Catalogue 2017 - 2018

English Major

General Information

English majors at Western New England University learn to write and speak effectively as they develop awareness of the ethical, moral, cultural, historical, and social issues that are embedded in both traditional and underrepresented literatures. They graduate prepared to enter a variety of academic, educational, corporate, or government settings. Furthermore, as they analyze texts and develop skill in reasoning, conducting research, and formulating clear arguments, they broaden their perspectives, increase their intellectual curiosity and aesthetic appreciation, and identify themselves as active, lifetime learners.

Career Opportunities

Because English majors graduate with writing, speaking, and analytical skills that have been developed through four years, they are highly desirable job applicants in a number of areas. Our graduates have been successfully employed in primary and secondary schools, in writing-centered professions, and in a variety of business settings. Some have continued their studies in English or communications, completing master’s and doctoral degrees. Law schools look for English majors because they want students who have learned how to think critically, articulate their ideas clearly, and summarize complex issues succinctly. English is a perfect major for those hoping to complete the University’s 3+3 Law program (which enables students to complete both undergraduate and law degrees in six years). A number of our majors have received law degrees and are now practicing that profession.

Writing skills can lead directly to employment in a number of other fields, including journalism, public relations, and technical writing. Many newspaper and magazine editors say they look for English majors because they have been taught how to write for various audiences. Many companies are hiring English majors for technical writing jobs because English majors are taught how to translate ideas and instructions into language that a general audience can understand. Grant writers are needed in all areas: for academic research, political foundations, and corporate development. The English degree can create significant opportunities in the world of professional writing when coupled with an internship or two.

Additionally, many businesses seek to hire English majors for entry-level positions because they are capable learners who have highly developed analytic skills, broad backgrounds, and excellent communication skills.

English Faculty

Program Objectives

The English faculty engage students in learning experiences structured to help them develop the following:

Flexibility and Good Judgment

Our students learn to recognize and appreciate different experiences, other cultures, and new points of view. They also learn to examine evidence carefully and to make informed value judgments.

Breadth of Perspective and Depth of Knowledge

Our students examine the literature of different eras and cultures, relating the creative representation of human society in literature to the broader contexts of history, philosophy, and cultural change. They also deepen and enrich their understanding of at least one literary tradition and are encouraged to pursue more advanced study in particular areas of interest.

Ability to Analyze and Synthesize

Our students use critical thinking to analyze texts and situations, breaking them down into manageable “pieces.” They also seek patterns, make significant connections, and reconnect the parts they analyze into meaningful wholes.

Ability to Learn and to Share Learning

Our students gather, value, and synthesize information in their effort to understand literary works and cultural trends. They also learn the rhetorical skill necessary to present what they learn to others, to share their learning instead of simply “collecting” it.

Self-confidence and Self-assessment

Our students are encouraged to be creative, to use their imaginations, and to take chances. They also receive rigorous critical feedback and are encouraged to apply high standards to everything they do. To learn, one must let go of the idea that one knows everything already. Understanding that, we seek to establish a learning environment that is both fun and serious.

Technological Comfort and Technological Questioning

Our students learn to be comfortable with computers, with word-processing software, and with the process of writing and thinking “on the computer.” But they are also encouraged to question the value and necessity of new technologies and their applications—and to have alternatives on hand if the technology crashes.

Problem-solving and Problem Recognition

Our students learn how to solve problems, to interpret new situations, and to “make sense” of complexity. They also learn how to recognize problems, even in areas that are not usually questioned. We aim to help students recognize assumptions made by institutions and cultures, to question and reassess those value judgments for themselves, and to take an active role in reshaping them.

General University and College Requirements

See General University Requirements and College of Arts and Sciences Requirements.

Degree Requirements

The following classes are required for all English Majors:

ENGL 231British Literature I

3 cr.

ENGL 232British Literature II

3 cr.

ENGL 251American Literature I

3 cr.

ENGL 252American Literature II

3 cr.

ENGL 302Approaches to the Study of Literature

3 cr.


ENGL 314Shakespeare: Plays and Poems

3 cr.


ENGL 315Shakespeare: The Tragedies

3 cr.


ENGL 316Shakespeare: The Comedies and Histories

3 cr.

Four additional courses, of which one must treat: a major author or authors, and another must treat a historically under represented literature.