2014–15 Undergraduate Catalog
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English Major: Creative Writing Concentration
English Major: Literature Concentration
English Creative Writing Minor
English Literature Minor
English Professional Writing Minor


Marston Hall

English Department Faculty


Understanding the central role of imagination in living lives of compassion and service in a diverse, interconnected world guides the mission of the SPU English Department.

As English majors, students encounter some of life's fundamental questions about the human condition. They think about the truth-telling possibilities of story, as well as cultivating an understanding of "the word" as God's uniquely human gift. Students think, read, and write extensively in an English academic program marked by a strong degree of community both inside and outside the classroom. And because the study of English also rests on the rigorous tools of critical thinking and textual interpretation, it is excellent preparation for life beyond the university, as well.

Specifically, the wide array of literature courses offered in this program shows how language enables us to investigate and shape our understanding of individuals, human culture, and creation. A student in English may read everything from Beowulf to Shakespeare to contemporary African literature, studying both the traditional "great works" of the Western cannon as well as emerging voices worldwide — in genres ranging from poetry to novels to film.

Writing is also central to the work of our discipline. The Creative Writing Concentration of an SPU English major offers training in the craft of three major genres, in addition to deep study in literature and the poetics of the writer's chosen form.

Careers After College

After college, SPU English majors are sought after by a wide variety of employers and professional degree programs for their expertise in human relationships, communication, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of important information. Our graduates have entered professions such as the law, medicine, the arts, teaching, ministry — and every type of business.

Our goal is that by the time of graduation, every SPU English major will gain knowledge of British, American, and world literature. They will be skilled in textual interpretation, research, and writing of all kinds. They will understand the relationship between faith and the literary arts, and will understand the power and purpose of imagination in using God's gift of the word.

Admission to the Major
Formal admission to the English major is usually accomplished early in the sophomore year — or, in the case of transfer students, in the second quarter of residence. To qualify for admission to the major, a student should successfully complete at least 10 credits of work in English with a 2.5 GPA or better. At least five of those credits must come from one of the following list of core major courses: ENG 2225, 2251, 2252, 2253.

The Major or Minor Application form (PDF) must be approved by each student's faculty advisor, as well as by the department chair. Students must complete the major requirements in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year of admittance to the major.

Requirements for the English Major

Students in both the Literature and Creative Writing Concentrations must complete a shared core of courses that ground their understanding of literary history and the interpretive tools of our discipline. Each concentration also has a second core requirement emphasizing craft and methodology. Upper-division coursework in each concentration then moves on to advanced competency in the field, leading ultimately to the English undergraduate degree.

If a student has chosen both the Literature and Creative Writing concentrations, the core English major courses may count toward both concentrations but no more than 10 other English credits can be counted twice.

Admission to the Minor

There are three minor programs available in English: Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing. Students must complete the minor requirements in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year of admittance to the minor.

All applicants for English minors must have an average GPA of 2.5 or higher in at least two English courses at the 2000 level or above. In addition, Creative and Professional Writing minors must have their list of elective courses approved by their faculty advisor before being admitted to the minor.

Non-English majors who seek a minor in Creative Writing must also include at least 10 credits of literature in their electives. Finally, English majors may count no more than 10 credits of work in a minor toward their major degree credits.

Integrated Studies Major With a Concentration in Language Arts (For students seeking K-8 certification)

Students who plan to obtain Residency Teacher Certificate with an endorsement in Elementary Education and are interested in English or language arts must major in the Integrated Studies major with a concentration in language arts.


Study Abroad Opportunities

British Isles Seminar. This SPU Global Seminar is a biennial study abroad program offering students an opportunity to take one or two regular English writing and literature courses from an SPU professor while travelling in Britain during the month of September (the "pre-fall" term). For details about upcoming British Isles Seminars, visit Study Abroad.

Summer Program in South Africa. A biennial summer study tour, the Summer Program in South Africa offers students an opportunity to take regular English courses from an SPU professor while traveling in South Africa for a month. For details on upcoming tours, visit Study Abroad.

The Celtic Lands. This SPU Global Seminar is a biennial study abroad program offering students the opportunity to study literature, culture, and theology in Ireland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland during the month of September (the "pre-fall" term). Co-sponsored by the SPU English department and School of Theology.For details about upcoming Celtic Lands Seminars, visit Study Abroad.

Rome: Art and Incarnation. A biennial and interdisciplinary summer study tour, the Rome: Art and Incarnation program offers students an opportunity to study creative writing, aesthetics, art, art history, and theology while staying in Rome, Italy, for a month. Co-sponsored by the SPU English and Art departments. For details on upcoming tours, visit Study Abroad.

Spain and Morocco Seminar. This SPU Global Seminar is a biennial study abroad program offering students the opportunity to study literature and culture during the month of September (the "pre-fall" term) while making the transnational journey from Granada in Moorish Spain to Fes in Morocco. For details about upcoming Spain and Morocco Seminars, visit Study Abroad.


Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion is an award-winning and nationally recognized literary journal with editorial offices headquartered in the SPU Department of English. English majors may apply to work as interns on the editorial staff of the journal.

Lingua is SPU's student literary magazine. Under the direction of a faculty advisor, students design, edit, and publish the magazine.   

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