English

Develop valuable career skills in a flexible, hands-on English bachelor’s degree program that offers concentrations in both literature and creative writing.

Learn to live a richer, fuller, more examined life in an English program that enables you to fully explore your place in the world. As an English major at Wells, you'll have opportunities to publish your own writing, interact with internationally-recognized poets and writers as part of our Visiting Writers Series, design your own internship experience, and make valuable career connections. Working in small classes at a private liberal arts college in scenic New York State, you'll also find a strong sense of community and benefit from close mentorship by accomplished and accessible faculty.

English Students with  painting of Shakespeare
Books in Long Library
Student reading her work
Professor reading his work
Evenline pride
Creative Writing

Develop your skills in creative writing—whether poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, drama or humor or journalism. Advanced writing 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.

Creative writing is available as a concentration in the English major or as a minor.

Literature

Literature students learn to apply different methods of critical interpretation, craft meaningful and persuasive arguments, 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. Wells professors teach both classic texts (from 1750 onward) and contemporary ones, focusing on those that continue to generate remarkably different responses over time.

Literature is available as a concentration in the English major. Students wishing to add a minor with a focus in literature can simply choose the minor in English.

A Look Inside the English Bachelor’s Degree Program at Wells

With concentrations in both creative writing and literature, our English program enables you to tailor an educational experience that meets your needs and interests. English students at Wells learn to say what they mean, to mean what they say, and to understand the world as a rich, complicated, and dynamic place. We also emphasize an awareness of a wide range of subject areas, so that your education in English will prepare you to approach professional writing or critical reading and research in any career field. 

What You’ll Learn as an English Major

  • How to investigate any text—be it an article, journal, poem, essay, or book—and write your own papers or stories
  • How to critically interpret written works from many different areas and times and craft meaningful and persuasive arguments relating to that interpretation
  • Research, critical thinking, and communication skills you can apply to any career

Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning in the English Bachelor’s Degree Program

Meet nationally and internationally recognized writers who join our literature and creative writing courses as part of our Visiting Writers Series. Take part in interdisciplinary internships with the Wells College Press that offer hands-on experience with all aspects of book production, from inspiration to publication. Or pursue exciting internship opportunities off campus in nearby New York City and across the country. The English bachelor’s degree program at Wells offers a variety of enriching experiences designed to prepare you for today’s job market.

Internship and Study Abroad Opportunities

Internships in the English program 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:

  • Elle magazine, New York City
  • HarperCollins Publishing, New York City
  • New York State Archives, Albany, New York
  • The Perseus Book Group, New York City
  • The Rome Observer, Rome, New York
  • Frick Reference Library, New York City

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. Learn more about study abroad programs at Wells.

English Clubs and Other Aurora Campus 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:

  • The Sycamore (student magazine)
  • The Chronicle (literary and visual arts journal)
  • The Cardinal (yearbook)
  • Collegiate (student government)
  • Campus Greens environmental club
  • Women's Resource Center
  • The Book Arts Center

Related Minor Degree Programs

The English program at Wells is available as both a major and minor. If you’re interested in studying English, you might also want to explore our minors in: 

Career Options for English Majors

English is spoken by a quarter of the world’s population, even more as a second language than a first. It’s the language of global business. It’s also the number one undergraduate major for law school students. That’s why, when you earn a bachelor’s degree in English, you’ll enter the job market with writing, research, and analytical skills that will prepare you for careers around the world.  

Recent graduates of the English program at Wells are now working in law, editing and publishing, marketing and public relations, social work, stage acting, law enforcement, and teaching. Our English majors have also gone on to a variety of graduate school programs at institutions such as Cornell University, Mills College, Brown University, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Simmons College, and the Denver Publishing Institute.

Find more about what you can do with an English degree and other important information for English majors.

CURRENT RESEARCH and Writing IN THE English BACHELOR'S PROGRAM

Catherine Burroughs, Professor of English Literature submitted a proposal for her book, Closet Drama: Theory, History, and Genre; it is currently under review at several presses. Professor Burroughs contributed the chapter on drama to “The Cambridge Companion to Women's Writing in the Romantic Period,” released by Cambridge University Press.

Professor of English Cynthia Garrett's research explores gender and religious issues in early modern English literature, specifically lyric poetry. Her courses take students from British poetry and prose of the medieval period through the 19th century. Her own research and study has led her to begin writing historical fiction.

Assistant Professor of English Daniel Rosenberg’s chapbook-length collection of 22 poems, Mine, was a finalist for Verse Magazine's Tomaž Šalamun Prize, and will be published in the magazine this year. His poems have also been accepted this month for publication in From the Finger Lakes: A Poetry Anthology and Boston Review.

Apply Now to Pursue Your Bachelor’s Degree in English

Take the first step toward earning your bachelor’s degree in English at Wells College. Apply now.

Request More Information

Interested in learning more about Wells College and our English Bachelor of Arts program? Request more information. 

"I think one of the things that really drew me to Wells was how important student participation was and how you could be involved in so many different aspects on campus. I help organize events and participate in the discussions, which is awesome because the small size makes everyone's voice heard."

Michelle Lee '16
Women's and Gender Studies Major
joan murray
10-07-2015
The Wells College Visiting Writers Series presents a reading by poet, writer, and playwright Joan Murray at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7, in the Art Exhibit Room of Macmillan Hall. She will also join...
News: Writing
09-19-2016

Wells College Press invites submissions to its annual Poetry Chapbook Contest. The deadline for the competition is November 30, 2016...

06-02-2016

During Wells' 2016 Commencement ceremonies, the College granted special awards and honors to exceptional members of the Wells...

04-25-2016

Michelle Lee '16 has been chosen as the student speaker for Wells' 2016 Commencement ceremonies. Michelle is well-known on campus...

Program Faculty
Catherine Burroughs
Professor of English
Cynthia Garrett
Professor of English
Dan Rosenberg
Related Opportunities

Long essays and research papers in the proper format are far from encompassing the experience of English majors—but if you have the energy, we will teach and encourage you to write, write, and write! The small English department has endless advantages, given the opportunity to build your talents through personalized advice from our expert professors. The Visiting Writing Series brings in a variety of poets and writers to share their professional point of view. A student in this major has opportunities to read their work at campus held poetry slams, readings, thesis readings, and other special events. Publications such as The Sycamore and The Chronicle give firsthand experience writing, editing, laying out, and publishing an actual magazine or literary journal. Opportunities to get your name out there are undoubtedly lurking around the corner, whether it is presenting at the National Conference on Graduate Research (NCUR) or having your work published in local literary journals.

Academics

Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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