The English Department offers a wide range of courses in literatures of the English-speaking world, from medieval romances to contemporary novels and film. Students develop their own paths through the major, experimenting with historical periods, genres, forms and methodologies that might be unfamiliar, while also developing expertise in areas of specific interest to them.
The department stresses critical analysis, incisive writing and speaking, and we encourage our students to take initiative and responsibility for the enterprise of interpretation. With their advisers, English majors design a personalized program of study that deepens their understanding of diverse genres, textual traditions, and periods. The major culminates, in the senior year, in an independently written essay of 30-40 pages, developed during a senior research seminar in the fall semester and individually mentored by a faculty member in the spring. Students are encouraged to take at least two English courses at Bryn Mawr or Haverford before signing up for the major or minor.