English majors at W&L learn methodologies and vocabularies for literary study; contemplate forms and purposes of literary art in a variety of periods and cultures; and investigate intersections between English and many other disciplines.
The department fosters a culture of curiosity and intellectual endeavor, as well as respect for a variety of cultures and intellectual approaches, through advising, internships and service-learning, study abroad, and extracurricular programming. Students who pursue optional creative writing courses balance critical study with creative endeavor, learning the history and forms of literary art as apprentice practitioners.
This 11-course major makes it easy for students to study abroad, double major or complete a minor. The major is also compatible with pre-med or health professions preparation. English majors have access to frequent readings and lectures by visiting writers and scholars.
Study Abroad: English majors who plan ahead can take Spring Term, one of the long terms, or even the whole junior year abroad. Summer study can also be arranged. Study abroad usually takes the form of year-long or semester-long study at a foreign university in an English-speaking country. English majors have had good experiences at Advanced Studies in England in Bath; University College, Oxford; The Virginia Program at Oxford (summer); University College, London; York University; Melbourne; and other universities abroad.
Prizes and Awards: The department offers several scholarships, as well as awards for both creative and critical writing.
Shenandoah Magazine: Internship opportunities are available at W&L’s celebrated literary magazine, Shenandoah. Students gain hands-on experience in editing, project management, design and publicity.
Senior Honors Theses: Each English major has the option of writing a senior honors thesis that fulfills the Senior Capstone Writing Requirement for English majors.
Of the members of the Class of 2017, 100 percent were employed six months after graduation. Our majors, who frequently pair English with another major, go on to graduate school, prestigious fellowships, and careers in law, teaching, publishing, marketing and communications, finance, government and much more. Having a strong alumni network means our alumni frequently step in to provide personal guidance and connect current students with potential employers.