Academic Catalog 2023-24

English (BA, Minors)

English courses offer all students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of literature and to write critically and creatively.

English Literature

The BA in English Literature joins the advanced study of literature with training in the digital, creative, and performing arts to prepare students for civically engaged futures in an increasingly global and networked world. Cultivating style and aesthetic sensibility, students study diverse literatures in English-British to Hispanic, African American to Asian American, diasporic to postcolonial-- across a range of historical periods and grounded in critical theory. Students further develop their academic interests in specialized, interdisciplinary concentrations.

Students choosing the Creative Writing concentration share core courses undertaken by all English majors, and also learn the craft of creating original fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction from award-winning writers on our faculty. The program’s flexibility also affords students the opportunity to gain practical skills in the media arts (e.g., making films and other digital productions) by taking courses in related departments such as art and communications-- potentially taking a double major or minor in these areas. The culmination of the English Literature major with a concentration in Creative Writing is the completion of a self-directed capstone project, in close consultation with faculty mentors, which may take the form of anything from the beginning of a novel and a collection of poetry to a stage play, screenplay, or audio performance.

The Cultural Studies concentration deepens knowledge of literary and historical contexts through coursework in Art History, History, Humanities, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and international languages. Students in this concentration may also elect to study abroad.

The concentration in Performance Studies elaborates the study of drama, film, music, dance, and other hybrid forms with a focus on multimedia and expressions of the body. Moreover, curricular partnerships with the Oxford study abroad program, the Marin Shakespeare Company, the Dickens Universe summer colloquium (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Dominican’s Community Action and Social Change program provide students with unique opportunities to take the study of literature beyond the classroom. The English Literature major with concentrations in Cultural Studies or Performance Studies culminates in a self-directed capstone thesis, in close consultation with faculty mentors, which will be a sustained and in-depth analytical study of literary art forms of students’ own choosing.

Minors in English Literature and Creative Writing

The minors in English Literature and in Creative Writing, with their emphasis on careful analysis and clear writing, are valuable complements to majors in any discipline; they prepare students for further study and for employment in fields such as politics, education, environmental studies, public relations, and law.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  1. Advanced Literacy. Close read and apply critical theory to written, verbal, and visual texts; write expository essays in Standard English that have focused theses, clear organization, and integrated secondary sources
  2. Knowledge of Literary Forms and Concepts. Identify and analyze the literary elements and forms of major genres including fiction, poetry, drama, and film, and to recognize hybrid forms
  3. Digital and Multimedia Application. Critically evaluate and effectively communicate through digital and other multimedia forms in a complex, polymodal world
  4. Awareness of Historical and Cultural Contexts. Make connections between texts and their historical and cultural contexts; identify, define, and analyze diverse literary canons
  5. Scholarly Inquiry. Focus and sustain an evidence-based argument relating to literary works; synthesize research and critically analyze both primary and secondary sources
  6. (Creative Writing Concentration) Literary Craft. Produce a focused and sustained creative writing portfolio, interrelating form and technique appropriate to a specific genre or genres