Member of the Division of Humanities
The study of English has diverse parts, including linguistics, creative writing, and rhetorical theory, and is itself part of European cultural history, general literary studies, and American studies. The study of the literary resources of the language cannot be isolated from the rest of the liberal arts. Students of English need to know how English can be used in other disciplines, and students in other disciplines can profit from study in the Department of English.
At Grinnell, the study of English is founded on critical reading and argumentative writing. To establish this foundation, the department offers several courses without prerequisite to accommodate a variety of needs and interests.
Advanced courses reveal the department's particular emphasis on the imaginative literature of England, the United States, and other countries with traditions of literature in English, an emphasis that necessarily invites students to develop a critical understanding of the contexts of those literatures. Advanced courses are categorized by type of literature (short story, novel, poem), by authors (Milton, Shakespeare, Chaucer), or by periods of literary history (medieval literature, Renaissance literature, modern literature). But the underlying purpose remains the same: to enhance the enjoyment of literature by developing ways of imaginatively understanding it.
The program for majors provides a general acquaintance with the traditions of English and American literature and encourages special interests in the various fields of English. Majors are required to study one foreign language and are advised to study the materials and methods of history, philosophy, and the arts. Nor should they neglect the physical and social sciences, whose methods provide valuable perspectives on literary study.
Major Requirements: a minimum of 36 credits
A minimum of 36 credits in English, including at least 24 credits in the Department of English at Grinnell.
Core Requirements: 20 credits
300 Level Requirements: 12 credits
- Three four-credit 300-level courses, excluding individual study, in the English department at Grinnell. At least two must be literature courses.
- One four-credit Humanities (HUM) or GLS course or a four-credit literature course taught in another language department at the 200-level or above.
- Knowledge of a non-native language at a level demonstrated by
- completion of second-semester college coursework in a non-native language, or
- examination showing equivalent competence.
To be considered for honors in English, graduating seniors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a major GPA of 3.75 by the end of their seventh semester. In special circumstances students may be nominated by two or more faculty members for honors based on other scholarly achievements or contributions to the department.
English Course Descriptions