Student Learning Outcomes

At the time of receiving a bachelor’s degree, English majors should be able to:


  • understand, analyze, and interpret literary texts, especially through close and critical reading
  • place literature in relation to its historical, cultural, intellectual, theoretical, aesthetic, social, and political contexts
  • locate, evaluate, and use relevant scholarship, literary criticism, and cultural commentary, both in print and online
  • formulate a focused, well-­organized, and stylistically appropriate argument that supports its claims with evidence and demonstrates an awareness of audience, purpose, and context
  • engage in public discourse through careful listening, respectful questioning, and thoughtful speaking in both formal and informal settings
  • collaborate with others to identify, define, and solve problems related to the production, publication, and interpretation of literature


  • recognize literature as a vehicle for both individual and cultural expression that can engage the imagination, elicit feeling, express value, and enable inquiry
  • identify the major historical periods of literature written in English, including British, American, and Anglophone authors, movements, and styles
  • identify the characteristics of different forms of literature, including the major genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama) and hybrid forms
  • demonstrate familiarity with representative theories of criticism and interpretation, both historical and contemporary
  • demonstrate familiarity with literary terms, themes, and techniques, both traditional and experimental
  • understand the relationship between language, authorship, publication, audience, and power
  • appreciate the importance of difference in producing, publishing,and interpreting literature, including racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, religious, economic, and ideological differences
  • appreciate the relationship of literature to other arts, such as dance, music, photography, film, theater, visual art, and performance