English and Professional Writing B.L.S.

Peter Norberg, Ph.D., Chair
Aisha Lockridge, Ph.D., Program Director, English and Professional Writing

Program Overview

The Department of English seeks to enlarge and refine the imaginative intelligence of its students—to enrich their intellectual lives as well as to help them develop their professional ones. The disciplined study of both literature and professional writing and speaking provides the means to those ends. Although the variety of the curriculum makes possible a student-determined emphasis on one or the other of these concentrations, the program requires competence in both. The English major offers both a humane and a liberalizing experience, while at the same time making available to its students the opportunity to acquire and practice the skills in professional writing and speaking that will enhance their careers.

For students who select the study of literature as their major concentration, the Department seeks to give an introduction to the most formative traditions—generic, historical, and critical—of British and American letters. Critical and analytical skills are developed by courses and seminars which offer an in-depth examination of a single author or specific topic. Because of their innate value in fostering intellectual maturity and as a preparation for more advanced study, the fundamentals of research will be systematically made available.

For those who emphasize the Professional Writing and Speaking concentration, the program stresses the study of the theories and techniques of rhetoric as they are applied in particular professional fields including business communications, advertising, public relations, and journalism. Many of the courses in this program are offered in an accelerated format, i.e., in modules of eight weeks. Frequent practice in these techniques encourages students to communicate coherently, imaginatively, and with impact.

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Acquire knowledge of significant texts in the British, Irish, American, and Anglophone literary traditions.

Objective 1.1: Students will demonstrate a familiarity with British, Irish, American, and Anglophone key texts and an understanding of the historical continuities among literary conventions and imaginative traditions.

Goal 2: Develop rhetorical skills.

Objective 2.1: Students will recognize and use various rhetorical modes, including (but not limited to) narrative, exposition, analysis, and argument.

Goal 3: Develop creative abilities.

Objective 3.1: Students will exercise their imaginations in crafting their own creative works and performances, particularly through creative writing workshops and theatre courses.

Goal 4: Acquire knowledge of significant schools of literary theory.

Objective 4.1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of literary theory and draw upon these models for their own literary analyses.

Objective 4.2: Students will formulate their own theories about what literature is and does.

Goal 5: Acquire knowledge of research fundamentals in English.

Objective 5.1: Students will locate, assess, and incorporate secondary sources (including electronic ones) into their own arguments.

Goal 6: Develop revision strategies and editing skills.

Objective 6.1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of revision.

Objective 6.2: Students will practice editing skills through examining their own writing and the writing of their peers.

Students admitted prior to Summer 2016 entered under the curriculum requirements for the BA in English.  Please see the SJU Academic Catalog for your admit year for additional information.

General Education Program Courses

(See Curricula)

GEP Integrative Learning Component

Two courses

Any two courses offered through the College of Arts & Sciences (not English Courses). Students are encouraged to discuss these choices with their faculty advisor in the English Department.

Major Concentration

Major Concentration Courses:

  • One course in British Literature before 1832 or American Literature before 1860
  • One course in British/Irish/World Literature course
  • One course in American Literature course
  • One Writing course (creative, journalism, rhetoric, pedagogy)
  • Six major Electives. Students may choose to pursue a track in Literature or a track in Professional Writing and Speaking.