Overview of Programs

Above: Peter Balakian and students continue a discussion after a class on American poetry. 

Below Right: Students in Lynn Staley's seminar on Medieval Drama perform a play from the York Cycle.

The English Department at Colgate offers courses in literature, creative writing and theater.  Students can pursue major or minor concentrations in all of these areas, and English courses are popular electives for students concentrating in other fields. 

The Department's curriculum engages students with the range of literature and literary forms and introduces them to a variety of critical methods for responding to literature.  Literary studies will develop students' own skills in writing and analysis and acquaint them with the social and historical contexts in which writing, in any of its forms, is produced. 

Courses in the Department focus on works from the medieval period through the twentieth century, from dramatic literature to forms of fiction and poetry, from works written in Britain to writings in English produced in Africa, the West Indies, and America.  A substantial number of courses in the Department are also cross-listed in interdisciplinary programs, including African American, Asian American, Native American, and Women's Studies.

English study at Colgate makes available to students unusually rich opportunities to pursue programs that involve creative work along with rigorous training in verbal analysis and interpretation.  Students concentrating in the English Department also frequently combine that concentration with the study of other languages, with history and political science, with art and music or with the health sciences.  Graduates with a degree in English regularly pursue advanced study in a variety of fields, including law, social policy, business, and literature itself in preparation for teaching at various levels.  They also compete successfully for traveling fellowships and opportunities for teaching abroad.

Students with an interest in Creative Writing may minor in that field or pursue a special English concentration with an emphasis in Creative Writing.  Creative writers in the Department consequently offer a wide range of workshops, from introductions to advanced seminars, and in such diverse genres as fiction, non-fictional prose, plays, and poetry.  The Theater concentration at Colgate combines technical courses in theatrical skills with courses in dramatic literature.  Students may pursue either a concentration or a minor in Theater.

Students may also pursue independent work in all of these areas.  A student who completes course work with distinction is eligible for senior-level independent work that may be awarded honors or high honors.