This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2021-22.
Professors Balakian, Cerasano, Coyle, Davies, Harsh (Chair), L. Johnson, Maurer, Staley, Wider
The Department of English offers courses in two programs of study, one in literature written in the English language and the second in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Students may pursue majors and minors in both these areas.
An English major develops students' ability to use language effectively and enhances their critical and analytical skills by making them aware of the social and historical context in which writing, in any of its forms, is produced. English study provides an excellent basis for professional programs in law, journalism, publishing, and business as well as for graduate study in literature, the theater, or creative writing.
Students pursuing one of the majors in the department take courses in specified categories described in detail below. There is considerable choice from among the courses that fulfill these requirements, and students should discuss their programs with an adviser in planning a major. English courses also serve as electives for students in other programs. Normally 200-level courses are for first-year and sophomore students; 300-level courses, for sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and 400-level courses for juniors and seniors. There are a few specified prerequisites for individual courses. Non-majoring students considering 400-level English courses as electives, however, should consult catalogue descriptions and may wish to speak with instructors to determine their readiness for particular courses.
Continued study of a foreign language or work in the literature of other languages in translation is particularly recommended as complementary to an English major and is especially important for students interested in further literary studies. Writing is an important component of coursework.
The Allen Prizes in English Composition — established in memory of Hattie Boyd Allen — two prizes in English composition.
The Jonathan H. Kistler Memorial Curricular Innovation Fund in English — established to support and nurture new curricular and pedagogical ideas within the English department.
The Lasher Prize — established as an award to a member of the junior class in recognition of outstanding talent.
The Lasher Prize for Distinction in English Composition —awarded for distinction in the various types of writing.
The Scott Saunders Prize for Excellence in Literature — established in memory of Scott Saunders '89, and awarded annually to a senior major in English who participated in the Colgate London English Study Group, in recognition of work done in London that is distinguished in its own right or which contributed to the completion of a distinguished project.
The department does not award Advanced Placement credit.
Because transferred courses must conform in rigor to Colgate's curriculum, students intending to take a course in English literature at another institution must meet with the department's transfer-credit adviser before enrolling in a course at another institution. Transfer credit for an English course taken at another college or university will be granted only by the approval of the department. The transfer-credit adviser grants preliminary approval for appropriate courses, which generally must resemble 300- or 400-level courses at Colgate. Upon return to campus, the student brings the course syllabus, all papers written for the course, and a transcript registering its completion to the transfer-credit adviser to receive final approval. No more than two courses (in the case of a minor, one course) may be transferred for major credit. Students may not use a transferred course to fulfill the 400-level seminar requirement of the major.
The privilege to work toward honors is granted at the discretion of the faculty. Seniors with an average of 3.5 in ENGL courses are eligible to apply to pursue an honors project. Interested students should begin discussing their projects with potential directors in their junior year.
Candidates in literary criticism must enroll in ENGL 489, a 0.25-credit course offered in the fall semester. In consultation with a member of the faculty, the student selects a topic and submits a formal prospectus, which must be approved by two faculty supervisors, the director of the honors program, and the department as a whole. The deadline for submission of the prospectus normally falls in October, while the deadline for an annotated bibliography normally falls in December.
Candidates in creative writing must enroll in ENGL 477 - Advanced Workshop in the fall of their senior year and must submit a formal prospectus. They should also speak with a creative writing professor(s) in the spring of their junior year. Permission to pursue a creative writing honors the next spring will be granted on the basis of the quality of work in ENGL 477.
Students pursuing an honors project are enrolled in ENGL 490 - Special Studies for Honors Candidates during the spring term of their senior year. ENGL 490 must be taken in addition to the required 400-level seminar and in addition to the minimum number of courses required for the major. Students must successfully complete the honors seminar and submit a final version of the thesis on a date specified by the department. If the thesis is provisionally approved by the faculty supervisors and the director of the honors program, the student then discusses the project at an oral presentation scheduled during finals week.
A student who completes a project judged worthy of honors by the department and maintains at least a 3.5 average in all ENGL courses, including ENGL 490, is awarded a degree in English with honors. Students with an outstanding overall record in the major who complete a superior thesis and oral presentation may be awarded high honors. If a student withdraws from the program, or if the thesis is not approved for honors, ENGL 490 is converted to ENGL 491 - Independent Study, and a grade is assigned by the faculty member who supervises the completion of the work.
Students with further questions should contact the director of honors in the Department of English.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Students interested in graduate study should consult with their advisers and the department chair early in their programs to be advised about preparation for advanced work. The department also designates special advisers to meet with students interested in graduate work, and informational meetings are held to help juniors and seniors plan their applications for fellowships and graduate admission.
The Department of Educational Studies offers a teacher education program for majors in English who are interested in pursuing a career in elementary or secondary school teaching. Please refer to Educational Studies.
MAT Degree in English
The Master of Arts in Teaching with a major in English is awarded by Colgate in the program. See Graduate Program.
Each year, and often twice a year, a group of juniors and seniors spends a term in London studying British literature and theater under the direction of a member of the English department. Preference normally is given to majors or prospective majors who have completed at least three courses toward the requirements for the major. ENGL 290 - London English Study Group Preparation is a 0.25-credit course limited to participants in the London English Study Group in a subsequent term. The course prepares students for the English coursework to be undertaken in London. For further information, see Off-Campus Study.
Students interested in American literature are encouraged to consider participation in the Santa Fe Study Group. When directed by a member of the English department, the program features courses in contemporary Native American literature and contemporary methods of criticism across the arts as well as providing opportunities for students to continue work in creative writing. The study group also involves service learning work at one of the pueblos near Santa Fe.
Students interested in Caribbean literature and black Atlantic literature are encouraged to consider participation in the Jamaica study group. When directed by a member of the English department, the program features courses in contemporary Caribbean literature and criticism as well as Jamaican culture.
Majors and Minors
- ENGL 200 - Major British Writers
- ENGL 201 - American Texts and Contexts
- ENGL 202 - Justice and Power in Postcolonial Literature
- ENGL 203 - Arthurian Tradition
- ENGL 204 - Native American Writers
- ENGL 207 - New Immigrant Voices
- ENGL 208 - Sex and the Global City
- ENGL 217 - Introductory Workshop in Creative Writing
- ENGL 219 - American Literature and the Environment
- ENGL 220 - The Booker Prize: Examining a Prize, Examining an Empire
- ENGL 240 - Latinx Literature
- ENGL 266 - Introduction to Drama
- ENGL 267 - Modern Drama
- ENGL 290 - London English Study Group Preparation
- ENGL 291 - Independent Study
- ENGL 301 - History of the English Language
- ENGL 302 - The Literature of the Early Middle Ages
- ENGL 303 - Medieval Merchants, Knights, and Pilgrims
- ENGL 304 - Introduction to Early Medieval Languages of Britain and Ireland
- ENGL 305 - The Female Protagonist
- ENGL 307 - The American Novel
- ENGL 309 - Fiction
- ENGL 310 - African American Humor
- ENGL 312 - Race, Place, and the US South
- ENGL 313 - Restoration and 18th-Century Literature and Culture
- ENGL 315 - The Romantic Poets and Essayists
- ENGL 316 - Banned Books
- ENGL 321 - Shakespeare
- ENGL 322 - Shakespeare
- ENGL 323 - Periods in British Literature (London Study group)
- ENGL 324 - Periods in British Literature (London Study group)
- ENGL 325 - Milton
- ENGL 329 - Inventing Ireland
- ENGL 331 - Modern British Literature (London Study Group)
- ENGL 332 - London Theater (London Study Group)
- ENGL 333 - African/Diaspora Women's Narrative
- ENGL 334 - African American Literature
- ENGL 335 - Searching for Home in South Asian Literatures: Gender, Nation, Narration
- ENGL 336 - Native American Literature
- ENGL 337 - African Literature
- ENGL 339 - Modernist Poetry
- ENGL 340 - Critical Theory: Language, Semiotics, and Form
- ENGL 345 - Victorian Fiction
- ENGL 346 - Victorian Poets & Essayists
- ENGL 349 - Global Theater
- ENGL 351 - American Theater
- ENGL 360 - Living Writers
- ENGL 361 - Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
- ENGL 363 - Contemporary Fiction
- ENGL 365 - Fugitive Mobilities: Migration and Environmental Imagination in 20th-Century America
- ENGL 367 - Jamaica in the Literary Imagination (Study Group)
- ENGL 368 - After Genocide: Memory and Representation
- ENGL 370 - Prophecy and Doubt: Romantic and Victorian British Poetry
- ENGL 374 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop
- ENGL 376 - Playwriting II
- ENGL 377 - Fiction Writing Workshop
- ENGL 378 - Poetry Writing Workshop
- ENGL 379 - Literary Journalism
- ENGL 381E - High-Altitude Writing (Extended Study)
- ENGL 385 - Drama, Fiction, and Poetry of Tudor England
- ENGL 388 - British Fiction I, ca. 1700 - 1870
- ENGL 391 - Independent Study
- ENGL 402 - Medieval Celtic Literature
- ENGL 405 - The Brontës
- ENGL 408 - Literature of Medieval Women
- ENGL 418 - Studies in American Literature
- ENGL 420 - Emerson and Thoreau
- ENGL 422 - Confession and Rebellion: American Literature in the 1950s
- ENGL 431 - Ethnographic Fictions: Travel Writing, Bearing Witness, and Human Rights
- ENGL 433 - Caribbean Literature
- ENGL 443 - Modernist Poetry
- ENGL 444 - Modern Wisdom Literature
- ENGL 445 - Life-Writing: The Renaissance
- ENGL 460 - Studies in the Middle Ages
- ENGL 461 - Studies in the Renaissance
- ENGL 471 - Major American Novelists
- ENGL 477 - Advanced Workshop
- ENGL 489 - Preparation for Honors in English Literature
- ENGL 490 - Special Studies for Honors Candidates
- ENGL 491 - Independent Study
- ENGL 492 - English Department Fellowship