The English major at Franklin & Marshall College offers students a choice between two complementary tracks, one emphasizing literary study, the other creative writing. We require majors in either track to have some experience in both areas. Studying literature and practicing creative writing develop in us obvious skills—skills of reading, writing, analysis, creativity and critical thinking—but they also enable us to engage with the rich diversity of human experience.
English majors have rich research opportunities beyond the requirements of the major through independent study and Hackman summer research scholarships, which engage students with the scholarly activities of their professors. They also have opportunities for involvement in a range of extra-curricular activities: attending readings by and meeting numerous visiting writers, participating in events at the Writers House, helping to plan the Emerging Writers Festival, or writing for or staffing one of the College’s literary publications.
English majors are highly valued for their abilities to think and write. The study of English is not just good preparation for a career, however. It fosters an engagement with the big questions of living—questions about language, meaning, and value. It fosters self-reflection and greater awareness of the natural and social worlds in which we live. Moreover, studying English literature gives us a purchase on how narratives and metaphors work so that we can interpret and deploy them wisely and even re-make them for our own time, with its enormous challenges and demands.