Learning Outcomes

The Department/Program Has Clearly-Stated Program Goals and Objectives

  • Statement of what the program intends to do.

The goal of the English Department is to instill in undergraduate majors a love of and understanding of literary traditions and texts through the intensive study of literature. Through this study, students should learn analytical reading and writing skills, and acquire the ability to think critically.

As a result of such study, students learn more than simple literacy skills. The study of literature also allows students to understand, evaluate, and problematize human actions, interactions, motivations, and conflicts, developing what the critical theorist Kenneth Burke calls "equipment for living."

The department intends that participation in the program leads to responsible citizenship, as well as productive careers that involve 21st-century skills of analysis, problem-solving, and reading and writing complex texts.

  • Statement or list of what the program intends students to learn based on participation in the program.

Students who finish the program in English should have achieved the following:

  1. Knowledge of Critical Methodology. Students will be able to understand and apply current literary theory to a variety of texts.

  2. The Ability to Use Research Tools That Are Discipline Specific. Students will be able to recognize and use basic library research tools and databases that are common to literary study.

  3. The Ability to Write Complex and Articulate Prose. Students will be able to create a sophisticated argument about a literary text, and support that argument clearly and effectively.

  4. The Ability both to Respond to and Analyze Literary Texts. Students will be able to state a mature and informed reaction to a text, but also interpret that text according to accepted practices in the discipline.

  5. Familiarity with Earlier Forms of the English Language. Students will be able to recognize and understand pre-modern texts.

  6. Recognition of the Importance of Engagement with the Scholarly or Artistic Community. Students will be able to understand arguments about a text that occur as part of the larger conversation in the discipline.

  7. Recognition of the Diverse Nature of Literary Artists and Texts. Students will be able to understand the idea of a literary canon - a body of works deemed "worthy of study" -- and the implications for its expansion. 

    Learning Outcomes for the M.F.A Program in Creative Writing

    The M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing is designed to graduate M.F.A. students in fiction-writing and poetry who will:

    • have the necessary experience to become publishing writers
    • have the experience to become university instructors of creative and expository writing
    • have a comprehensive foundation in intensive literary study, literary analysis, literary theory, and  critical writing
    • be versatile critical thinkers and perceptive, able communicators, prepared for the post-graduate job market, in positions such as freelance writers, editors, grant writers, teachers, technical writers, proofreaders, copyeditors, publicists, media and marketing associates, freelance reporters, and administrators in arts organizations