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.


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

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Erik S Anderson

Associate Professor of English

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Patrick S Bernard

Associate Professor of English

Africana Studies; Comparative Literary Studies; International Studies

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Tamara A Goeglein

Professor of English

Comparative Literary Studies

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Shari P Goldberg

Associate Professor of English

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Kabi Hartman

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

Judaic Studies

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Niki Herd

Assistant Professor of English

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Emily R Huber

Associate Professor of English, Department Chair of English

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Peter Jaros

Associate Professor of English

Comparative Literary Studies

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Nicholas Montemarano

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

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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. 


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

The Emerging Writers Festival

Each spring, the English Department at Franklin & Marshall College hosts its annual Emerging Writers Festival, dedicated to championing the work of writers early in their careers. Since its inception in 2002, the Festival has been a collaborative effort between students and faculty, bringing people together across the campus community and beyond for readings, workshops, and the opportunity to mix, formally and informally, with some of the country’s most exciting new literary talents. An Emerging Writers Festival student organizing committee is formed each year, offering students hands-on experience in bringing a literary festival to life.

Learn more »

Alumni Spotlight

Randy Wilkins ’01 Directs and Produces “The Captain,” an ESPN Docuseries

In fall 2002, Randy Wilkins ’01 — then a senior English major at F&M — found himself sitting next to Spike Lee at dinner prior to the filmmaker’s Mueller lecture. But rather than talk cinema, America’s greatest pastime was on the agenda. More than 20 years later, Lee asked Wilkins to direct and produce “The Captain” – an ESPN docuseries focused on baseball hall-of-famer Derek Jeter. “It’s a love for baseball. It's a love for the sport. It's a respect for the sport,” said Wilkins, a former centerfielder for the Diplomats. Wilkins said the basis of how he approaches his film work is rooted in his F&M experiences. “In my work, I have to challenge myself and challenge the viewer. It’s all rooted in critical thinking at F&M. When you see my work, you see F&M.”

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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


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

July 9, 2024

Lily Finds a Rose

Lily Vining ’24 had no way of knowing a global pandemic would rock the world during her college search. But through it all, she found the perfect home in the Red Rose City.

May 30, 2024

English Grad Writes Next Chapter as Anatolia Fellow

With an F&M English degree in hand, Rohail Spear ’24 is ready to write his next chapter. It starts in Greece, where Spear will spend 10 months as an Anatolia Fellow.

March 29, 2024

Senior Spotlight: Ryan Mullahey

Phi Kappa Psi president Ryan Mullahey urges new students to take advantage of everything F&M has to offer, including the chance to learn from others.