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.
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.
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
Visiting Assistant ProfessorContact »
Director of the Program in Support of Academic Excellence and Senior Teaching Professor of EnglishContact »
Associate Professor of English, Department Chair of English
Comparative Literary StudiesContact »
Alumni Professor of Creative Writing and Belles Lettres, Professor of EnglishContact »
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 HouseUnique 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
- Digital Content Specialist
- Editorial Assistant
- English Teacher
- Grant Writer
- Literary Agent
- Marketing Manager
- Project Manager
- Public Relations Coordinator
- Publishing Assistant
- Science Writer
- Talent Agent
“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.
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“I had to find a pacing, rhythm, and transitions that allowed the story to flourish and remain comprehensible despite being artful.”As an English literature and studio art double major, Sojin Shin '22 has a twofold love of words and images. It's only fitting that she chose to explore how her skills in art and writing complement each other in storytelling by creating a graphic novel. “I had to find a pacing, rhythm, and transitions that allowed the story to flourish and remain comprehensible despite being artful.”
Read More »
Related Fields of Study
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.
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
September 7, 2023
Microgrants Fund Student Passion Projects
Writers House microgrants enabled six F&M students to explore passion projects aligned with their fields of study this summer.
August 4, 2023
Young Alum Startup Merges Art and Economics
Mark Marotta '21 launched Amparo in his senior year at F&M, a web platform for emerging and established fine artists to display original paintings in a virtual stage setting.
March 31, 2023
Rolling Stone Reporter: 'F&M Was The Right Place for Me'
One clear strength of Franklin & Marshall College throughout its 235-year history is its outstanding alumni. Today, its living graduates number more than 29,000 and stretch around the world. They...A candid conversation with F&M grad Asawin Suebsaeng '11, senior politics reporter for Rolling Stone.