The core mission of the Department of English is to prepare students to contribute to our complex global society by helping them become astute readers and citizens able to critically engage with literary texts and their cultural contexts. We serve a culturally and socioeconomically diverse population at a commuter campus, offering a rigorous education within an intellectual community of mutual respect. Our faculty are productive scholars and writers committed to cutting-edge research. We understand our two major professional responsibilities of teaching and research as fundamentally linked practices.
General Education: Our department achieves its mission by performing a number of interrelated functions within the college. In College Writing courses we teach students from across the disciplines to develop the research skills and rhetorical conventions they will need in all of their courses. In General Education courses we sustain, develop, and inform our students’ pleasure in reading and cultivate their capacity to attend to the complexities of language and form.
Major: The English major gives students the tools to read, write, and think critically about the cultures they inhabit. To achieve this, our curriculum requires students to interrogate texts in a variety of genres from Britain, the United States, and global Anglophone literatures. In doing so, students develop a working knowledge of the terms and concepts of literary analysis, master the close reading of literary works, and demonstrate an understanding of how literary works relate to their immediate historical context and to the traditions from which they emerge. As a result, our majors are able to reflect on the critical assumptions that inform their own and others’ interpretations of texts and to construct their own arguments using secondary sources and a variety of theoretical perspectives. In fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama writing courses we challenge students to develop their understanding of genre, form, audience, and voice through personal creative expression.
Graduate: In recognition of the need for advanced study we support four graduate programs. Our Master of Arts Program creates opportunities for students to undertake scholarly and professional specialization and development in the field of English, and our Master of Science in Education in English Program, offered in conjunction with the Secondary Education Department, provides pre-service and in-service education of teachers. Our Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation offers tracks in poetry, prose, playwriting, and literary translation, emphasizing literary craft and the integration of creative writing with literary studies. As a partner with The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, we provide faculty and resources in support of the university’s mission in doctoral education and research, training, supervising, and developing doctoral students as teachers of writing and of literature and fostering their engagement with the praxis of curriculum development.