Students choose English as a major for many reasons. Some may be preparing for careers in law, teaching, scholarship, business, medicine or public relations. Others may be unaware of a career but realize the value of a background in the humanities and understand that profound insight into the human experience can be found in the literature of various cultures and eras. Through in depth review and discussions of novels, epics, poems, biographies, short stories and essays, students receive an invaluable preparation for careers of further education in many areas.
As an English literature major, you will have a broad range of options. Our offerings combine the old and the new, and span all periods of English and American literature as well as literature in translations from other cultures and traditions. Selections include classical, modern European, Asian and post-Colonial. We have specialized courses in film, in African-American and Women's Literature, in the Bible as literature, and in Literary Theory. Geneseo offers interdisciplinary courses in such areas as literature and the arts, Women's Studies, American Studies, Medieval Studies, and Native American studies. The Department also provides course work in Creative Writing (you can apply for a creative writing track within the major). The major allows for flexibility and encourages individual interests. With the exception of one introductory course and Shakespeare the requirements can primarily be met through coursework of the student's own choice.
The Department offers a Senior Seminar and an Honors Thesis (two semesters of independent research and writing), options that are particularly valuable for students planning to attend graduate school. We also encourage you to study abroad. Programs are available to almost any country for lengths of time varying from one year to one week.
In addition, you are encouraged to select courses in areas related to your interests, such as foreign language and literature, theatre, journalism, computer science and education. Many students pursue an expanded major (such as theatre/English) or a double major (such as English and philosophy) or a major and a minor. Minors have included everything from film to women's studies, from business to medieval studies, from public relations to philosophy, from computer science to religious studies. Many of our majors also decide upon a formal course study in secondary or elementary education which leads to provisional teaching certification. Others decide to obtain their education certification after graduation. The options are almost unlimited, and advisors from the Department are readily available to assist you in making these decisions.
Creative and Expository Writing
Geneseo has an active creative writing program, and you will have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of beginning and advanced courses in poetry, fiction, and non-fictional prose writing, (whether you choose our literature track or creative writing track).
Students interested in expository writing have the opportunity to apply for the position of tutor in our Writing Learning Center, where peer tutoring is used to improve writing for all students at the College.
With the Geneseo Foundation, the Department sponsors the Geneseo Literary Forum, which brings prominent writers to campus. The Department supports MINT magazines, which contains student essays, stories and poems. English majors also become involved with campus publications including: The Lamron and ENCompass.