earth. We will read each of these works over the course of seven lessons and look at little closer at the man who wrote them, focusing upon how he explored universal themes of morality, greed, the corrupting influence of power, the value of good stewardship, the importance of free will and the redeeming power of an open heart. For each lesson, the student will submit a short (2-3 page) essay and will keep a reading journal. There will also be midterm and final exams.

 

English 2159: Introduction to World Literatures

  • Semester-based: Spring, first 8-week session
  • Instructor: Professor Karen Piper

 

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