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English Overview

When you major in English at Chatham, you will be immersed in the literary imagination through studying British, American, and world literature. You will also develop skills in writing and in literary analysis, as you learn about literary genres, historical periods, and theories. On campus, you will have the opportunity to write for the student newspaper, assist with the literary magazine, and join the English honor society. Additionally, you will be encouraged to take advantage of internship opportunities in order to acquire firsthand work experience directly related to your studies or career plans. 
Degrees Offered
  • BA
Program School

The English major at Chatham is a challenge to better understand and interpret the worlds we encounter in texts and in life. From Twain’s Mississippi River, Shakespeare’s Globe, and August Wilson’s Hill District, the English major widens the imagination while also offering the tools and vocabulary to critically engage with the texts that helped to shape our current realities.

—JENNY SCHOLLAERT ’15, current Ph.D. candidate, University of Maryland

Explore the English Degree:

Strong critical thinkers who are trained to articulate difficult concepts in clear language, English majors are prepared for careers requiring intellectual sophistication and clear expression, as well as graduate study in professional or academic areas ranging from literature or law to creative writing or teaching.

  • All students complete a capstone seminar that channels the knowledge they’ve accumulated into a discipline-specific project under close faculty guidance.
  • You will be encouraged to present your academic and creative work at professional conferences through Sigma Tau Delta (the International English Honor Society) and other organizations, helping you develop your professional identity as you prepare to move on to employment or graduate work.
  • Small, intimate classes allow you to work directly with passionate, diversely talented faculty and fellow students.

African-American Writers

This course provides an introduction to the African-American expressive tradition, including poetry, fiction, autobiography, song, and folktales from the 18th century to the present. Examining writers such as Douglass, Chesnutt, Brooks, Baldwin, Ellison, and Walker, this course works to delineate the critical and historical contours of the African-American literary tradition.

Food and American Identity

This course examines literature in multiple genres (e.g. fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, graphic novel, film/television, and long-form journalism) through the theoretical lens of food studies to understand how writers use food as a cultural object to point to issues of identity including race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and systems of belief.

Bleak Houses: Shifting Landscapes of the English Novel

This course will cover the modern European novel through the thematic rubric of “love and lies.” This affords the opportunity to consider fiction not only as a medium of the novel but also as a discourse of self-expression, self-creation, and in the cases of some our lying protagonists, self-destruction. Students will focus on characters’ constructions of “truth” and “lies” as these concepts are informed by characters’ emotional positions. At its most ambitious, this focus on the dynamic of intersubjectivity not only provides important insights into the literature we will read but also enhances students’ understanding of the interpersonal connections that drive worldviews and narratives.

View Full Curriculum

Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

Full Faculty
Photo of Alexandra Reznik
Assistant Professor of Humanities, Women’s and Gender Studies Program Coordinator
Photo of two students chatting at a cubicle in Jennie Mellon King library, between the stacks of library books.

Sigma Tau Delta

Chatham’s award-winning chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, welcomes new members who qualify and supports all students interested in effective, transformative reading, writing, and public service.

Photo of four students in matching yellow Chatham University shirts, posing together in Rea Coffeehouse

Creative Writing Club

Chatham’s Creative Writing Club sponsors readings and events, such as the open-mic night at Rea Coffeehouse each term. The club welcomes first-year students.

Photo of a Chatham University student in graduation robes and cap, standing at a podium mid-speech

Student Profile: Jenny Schollaert '15

“It’s a shock of a community." That’s how Jenny Schollaert ’15, describes Chatham University. “A good shock,” she quickly clarifies. “Because we’re so welcoming and everyone wants you to succeed. And I think it’s that shocking to some people, and they’re like are you really this excited about seeing me succeed? But yes, they are!”