Human beings live in words; we can’t have a thought outside of language; we are always “narrating” in order to make meaning of why we’re here. At Wells, we investigate literature for historical and cultural significance, for expression of a writer's artistic and personal vision, and for the ways literary works relate to our own lives.
Develop your skills in writing—whether poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, drama or humor or journalism. Advanced courses in each type of form will encourage you to develop a refined awareness of your strengths and interests. You'll learn the "rules" for writing for different purposes or audiences and the ways to best express your ideas through language and style. You'll also gain opportunities to publish your work long before graduation.
Available as a concentration in the English major or as a minor.
Focusing in the study of literary texts, you'll learn how to closely and critically interpret written works from many different areas and times. Literature students learn to apply different methods of critical interpretation, craft meaningful and persuasive arguments relating to that interpretation, and become familiar with many different writers and their work—including both well-known classic literature and lesser-known but equally-important authors from minority communities.
Available as a concentration in the English major. Students wishing to add a minor with this focus can simply choose the minor in English.
Writers don't just tell stories. At different times, they inspire political action, express scientific facts while making them personal and understandable, explore the subtleties of language (or multiple languages) and shifting perspectives, and shine light on both personal and global issues.
The English Department—its classrooms filled with art works, built-in bookshelves, busts of famous writers, and round tables of pine wood—offers a perfect setting for intense discussions of literature and writing. These conversations develop from close reading and personal essays—in the major, you'll discover new topics, create critical questions through rhetorical analysis, and arrive at a sophisticated and meaningful thesis.
The goal is to enable English students to thoroughly and thoughtfully investigate any text—be it an article, journal, poem, essay, or book—and write their own papers or stories worth sharing.
Wells professors teach both classic texts (from 1750 onward) and contemporary ones, focusing on those that continue to generate remarkably different responses over time—that reward re-reading. They teach students how to use the imagination to inhabit other places, people, and perspectives, and encourage a sensitivity to language that helps students learn to say what they mean, to mean what they say, and to understand the world as a rich, complicated, and dynamic place.
Our approach to education emphasizes an awareness of other types of knowledge as well. In literature and writing classes, you'll share space with students who are majoring in history, chemistry, political science, psychology, and more—as a result, you'll learn how to understand our complex world a little better. More importantly, your education in English will prepare you to approach professional writing or critical reading and research in any field.
Internships offer an opportunity to link your classroom learning and independent work to a professional context. These experiences provide insights into publishing, technical writing, library work, journalism, and other careers through interactions with the individuals and groups who are driving them. The following is a sample of internships recently held by Wells English students:
Would you like to travel the world and write about your adventures? How about studying the British classics in Bath, England? English majors can pursue fascinating programs across the country and around the world Check out our off-campus study programs.
Want to see one of your stories published? Enjoy practicing your reporting skills? Wells has student publications and literary organizations that provide out-of-the-classroom and out-of-the-box learning for English majors. Students have the opportunity to write for publication, learn to closely edit the work of others, and meet with many visiting writers and publishers. Below are just a few clubs and activities that might catch your interest:
Students who study literature and creative writing at Wells come to understand that what they do in class constitutes pre-professional training in a variety of careers—from teaching, law, library science, journalism, book publishing, editing, theatre (especially dramaturgy), the hospitality industry, “gaming,” and filmmaking to original writing in drama, the novel, poetry, musical criticism, and so forth.
As an English major, you'll learn to analyze and explain individual works while receiving a thorough training in the writing skills necessary for many career paths. Graduates of this program in recent years are now working in law, editing and publishing, marketing and public relations, social work, stage acting, law enforcement, and teaching, and can be found in a variety of graduate school programs such as Cornell University, Mills College, Brown University, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Simmons College, and the Denver Publishing Institute.