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What is the English Major?

The English department teaches its majors about literature and literary history and helps them to develop the writing and critical thinking skills needed for literary interpretation. English majors, who might pursue a variety of options in terms of career and graduate study options, all develop skills in critical thinking, cogent analysis, and clear written expression.

With about 70 full-time faculty, 600 undergraduate majors, and 90 graduate students across the six campuses, the UConn English department is one of the largest and most vibrant departments at the university. The English major can be completed at the Avery Point campus or at any of UConn’s other campuses.

What can I do with this Major?


Laurie Wolfley

Laurie Wolfley

Nearly all of UConn’s English majors find jobs after they graduate. About a third of them go into careers in education. Another twenty-two percent wind up in business, filling positions such as sales or human resources in fields such as insurance, finance, or medicine. Journalism, publishing and clerical jobs also offer opportunities for English majors.

Nearly half of UConn’s English graduates join the public sector, working mostly in schools or as administrators in social services agencies. Graduate programs offer another opportunity, although only four percent of undergrads pursue graduate school.

Only one percent of UConn’s English majors find themselves unemployed or working in service jobs.

English at Avery Point

The Avery Point campus offers a wide range of English courses, with a particular strength in American and Maritime literatures. Meet some of our faculty members:

PAM-BEDOREPamela Bedore teaches courses in Popular Literature, American Literature, and Writing. Some popular courses offerings include American Detective Fiction, Stephen King, and The Vampire in Literature and Culture. She publishes on detective fiction, science fiction, pedagogy, and dime novels. Pam is also the writing coordinator for the Avery Point campus and is always happy to meet with students who are considering the English major or who would just like to talk about writing and reading.



MBercawEdwardsMary Kay Bercaw-Edwards is a distinguished Melville scholar who teaches courses in Maritime and American literature. Some of her courses include Sailor Talk, Whaleship Charles W. Morgan, and The Cannibal Other. She has published extensively on Herman Melville’s writing, and about cannibalism and life at sea. She also works at the nearby Mystic Seaport Museum, demonstrating for visitors the skills used by sailors aboard tall ships.





Stephen Jones is a veteran of everything, and he pours knowledge he’s gained over a long and varied career into all of his courses. A former lobsterman and lighthouse keeper, he teaches Maritime Literature and Maritime Nonfiction. His classes on Creative Writing and Nature Writing draw on his work as a journalist and an author, and his Shakespeare course defies belief. Some Avery Point students have taken to collecting “Jonesisms.”




Lynne Rogers teaches a variety of courses focusing on literatures from around the world. Her classes include American Literature, The Modern Novel, World Literature in English, Asian-American Literature, and Native American Literature. Her research focuses on modern Arab-American or Arab Anglophone literature, and she has travelled widely and taught in Palestine. Rogers enjoys a reputation at Avery Point for choosing excellent readings for all her courses.


The Course of Study

The English major is designed to offer a strong foundation in literary and rhetorical analysis while also leaving students free to choose the courses that will best prepare them for their future careers and/or graduate studies. The framework of the major includes: 


Deb Macintosh (with Stephen King)

ENGL 2600: Introduction to Literary Studies. This course introduces students to the key topics and debates within English Studies, providing a first taste of literary theory while introducing the major genres and periods. 

Literary History Courses. Students choose three Literary History courses, each of which surveys a particular literature British, American, World, etc. across time. These courses introduce major authors and themes so that students can choose the areas of further study that most interest them. 


Faye Ringel

Faye Ringel

Genre/Methods Courses. Students choose at least two courses that focus on a specific genre (Short Story, Novel, Poetry, Drama) or theme (Popular Culture, American Studies, Children’s Literature, etc.). 

Major Author Course. Students take at least one course that focuses on a major author in order to learn the methods involved in attending to a single writer rather than a movement or genre. And yes, many students choose Shakespeare. 

Elective Courses. Students take at least two electives, a requirement that can be fulfilled by additional courses from any of the other categories. This provides students the opportunity to begin specializing in their interests. 

Capstone Course. The capstone course is designed around a faculty member’s current research projects and provides students an opportunity to observe and participate in cutting-edge research. Recent offerings have included: The Vampire in Literature and Culture, Sailor Talk, and Science Fiction and Gender Theory.  

Related Courses. Students also choose a related area in which to take four additional courses. This could be a minor (in American Studies, Anthropology, Geography, History, or Political Science, for example) or a set of courses from different disciplines that interest the students.


Renee Winchester

Frequently Asked Questions