English Literature

English Literature is about more than reading plays, novels and poems. It’s about developing the intellectual and critical thinking skills to analyze what you read and defend your positions in papers, publications and discussions. At RWU, our student-centered program will teach you the strong writing, research and presentation skills you’ll need to succeed in graduate school and any professional career.

Roger Williams University offers a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, as well as an English Literature/Secondary Education dual major.

The English Literature program at RWU celebrates the British and American canon, while offering opportunities to explore authors and works from other traditions, including world literatures in translation and literatures that focus on cultures, genres, periods and themes representative of both non-western and western perspectives. Studies occur in an environment marked by strong faculty commitment to student-centered education. As a result, students are actively engaged in achieving individual excellence and are involved also in the larger life of formal and informal program activities in and out of class.

Social elements of the program include a literature society and the international honor society. The academic design of the curriculum fosters progressive intellectual development; depth and breadth of knowledge of literature and its many integrated contexts (especially philosophical, psychological, historical, aesthetic and cross-cultural); and the assembly of critical thinking, analytical writing, argument and defense, research, presentation and related skills, all of which prepare students for leadership roles, graduate study as well as a wide variety of professional careers in education and the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

The English Literature Major

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While the core of the English Literature major explores the British and American canon, the program also special topics courses based on student interest. These include world literatures in translation and literatures that focus on cultures, genres, periods, and themes representative of nonwestern as well as western perspectives. Studies occur in an environment marked by strong faculty commitment to student-centered education. Our students also benefit from interdisciplinary courses in Creative Writing, Theater, and/ or Professional Writing, which may also count toward the English major. As a result, students are actively engaged in achieving individual excellence and are involved also in the larger life of formal and informal program activities in and out of class. Social elements of the program include a student mentoring program, a literature society, and a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International Honor Society. The faculty keeps office doors open, and advisement is a keystone of the department. Students regularly attend national conferences to present their papers. The academic design of the curriculum fosters progressive intellectual development; depth and breadth of knowledge of literature and its many integrated contexts (especially philosophical, psychological, historical, aesthetic, and cross-cultural); and the assembly of critical thinking, analytical writing, argument and defense, research, presentation, and related skills, all of which advantage students for leadership roles, graduate studies, and professional careers not only in teaching, but in many other fields as well. All majors complete a capstone, year-long, senior thesis of publishable quality and present their findings in Senior Colloquium. The Department also hosts a yearly Career Night with returning majors providing tips for future career and internship opportunities and our web page updates students on a variety of paid and unpaid internship opportunities.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in English must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, majors must complete the following 14 courses as specified and sufficient electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives taken outside the major toward a minor or second major.
Foundation Courses
One English course at the 100 Level
ENG210Myth, Fantasy, and the Imagination 
ENG220Literary Analysis 
American Literature Requirement
ENG240Early American Literature: Pre Columbus Through the Civil War 
ENG260American Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism 
Brithsh Literature Requirement
ENG270British Literature I: From Beowulf to Gothic Literature 
ENG290British Literature II: From Romanticism to Modernism 
ENG350Shakespeare 
Global Literature Requirement
ASIA100Foundations of Asian Studies 
or
ENG320Studies in Global Literature 
English Elective Requirement

Select three (3) additional English Electives, two (2) must be at the 300/400 Level

Students may select a course at the appropriate level from the following interdisciplinary list to satisfy one (1) of the English Elective requirements

ASIA100Foundations of Asian Studies 
CW210Form in Poetry 
CW360Writers Reading Fiction Seminar 
THEAT334Contemporary Drama 
WTNG301The Rhetoric of Narrative 
WTNG302Art of Writing: Forms of the Essay 
WTNG303Environmental Rhetoric 
WTNG305Writing the City 
WTNG322Advancing Public Argument 
Capstone Sequence
ENG480Senior Thesis I 
ENG481Senior Thesis II 
Secondary Education Requirement
ENG412Capstone – Adolescent Multicultural Literature 
Elective Requirements

Select two (2) additional English Electives, one (1) must be at the 300/400 Level

Students may select one course at the appropriate level from the following interdisciplinary list to satisfy one (1) of the English Elective requirements

ASIA100Foundations of Asian Studies 
CW210Form in Poetry 
CW360Writers Reading Fiction Seminar 
THEAT334Contemporary Drama 
WTNG301The Rhetoric of Narrative 
WTNG302Art of Writing: Forms of the Essay 
WTNG303Environmental Rhetoric 
WTNG305Writing the City 
WTNG322Advancing Public Argument 

The English Literature Minor

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At Least two (2) English courses at the 100-200 level
At Least two (2) English courses at the 300-400 level
One English course at any level
and
ENG 350 Shakespeare

Student Learning Outcomes

100-level courses:

  • Formulate a succinct, well-constructed thesis statement
  • Identify the operative genre differences between novels, plays, and drama
  • Conduct close reading of primary texts
  • Complete at least two formal short essays (3-5 pages)
  • Complete frequent, regular writing assignments—textual commentaries (TC), 1-2 pages
  • Master literary terms
  • Carry this knowledge and these skills to subsequent English Literature courses

200-level courses:

  • Complete annotated bibliographies
  • Master more sophisticated literary  texts
  • Develop more sophisticated/thesis skills
  • Complete critical essays of 5-6 pages with both primary and secondary sources
  • Deliver formal oral presentations
  • In ENG 220 (Literary Analysis)
    a)  Recognize and apply a number of literary theories to any given text (e.g., Marxism, feminism, post-colonialism, Gender Studies)
    b)  Complete a critical / research essay: of 8-12 pages
    c)  Develop the paper in stages: proposal, draft of introduction with thesis statement, outline of paper, and multiple drafts

300/400-level courses:

  • Further develop reading/research/writing skills develop  in lower levels
  • Master additional literary terminology
  • Integrate additional theoretical approaches to studying texts with continued emphasis on close reading of primary texts
  • Complete a major critical essay of at least 10-12 pages that includes integration of critical sources
  • Deliver more sophisticated formal oral presentations
  • In ENG 480/481 (Senior Thesis):
    a)  Compose a formal thesis proposal with outline (ENG 480)
    b)  Complete a thesis – a minimum of 20-30 pages (ENG 481)
    c)  Participate in a public colloquium (ENG 481)