About English

Our Program and Courses

Our classes develop the skills vital to modern careers: deep, thoughtful engagement with complexity; persuasive speaking and writing; and not least, the ability to express oneself with power and grace. English classes will also introduce you to the playfulness and rigorous delights of reading and writing, with texts and visiting authors who speak to such issues of identity as race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and disability, as well as humanity’s relation to the rest of life on Earth.

You can major or minor in English at F&M. A major in English follows one of two complementary tracks: creative writing or literature. No matter which track you select, you will gain some experience in both areas. 

Creative Writing

Enter a gateway to a lifelong love and appreciation of reading and writing. F&M’s English creative writing track is built upon the premise that reading widely and deeply in literature — including contemporary literature — is essential to becoming a skilled creative writer. The best writers are also avid, engaged readers. Blending your passion for language and imaginative writing with the study of literature, you will explore poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and practice the craft yourself in workshop settings where writing is valued as a serious artform. The creative writing track culminates in an advanced workshop in which you will complete a creative thesis in the genre of your choice.

Literature

The study of literature 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 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. You’ll study the traditional periods of British and American literature as well as Native American literature, Caribbean literature, African literature, science fiction, contemporary young adult literature, graphic novels, and more. You will also take at least one course in creative writing to appreciate the craft imaginative literature entails and perhaps to spark your own interest in creative writing.

By the time you graduate with your F&M English degree, you will be able to demonstrate these skills: 

  • Reading actively and mindfully, including the ability to read figuratively, analytically, and interpretively.
  • Writing, including the ability to write clearly, fluently, and persuasively; incorporate evidence gracefully; use discipline-specific language; use appropriate tone; and write with rhetorical deftness.
  • Argumentation, including the ability to gather and deploy evidence, whether textual or contextual, in literary analysis and develop competencies and skills to structure and organize information from literary and secondary sources.

Curious what English courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Genevieve Abravanel

Associate Professor of English

Contact »

Erik S Anderson

Associate Professor of English

Contact »

Patrick S Bernard

Associate Professor of English

Africana Studies; Comparative Literary Studies; International Studies

Contact »

Tamara A Goeglein

Professor of English

Comparative Literary Studies

Contact »

Shari P Goldberg

Associate Professor of English

Contact »

Kimmy Grey

Visiting Assistant Professor

Contact »

Kabi Hartman

Director of the Program in Support of Academic Excellence and Senior Teaching Professor of English

Judaic Studies

Contact »

Emily R Huber

Associate Professor of English

Contact »

Marie-Christine Hyland

Adjunct Assistant Professor, English

Contact »

Peter Jaros

Associate Professor of English, Department Chair of English

Comparative Literary Studies

Contact »

Nicholas Montemarano

Alumni Professor of Creative Writing and Belles Lettres, Professor of English

Contact »

Debra Saporetti

Academic Department Coordinator

Contact »

Learning Outside the Classroom

Curious to see how you can explore your passion for writing and literature beyond the classroom? You’ll find creativity exists in pockets all over F&M.

The Philadelphia Alumni Writers House

Unique among selective liberal arts colleges, F&M’s Writers House is an actual house — complete with comfy couches, a kitchen, and a picturesque fireplace — with a mission to give the writing and reading community exciting opportunities to fully immerse themselves in wordcraft and literature.

Explore the Writers House at F&M

The Emerging Writers Festival

Every year, F&M’s English department partners with the Writers House to host the Emerging Writers Festival. A hallmark literary tradition on campus, the Emerging Writers Festival is a three-day event that invites the country’s most exciting emerging authors to F&M to host readings, craft talks, and writing workshops. The festival is a collaborative effort between students and faculty, offering students hands-on experience in bringing a literary festival to life.

Learn more about F&M’s Emerging Writers Festival

F&M Literary Publications

If you're eager to find an audience for your writing beyond the classroom or gain editing and production experience, you can write for or staff one of F&M's many literary publications:

  • The College Reporter, F&M’s student newspaper
  • Epilogue, a literary magazine celebrating the creative works of F&M students, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art.
  • boy-band, a quarterly magazine with two sections: a lifestyle section focusing on conscious living, fashion, and entertainment, and a literary section featuring F&M authors and poets. 
  • FEM&M, a fresh, feminist-focused literary and visual arts magazine

Research and Independent Study

Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. In the recent past, English majors have pursued advanced independent projects in fields such as creative writing and Renaissance literature, participated in faculty research in the study of illness in slave narratives, and served as research assistants on faculty book projects.
Explore research at F&M

Internships for Credit

What better way to put your earned skills to the test than with an internship? By completing an internship for credit, you can add valuable experience to your resume while earning a credit toward your degree. Learn more about internships at F&M.
Explore internships at F&M

Off-Campus Study

At F&M, you’ll find exciting opportunities to extend your academic experience beyond borders. Current and previous English majors have studied abroad in England, Scotland, and Australia. English majors also have the opportunity to apply for the Alice and Ray Drum British Isle Summer Travel Award, an award that supports summer research in the British Isles.
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Success Beyond F&M

English majors are highly valued for their abilities to think and write. English majors who graduate from F&M are particularly adept at collaboration and self-reflection, reading and analysis, critical and creative thought, and a greater perspective and understanding of the world. These useful and productive skills make you an attractive candidate for any post-graduate pursuit. 

Graduate School

With a breadth of study that is uncommon at other liberal arts colleges, our graduates are immediately prepared to pursue advanced degrees upon graduating from F&M. Past F&M English majors have entered graduate programs studying English, creative writing, publishing, children’s literature, advertising, marketing, law, and more. 

Fellowships

It’s not uncommon for English majors to pursue fellowships, which offer often-funded experiential learning opportunities such as advanced study, research, internships, service, travel, and more. Our graduates have pursued teaching and public service fellowships with organizations such as Teach for America and Americorps. They also go on to complete fellowships overseas with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, for which F&M is recognized as a top-producing institution
Explore fellowships at F&M

Career Paths

Our English graduates embark on a vast array of careers, including in education, publishing, advertising, marketing, public relations, media and entertainment, and more. They hold positions such as: 

  • Copywriter
  • Digital Content Specialist
  • Editor
  • Editorial Assistant
  • English Teacher
  • Grant Writer
  • Lawyer
  • Literary Agent
  • Marketing Manager
  • Professor
  • Project Manager
  • Public Relations Coordinator
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Reporter
  • Science Writer
  • Talent Agent
  • Therapist
  • Writer

Course Spotlight

A Collaboration with Lancaster Public Library

Have you ever wanted to curate a library exhibit? F&M students did just that as part of Associate Professor of English Shari Goldberg's English 226 class. Students spent a semester studying and analyzing texts, learning theoretical terms to open up genres such as tragedies, poetry, and novels, and using their new knowledge to write about the tragedies, poetry, and novels they love. The class then collaborated with Lancaster Public Library to curate a display of the texts they studied. To accompany the display, students designed bookmarks to share their insights of their recommended reads.

Alumni Spotlight

“I have so many professors that have inspired me and given me the tools I needed to become the best student that I could.”

Sana Rafi '06 is a children's book author and college admissions counselor based in California. The Pakistani American's works include "A Mermaid Girl" (2022) and "Little Seeds of Promise" (2021), both of which draw from her personal experiences as a child growing up in a Muslim household. At F&M, Rafi majored in creative writing and French. “I have so many professors that have inspired me and given me the tools I needed to become the best student that I could," Rafi said.
Read More »

Related Fields of Study

Classics

Immerse yourself in a rich artistic and intellectual tradition. By studying Classics at F&M, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the ancient Mediterranean while building an appreciation of its lasting legacies, empowering you to become a productive and thoughtful citizen in today’s rapidly changing world.

Comparative Literary Studies

Investigate the development of literature in an international and historical context. When you immerse yourself in comparative literary studies at F&M, you’ll explore foundational works of literature from a variety of historical periods and national traditions to better understand the ways in which literary processes unfold in various environments.

Linguistics

Language is what sets humans apart from other species, but how well do we understand it? By studying linguistics at F&M, you will learn about the roots of language, and why it’s so important in understanding humankind.

English in the Spotlight

February 22, 2024

Bank Prize Winner on Nature's Poetic Details

Author Amber Sparks selected Emma Campbell as the winner of this year's Jerome Irving Bank Memorial Short Story Prize and Ella Peeples as the runner-up.

December 12, 2023

The Best Winter Break Books

What do F&M faculty members and staff read to unwind? As students close out the semester, we’ve rounded up recommendations for the top winter break reads.

November 16, 2023

Young Alum Shines Light on LGTBQ Global Rights

Erin Hallenbeck’s Franklin & Marshall degree has taken her as far as the U.K. and the Netherlands. But today, the 2017 grad is making a global impact right from campus.