About this Degree
The English Department at the University of Georgia is a diverse scholarly community of more than 40 faculty, 100 graduate students, and more than 600 undergraduate majors and minors held together by a common commitment to preserving, transmitting, and extending the rich cultural legacy of the English language.
At the core of our discipline lie the complex skills of reading and writing, and though these can be productively applied to a wide range of professional goals our own work as scholars and teachers strives to deepen our understanding of the critical and creative imagination. A sympathetic participation in the verbal worlds of other times and places, drawing on the full range of linguistic tools, historical knowledge, and interpretive experience at our disposal, allows our students to enhance their appreciation for expressive possibility.
What you will learn
In any given semester, you will find courses that explore the sweep of American and British literature, as well as more specialized offerings in linguistics, film, and creative writing. The majority of our courses are taught in a discussion format with great attention paid to the nuances of language and style. In 2007 the faculty of the English department voted to recommend that our literature and writing courses should include at least twenty pages of writing, ideally a mixture of high- and low-stakes assignments. Such assignments might include timed examinations, blog or journal postings, one-page response papers, five- to seven-page argumentative essays, annotated bibliographies, research-intensive papers, web-sites, short stories, poems and other forms of writing.
If you want to conentrate your major work we have eleven different Areas of Emphasis that you may elect to pursue:
Medieval Literature focuses on early literatures and languages from the British Isles, including work in Old English and Middle Welsh. Contact: Dr. William Kretzschmar.
Studies in the Novel examines what makes "the novel" unique within English Studies, studying examples of the novel from the inception of the genre through contemporary explorations of what the medium can do. Contact: Dr. Richard Menke
Creative Writing intensely focuses on Creative Writing classes and also includes discussion of classic and contemporary examples of creative literature. Contact: Ms. Jordana Rich.
Humanities Computing examines how English Studies work in new media and the digital age. Contact: Position Vacant.
Multicultural American Literature combines work in a variety of disciplines and examines the literary and artistic productions of peoples historically under-represented in English curricula. Contact: Dr. Barbara McCaskill.
Rhetoric and Composition looks at what writing is and means. In this concentration you will examine how the way a thing is stated or formed affects/reflects meaning within the composition itself and the cultural circumstances that produced it as well. Contact: Dr. Michelle Ballif.
English Language Studies is a sister-concentration to Linguistics. In this track, you will examine how English as a language functions and the interplay between language and literature. Contact: Dr. William Kretzschmar.
Advanced Studies in English has been dubbed the "Grad School Track" by our majors. This concentration will prepare you for continuing your Studies at the Graduate and Professional levels, whether in Law, Business, Medical school or other programs. The track helps specifically with preparation for the GRE subject test in English, emphasizing literary theory, advanced writing, and historical coverage. Contact: Dr. Sujata Iyengar .
Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies will bring out your latent English nerd. If you love all things Renaissance -- history or the languages or even the fashions -- this cross-departmental concentration provides the ultimate foundation in Renaissance (or Early Modern) Studies. Contact: Dr. Sujata Iyengar .
American Literature extensively studies American literature from its colonial origins to the present, including writers of all races, religions, and nationalities. Contact: Dr. James Nagel
Poetics studies poetry in theory and in practice from its ancient roots to the present day. Dr. Susan Rosenbaum
Scholarship and Award Information
Virginia Walter Scholarship
This scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding English major. Candidates, who are nominated by faculty, must have a GPA of 3.6 and have completed at least six upper-division English courses. The winner must be enrolled at the time of winning the award.
Joshua David Brown Scolarship
This scholarship is awarded to the outstanding rising junior in the English Department. Candidates, who are nominated by faculty, must have a GPA of 3.6.
The English Department awards two Undergraduate Essay Prizes for critical writing at the upper-division level: one for an essay focused on primary materials and one for an essay that makes extensive use of secondary sources.
Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize
Every year, undergraduate students are invited to enter the annual Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize. Students may submit up to three poems for consideration.
Additional information about these scholarships and awards can be found here.
Other Academic Information
The Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia directs and supports the emergence of the artistic voice in print by offering a Ph.D. in English with a creative dissertation. Students are encouraged to develop a course of research that complements their writing practice and prepares them professionally for a teaching career at the university or college level. The program fosters serious conversations among our students about aesthetics and criticism, experience and culture, and politics and history—not only in the classroom but through public readings and lectures. Our faculty and students play an active role in the cultural life of Athens, both as artists and organizers.
Additional information about this program can be found here.
Possible Job Titles
Assistant Events and Outreach
Corporate Communications Specialist
Customer Service Representative
Digital Media Consultant
Educational Sales Representative
Emergency Medical Technician
General Books Coordinator
Library Technical Assistant
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