In today's information-based society, the ability to use and analyze the spoken and written word has become critically important. In recognition of this fact, the Department of English offers students a range of courses in English language, writing, and literature, focusing on the development of skills in independent inquiry and analysis, training in literary and rhetorical traditions that deepen students' appreciation of language and literature, and preparation to become astute analysts of culture and sophisticated writers.
English courses teach the skills of critical thinking, writing, and research, as well as the historical and theoretical frameworks through which literature can be read. Courses offered by the English Department are designed to help students read for pleasure and understanding, write with skill and grace, appreciate diverse cultures and values, understand the relationship between art and life, discover the liberating qualities of the imagination, and prepare themselves for careers that require skill with the English language. As such, courses in English are valuable not only to those students majoring in English but also to any student, regardless of major, who plans to enter a professional field in the twenty-first century. Students who major in English develop the skills and flexibility that are increasingly necessary in today's workplace, and studying English therefore helps prepare students for a variety of careers in business, industry, and government, as well as for careers focused more specifically on the use of language, such as writing, publishing, journalism, law, ministry, and teaching, and for graduate study.
Major Programs in English
Students interested in majoring in English should consult with a member of the English Department early on in their time at Virginia Wesleyan, particularly if they plan to study in one of the program's concentrations.
Students who wish to major in English have several options to choose from, including focusing on literary study, concentrations in Secondary Education, Creative Writing, or Professional Writing, and the major in Theatre and English.
English majors are expected to take English 289, Approaches to Literary Study, in advance of upper-division courses, either in the spring of the freshman year or in the fall of the sophomore year. Majors are likewise expected to take English 311, Theory and Research, in the fall of the junior year. English 489, the major's senior capstone experience, includes an extensive independent research or creative writing project and a formal oral presentation before the department and invited Virginia Wesleyan community, and must be taken in the fall of the senior year, with required preliminary work in the spring of the junior year.
Internships for English Majors
Internships may be taken by English majors who have completed three courses in English at Virginia Wesleyan University. The internship must be approved by the student's advisor and the program coordinator and must be with an organization approved by the department. In the past few years, internships have been approved for such organizations as the Space and Naval Warfare Command, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, and the Marine Science Museum.