English Overview

In lower-division courses, students improve essential skills needed to understand and interpret literature and to express their ideas in writing. Emphasizing poetry as well as prose, these courses invite students to read literature within a variety of social, cultural and ethnic contexts.

Upper-division courses encourage a sense of literary history and tradition as well as an understanding of adaptation and change in cultural and literary conventions. With the freedom afforded by upper division electives, students can explore a broad range of world literatures to examine different genres and historical periods, or to nurture a specific interest through a series of related classes.

The Senior Project option provides a further opportunity for in-depth study in the student's chosen area.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at https://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Why Major in English? Why not?—if you love to read, write and think critically and imaginatively. As a major in the University of San Diego’s English Department, you will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of genres—poems, plays, novels, essays, letters, films and new media—from a variety of historical contexts, medieval to contemporary, illuminated by timely theoretical and philosophical questions. Early in your major, you are invited to study literary texts that serve as a foundation for various traditions and cultures and to hone critical reading and writing skills necessary for success at the upper-division level. There, through expansive offerings in creative writing, literary histories, cultures and theories, you explore and discover the complexities of the human experience and come to appreciate the power of language to shape thought.

Frightened to pursue the impractical? Think again. Your practical skills of close reading and analysis, your clear writing, your sense of narrative and the power of argument, your creativity, and your capacity to communicate effectively will make you an attractive candidate for a number of positions. The English major develops proficiencies of considerable value to employers, from business, communications, politics, public service and education. It also prepares you for graduate work in a range of fields, including law and business. Lessons learned and fostered in the English major will serve you well throughout your personal and professional lives.