English Major & Minor

Studying English is tremendously rewarding and has much to offer both the practical and the inquiring student. Students focus on the essential human endeavors of reading, analysis, interpretation, and writing. English study enhances aesthetic perception and engages us vicariously through literature. By studying perennial themes and questions of the human condition, students gain an understanding of their own lives in today’s world. Students study literary and other texts in generic, aesthetic, historical, religious and other contexts, including the theoretical and interdisciplinary contexts the faculty bring to the courses they teach.

The English major prepares the student for any career that requires perceptive reading, orderly and clear thinking, and persuasive and graceful oral and written expression. For example, careers such as law, medicine, education, business, organizational management, writing, and publishing and editing rely heavily on skills developed in the English major. Opportunities for the English major are found in careers as diverse as teaching, business and industry, professional and technical writing, journalism, editing, personnel work, sales, government service, advertising, script writing, and public information. English study supports lifelong personal enrichment, moral citizenship, and family life.

Learning Objectives

Students completing Southern Virginia’s English major are expected to acquire the following:

  1. Ability to read a variety of literary and non-literary texts closely, recognizing subtle and complex differences in language use and literary genre.
  2. Ability to write clear, persuasive analytical essays driven by arguments based on the texts using appropriate literary terminology and the cultural and aesthetic values relevant to these texts.
  3. Ability to research literary works, authors, and contexts, ably utilizing library resources, incorporating and documenting research appropriately, and adhering to the highest standards of intellectual integrity.
  4. Broad knowledge of key authors, major traditions and movements, and literary and cultural history.

Program Coordinator: Dr. Sarah Maitland

Major Requirements (30 credit hours)

Major Core (6 credit hours):

  • ENG 200 Introduction to Literary Studies (3)
  • ENG 498 Senior Paper (3)

Major Electives I (6 credit hours)

  • ENG 230 British Literature I or ENG 240 British Literature II (3)
  • ENG 250 American Literature I or ENG 260 American Literature II (3)

Major Electives II (6 credit hours):

  • ENG 335R Topics in Early British Literature (3)
  • ENG 345R Topics in Later British Literature (3)
  • ENG 355R Topics in American Literature (3)

Major Electives III (12 credit hours):

  • All English major electives, including up to 6 hours in WRI 219R and/or creative writing courses.  Credit earned in literary magazine courses do not count towards the English major or minor.

Download the English Major Checklist

Minor Requirements (18 credit hours)

Minor Core (9 credit hours):

  • ENG 200 Introduction to Literary Studies (3)

Plus any two courses from:

  • ENG 230 British Literature I (3)
  • ENG 240 British Literature II (3)
  • ENG 250 American Literature (3)

Minor Electives (9 credit hours):

  • Any three English Courses beyond WRI 120 College Composition. Only one of these three courses may be in creative writing.

Download the English Minor Checklist