Program Overview

DEGREE TYPE
Bachelor of Arts
DEPARTMENT
English
Department Chair Name
Melinda Menzer
DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT
Karen Corn

What is an English degree?

An English degree in either track – literature and language, or writing – provides students with an overarching understanding of literary analysis, the structure and use of the English language, and writing across a wide variety of genres and audiences. Do you have a passion for creating stories, developing a deep understanding of texts, and using your own words to create both strong narrative and strong arguments? A degree in English builds critical analysis and problem-solving skills, develops reasoning and communication acumen, and builds capacity to think and write with empathy and inclusivity. Your options are limitless as you approach a working world that needs skillful writers and creative thinkers.

Why study English at Furman?

It’s rare to find a small, undergraduate university with the extensive range of English courses that Furman offers – nearly 70. English at Furman opens your mind to texts and films from around the world and in every time period, and gives you tools for analyzing and interpreting them. The Department of English canvasses everything from film noir and immersion journalism to writing poetry and the Victorian novel – all taught by highly trained and award-winning faculty who challenge you to think and write at a high intellectual level.

You will work closely with faculty at every juncture in your education, whether that is working on paper revisions, submitting a paper to a conference, preparing for graduate school or simply talking about a favorite text from your class. The major is also a flexible one perfect for double majoring with another discipline – the English department has double majors in almost every department in the university, including religion; biology; earth, environmental and sustainability sciences; and communication studies. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.

How will you learn?

You’ll journey through landscapes, cultures, historical periods and engaging critical issues with options to study away, conduct research, and create your own challenging projects in literature and writing while developing critical thinking and reasoning skills. You may encounter texts as varied as 14th-century English literature or slave narratives from the Americas. Or you might find yourself polishing professional writing skills, writing a screenplay or poem, critiquing a film or crafting journalistic headlines. Zooming with professional authors, field trips to significant literary locations, and presentations of class work add another dimension to your education.

Study Away

Every year, students embark on a semester abroad in the British Isles led by English department faculty. Build memories that last a lifetime, explore cultural and literary landmarks in the United Kingdom. Two-week residencies are available at Trinity College in Dublin and in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. You will learn with renowned scholars from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and attend performances at the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Central to the British Isles study away program is London. You’ll spend six or more weeks in England’s capital immersing yourself in the life of the city and studying English literature, history, politics and culture under the supervision of Furman faculty and visiting scholars from Birkbeck, University of London. You’ll attend plays at the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and other world-class venues, and visit sites like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore any number of historical and cultural sites on your own.

May Experience

Dive into a May Experience (MayX) with the Writing with Writers program. For three weeks in May, students study with an accomplished author in a different literary genre: poetry, prose fiction or creative nonfiction. Guest writers-in-residence teach a workshop (ENG 225), give a public reading and share their life experiences with students. Other MayX classes have included Why We Swim and True Crime Writing, as faculty explore niche topics with students over a few weeks.

Research Projects

Faculty members guide you from the first creative insight to a mature final piece of scholarship or creative writing. You may devise your own summer research project, and each student will research and write a publication-length paper or creative pieces in the senior seminar.

Students’ recent projects have looked at Victorian spiritualism, science, and psychic detection, compared Western and non-western subjectivities, and outlined the narrative structure of video games. Other students have examined psychoanalytic readings of Faulkner’s “Absalom, Absalom,” written and edited poems with the department’s poets, assisted Old English studies through bibliographic work, provided research and interviewing assistance for a book on gender representation in Shakespeare, and discovered troubadour-style musical rhythms in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”

Student researchers have presented at many conferences and conventions, including the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, the annual British Studies Student Symposium at Rhodes College, the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention, and the Southern Literary Festival. Students also showcase their work at Furman Engaged, a day-long exhibition of undergraduate research, performances and presentations.

Internships

Nearly 70% of students complete internships during their time at Furman, and we are committed to helping you find the right position to develop your skills and knowledge. Among other places, interns have worked for law firms, public relations firms and advertising agencies, libraries, news agencies, political leaders, publishing houses, and in telecommunications.

English courses: What will you study?

Sample courses include:

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  • 100%
    English courses taught by a faculty member who holds a Ph.D. or an M.F.A
  • 97%
    English students who participate in any engaged learning experience
  • 69%
    English students who study away
  • 41%
    English students who choose to double major
What our students say
“Being an English major at Furman gave me the critical thinking and communication skills I use every day – both in my job and outside of it. I am where I am today because of the incredible support of the department faculty – from office hours, to resume and cover letter reviews, to class discussions."
– Laura Krueger ’15, cartographic metadata librarian, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford University

Meet the faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s English faculty represent decades of academic and creative expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

Gretchen Braun

Associate Professor, English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

James Engelhardt

Lecturer, English

Melinda Menzer

Chair & Professor of English

Laura Morris

Associate Professor, English; Co-director, Furman Prison Education Partnership

Margaret Oakes

Professor of English; Chair of the Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor

Willard Pate

Professor of English

Jeanne Provost

Associate Professor of English

Nicholas Radel

Professor of English

Michele Speitz

Director, Furman Humanities Center; Associate Professor, English Literature

Joni Tevis

Bennette E. Geer Professor of English
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English Major F.A.Q.
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