English major revamped

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

Aspiring writers and bookworms majoring in English will now have a few new requirements to meet before graduation.

The redesigned major requires fewer gateway courses into the program and provides students with more options among 5000-level and elective courses, allowing for more focused study on specific subjects.

“Our goal was to make better sense of the major, so that students may take the courses they want to take,” said Andrew Franta, associate chair of the English department. “Opening the major by offering more electives will allow for students to focus their studies more to their own interests.”

The department currently offers two tracks of studies within the English major, literary studies and the related English teaching major, which works with the College of Education to certify graduating students to teach in secondary education.

The new major offers declared English majors six elective courses within the English department, whereas the previous program allowed four. In addition, the redesigned major requires three core prerequisite courses, whereas the previous major required students to complete five. The English major is still offered as a Bachelor of Arts.

“I wish I would have had these course options, I would have rather studied some areas of literary history more in-depth,” said Megan Butterfield, a senior in English and philosophy. “With the new major and more electives, you could really develop better relations with your professors for letters of recommendation.”

English majors will now have to complete an advanced seminar, which is meant to serve as an intellectual capstone course for students during their undergraduate experience, said Mark Matheson, a professor and departmental advisor in the department. Students can fulfill this requirement through the Honors Program or a five-week study abroad program in England offered during summer semester.

“In the department, we want to encourage intellectual independence,” Matheson said. “I think the new major offers students more opportunities to pursue their own academic interests. I’d like to encourage students to meet with a departmental adviser to plan ahead in creating a schedule of courses that can meet their own personal interests.”

Changes in the English program will apply to students new to the major and will not affect minors and related interdisciplinary studies.

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