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English Department
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Major Course of Study

The majors program in English offers study of the most significant and influential writings of civilization from ancient times to the present as well as the opportunity for independent study and for creative writing projects. A Bachelor of Science degree is awarded.

Ten required courses

HE242 Methods of Literary Analysis
HE333 Shakespeare
One 300-level period course, Pre-1800 (HE313, HE314, HE315)
One 300-level period course, Pre-1900 (HE313, HE314, HE315, HE317, HE319, HE326)
One 400-level capstone seminar
Five additional English elective courses


Methods of Literary Analysis

This course is designed to introduce new majors to tools of professional literary analysis through a set of focused readings. The course has three goals. First, students will acquire and display a mastery of the critical vocabulary used by literary critics in textual readings. Second, they will develop the skills necessary to conduct in-depth research projects in literary studies. Third, they will gain exposure to a variety of representative extra-textual (philosophical, socio-economic, historical) approaches to the analysis of literature. Students will write a series of short essays, and the course will culminate with a long research essay. Recent courses have revolved around Moby Dick, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman.


The literary content of these courses is eclectic. They offer surveys of literature from different cultures, historical periods, and genres. They also offer substantial practice in writing.

HE217 Early Western Literature (Fall and Spring)
HE222 The Bible and Literature (Spring)
HE250 Literature of the Sea (Spring)
HE260 Literature of War (Fall and Spring)


The HE301-307 series goes more deeply into each of the basic literary genres. The HE313-330 series approaches literature in its historical and cultural context. HE333 is required for all English majors. The HE343-344 series offers extensive practice in a variety of writing forms. HE340 and HE353-360 are surveys of literary traditions.

HE301 Patterns in Drama (Fall and Spring)
HE302 Forms of Poetry (Fall and Spring)
HE306 Types of Fiction (Fall and Spring)
HE307 Topics in Film and Literature (Spring)

HE313 Chaucer and His Age (Fall) - Pre-1800/1900
HE314 The Renaissance Mind (Spring) - Pre-1800/1900
HE315 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature (Fall) - Pre-1800/1900
HE317 The Romantic Period (Fall) - Pre-1900
HE318 Modern British Literature (Spring)
HE319 Victorian Literature (Spring) - Pre-1900
HE320 Contemporary British Literature (Fall)
HE326 Early American Literature, 1607-1860 (Fall) - Pre-1900
HE328 American Literature from the Civil War to WWI, 1860-1914 (Spring)
HE329 Modern American Literature, 1914-1945 (Fall)
HE330 Contemporary American Literature, 1945-Present (Spring)

HE333 Shakespeare (Fall and Spring) - Required
HE343 Creative Writing (Fall and Spring)
HE344 Professional Communication (Fall and Spring)

HE340 African-American Literature (Fall)
HE353 Topics in Continental Literature (Fall)
HE355 Topics in Multi-Ethnic Literature (Spring)
HE360 Special Topics in Literature (Fall and Spring)

HE442 Literary Theory and Criticism

A survey of key problems, figures, and texts in the history of literary and cultural thought. Required of all English Honors majors (Spring)

400-level Capstones

Cs students to pursue an intensive study of a restricted literary subject with English department faculty members specializing in that area. Emphasis in each course will be upon extensive and intensive reading in a limited body of material, techniques of research, and development of independent critical judgment. As capstones for the English major, each of these courses has a significant writing component.

HE461 Studies in a Literary Period
HE462 Studies in a Literary Problem
HE463 Studies in a Literary Figure
HE467 Studies in a Literary Genre

HE496 Independent Study 

Each semester, the English department's Independent Research Study panel reviews and approves select Midshipmen to pursue special courses of study with the sponsorship of a professor.  Over the course of the semester, midshipmen meet with the professor outside of his or her normal course of teaching to explore and address research topics in line with the proposals reviewed by the panel.  Midshipmen present and defend the culminating efforts of the studies in the Spring alongside capstones across the Brigade as well as to the faculty of the English department at the end of the semester.  Topics pursued in the past have included multimedia ethnography studies within the Brigade, combat trauma narratives, and the translation and examination of Middle and Old English texts, to name but a few. 


These courses are designed as advanced seminars for students in the English Honors program.

HE503 Seminar in Arts and Literature and HE521 Honors Supplement I
HE504 Seminar in an Advanced Topic and HE522 Honors Supplement II

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