Dr. Mary Ann Sunyoger, Chair

Dr. Benjamin Alexander

Dr. David Craig

Dr. Frank Hermann

Dr. John Holmes

Dr. Stephen Lewis

Dr. John Pilsner

Concentrations are available in British and American Literature, Writing, and Western and World Literature.


The Department of English educates the student as a whole person through the study of literature, literary criticism, and writing, as these arts develop the mind, form the heart, and reveal essential truths about human nature, society, and the world. Literary analysis, interpretation, and a refined approach to language and writing skills guide us into the depths of human experience and the grandeur of beauty. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI notes, “beauty does not remove us from reality” but “leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transforming it, [and] making it radiant and beautiful.” To that end, the curriculum of the English Department is designed to foster in the student a genuine love of letters and cultivate sensibilities suited to a more profound participation in what Benedict has called “the pilgrim fellowship of faith.”


The English Major is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of literature and writing as fundamental components of a liberal arts education. It also provides programs that prepare students for graduate study in their indicated fields and for careers in teaching and writing.

All English majors take a basic core of literature courses comprising one-half of their major program and providing the liberal arts framework for the subsequent courses in their concentration. Students may concentrate their studies in British and American Literature, in Writing, or in Western and World Literature. (By judicious selection of elective courses, a student may concentrate in two areas of concentration within the major.)

Students learn in both traditional classroom courses and in non-traditional learning experiences such as field studies, projects, and by participation in dramatic productions. The choice of program and learning modes permits students to pursue programs suited to their own particular needs and interests and prepares them for a number of career opportunities, while maintaining the liberal arts tradition as the foundation of their education.

Minors in the three areas of concentration—British and American Literature, Writing, and Western and World Literature—are also available to students. Minor requirements (18 credits) are listed after each program of study.

Assessment Learning Goals

Upon completion of the English major, the graduate is able to:

  1. Analyze and evaluate literary texts or their equivalents (e.g., film).
  2. Write convincing interpretive and/or evaluative arguments, about texts under consideration.
  3. Conduct and apply basic research and document findings in a standardized style format such as MLA.
  4. Explain through the study of literary works and literary language how cultural expressions engage with the graduate’s understanding of the Catholic faith.
  5. Write competently in a variety of genres and rhetorical modes, adapting style, tone, and voice to engage and challenge different audiences. (Writing Concentration Only)
  6. Demonstrate familiarity with the major literary historical periods within the English-language literary tradition. (Literature Concentrations only)

English Course Descriptions