About the Department

Student reading under tree canopy in the Quad.

The English Department at Berea College offers a wide range of courses in literature, both in English and in translation, as well as film, and in writing, including creative and professional writing and studies in rhetoric and composition.

Two majors are offered: English with a Concentration in Literature and English with a Concentration in Writing. Students wishing to become certified to teach at the secondary level need to complete the major in English with a Concentration in Literature as well as a second major in Teaching and Curriculum, offered through the Education Studies Department.

The English Department has two principal responsibilities: advancing the student’s skill in writing and critical analysis, and furthering the student’s insight into the meaning and value of human experience through the study of literature and other art forms and through the student’s own creativity.

An English major includes a minimum of ten courses with department prefix of ENG. After fulfilling the major requirements, a student may wish to concentrate electives in literature, writing, or film.

Upon declaration and acceptance into the English major, a student begins to work closely with her or his advisor to define an area of Focus that connects the field of English studies with courses in other disciplines, whether taken to fulfill General Education requirements, a second major or minor, or as elective courses. Within one semester of acceptance into the major, the student must submit to the department a written Declaration of Focus defining a field of inquiry structured around Literature and/or Writing.

The Declaration of Focus statement is a preliminary articulation of the student’s understanding of how ENG courses and the named other courses cohere in a field of emphasis, to develop the professional and intellectual goals the student establishes for her/his education.  The statement is regularly reviewed and may be revised to accommodate shifts of emphasis in the student’s curricular choices. An updated focus statement and a reflection on the success and evolution of the collateral focus must be included in the English Portfolio, which is also signed by the advisor and submitted to the department in order to complete a major in English.

Possible foci are almost infinite in number, and might develop (for example) around questions of language, translation, visual culture, gender, race, class, identity politics, representation, cultural or regional studies, material culture, quantitative analysis in the humanities, new media and digital humanisms, journalism and media, SLIS, literacies in English, and other themes of the student’s choosing.  Courses relating to the Focus need not all come from the same program or department, but they must form a coherent group.