From Freshman Writing to advanced graduate work, the Department of English
offers students the tools they need to understand and interact with the world
around them: reading, writing, and interpretation. A variety of courses in
writing, language, and rhetoric develop effective, critical communication and
thinking skills. Courses on literary genres, periods, theories, and themes,
and on literary criticism, provide opportunities to engage with and in literary
traditions and practices and an understanding of the role and value of literature
in our own world.
The department offers Freshman composition and Sophomore literature courses
that are useful to all students and also provide the groundwork of the English
major. EH 101 and 102 are required of most students at USA and seek to improve
students' abilities to write effectively in college as well as enhance their
thinking skills and reading abilities. Sophomore courses include two-course
surveys of English, American, and World literatures, as well as courses on
literary themes and genres designed to introduce the broad scope of literature
in English and to develop competence in critical reading. Upper-division offerings
in literature include courses organized around major literary periods, important
authors, and significant ideas and theoretical perspectives, as well as a number
of variable topic courses designed to suit students' needs and interests. Advanced
writing and rhetoric courses offer students perspectives on the theories and
practices of language, writing, and persuasion as they develop specific academic
and professional interests in print and computer-mediated communication. Creative
writing courses provide students the opportunity to exercise their own literary
skills while offering professional training and guidance.
An English major opens an increasing number of career doors as writing and
reading skills become more important in our information-based economy. Many
of the department's graduates go on to teach in the public or private schools,
while others pursue advanced degrees that lead to college teaching careers.
Still others work in journalism (including the burgeoning field of online journalism),
publishing, or technical writing. A background in English is attractive to
law schools as well as medical schools and employers in the sciences.
Besides its course offerings, the department sponsors and performs a number
of services for the Mobile area. Faculty sponsorship of the University's Film
Club helps provide screenings and discussions open to all members of the community,
and the Creative Writing program's annual Fairhope Conference offers readings
and lectures by writers and scholars from around the country. The department
also welcomes the community at poetry and fiction readings and presentations
by guest speakers.