The English & Communications Department offers majors and courses emphasizing the study of important and enriching cultural texts: novels, poetry, plays, non-fiction essays, films, social media, speeches, advertisements, and more. Our students practice effective written and oral communication and integrate theory and practice. Students in our department have the opportunity to use their skills in a variety of positions in the Work Program, including department assistants, student journalists, public relations assistants, and writing tutors. Classes in the English & Communications Department are largely discussion-based; faculty and students share ideas and information in an engaging and lively atmosphere. Our graduates are well prepared to continue their education in graduate school, but many find jobs in fields looking for professional communicators and critical thinkers—public relations, professional writing, publishing, journalism, corporate management, law, and teaching.
We offer five major tracks in English & Communications: Literature, Creative Writing, Professional Writing, Communications, and Secondary English Education (a shared program with the Education Department).
The Literature major offers a broad range of courses. Students take historical surveys in British and American literature as well as more specialized courses such as Shakespeare, African-American literature, and Global Masterpieces. In addition to studies in narrative, poetry, and drama, we also offer specialized courses in film and graphic narratives. Our special topics courses link to other majors/minors on campus, such as Literature and the Environment, Literature and Gender, and Literature, Law, and Leadership.
The Creative Writing major follows a workshop model in which students share, critique, and revise their work with other students. Creative Writing majors are introduced to all genres—narrative, poetry, drama, non-fiction, creative non-fiction—until they eventually specialize in a genre as they advance through the program. Majors take part in the department’s annual creative writing contest as well as the publication of the college’s literary magazine, Vortex.
The Professional Writing major also follows a workshop model, but is largely project and client based. Classes introduce students to the various genres of professional writing—business communication, grant writing, reports and proposals, new media, technical writing—giving them to experience and skill to write in a variety of professional fields. Professional Writing majors are required to complete an internship during their junior or senior year.
The Communications major offers courses in journalism, advertising, public relations, communication theory, and media literacy to provide practical application of communication theory with the profession. Media studies is combined with more traditional communications courses so that majors are prepared for a variety of professional fields. Communications majors also complete an internship during their junior or senior year. Additionally, many majors take part in the publication of the college’s student-run newspaper The ’Burnian and the online radio station.