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Bachelor of Arts

English

Program of Study

UAlbany's English Department organizes its course offerings into eight areas of study. You may choose to take courses in one or more of these areas based on your academic interests, career goals, and/or personal interests.

For example, you can choose from a selection of literary genres and writing styles. Engage with texts from female writers in order to understand how gender dynamics contributed to their renowned works. Or build your skills at writing in a professional environment, transforming yourself from a skilled content creator to a marketable job candidate.

This program allows you the autonomy to decide what path you'll take and how this degree can best accommodate your passions and desired outcomes.

Core Courses

  • Introduction to Writing in English Studies
  • Introduction to English Studies (with a grade of C or higher)
  • Studies in Writing about Texts


Elective Courses

  • 200+ level: 3 credits at or above the 200 level
  • 200-level survey courses: 6 credits
  • 300+ level: 12 credits in English at or above the 300 level.
  • 400 level: 6 credits at the 400 level

See the Undergraduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Karen Williams at kwilliams2@albany.edu, or our Undergraduate Program Director, Wendy Roberts at wroberts2@albany.edu.

Content

Areas of Study
American Literature and Culture

This area of study focuses on American literary traditions, which begin with Native American stories and mythologies, and find their way through colonization and revolution, Civil War and legacies of segregation, up through twentieth and twenty-first century responses to the crisis of U.S. democracy. Students will engage with varied traditions—from the Puritan sermon, the gothic novel, and slave narratives to modernist poetry, Chicanx corridos, and social media—to understand how U.S. expressive practices have taken shape and how they continue to shape what “America” means. Matters of language, form, and genre are central to some of the most pressing issues facing us today: the construction of communities, the creation of identities, and the movement of people across borders of nation, race, and sex. The American Literature and Culture area of study prepares students for successful careers in law, education, politics, journalism, public relations, social services, and international relations.

British Literature and Culture

British literature and culture studies range from the 5th to the 21st century, engaging traditions, texts, and media from the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) and Anglophone regions of the world such as Jamaica, South Africa, India, and Australia.  Students in this area develop imaginative insight into works that run the gamut from the earliest textile arts of the book to contemporary film and theater.  They also hone their interpretive acuity regarding topics such as the identities debated in the landmark achievements during the Middle Ages and Renaissance; the response of writers to the scientific revolution during the Enlightenment; the cultural impact of the expanding colonial empire during the Romantic and Victorian eras; and the innovations of writers and filmmakers in the face of political, postcolonial, and technological upheavals up to the present.  This area of study prepares students for a broad range of careers in fields including electronic media and museum curation, public relations, publishing, law, and library science.

Environmental Humanities

Within English, the study of the Environmental Humanities engages questions relevant not only to the study of literature but also philosophy, history, anthropology, political science, economics, and the sciences in examination of the complex relationship of humans to the natural world. This area of study explores the changing nature of human engagement with the nonhuman through literary, historical, and cultural texts in order to understand the impact of such engagement. It addresses the underlying connections between human history and natural history, and the ethical dimensions of human accountability to the environment. The dangerous period of climate change that is now unfolding puts these questions at the center of both scientific and humanistic scholarship. Familiarity with major issues and debates in Environmental Humanities will be helpful for future careers in Law, Teaching, Consulting, Policy work with International Organizations, and Environmental Sciences, among others.

Film, Screen Media, and Visual Cultures

Film, Screen Media, and Visual Cultures focuses on the analytic and writing skills related to a broad range of traditional and new media including the visual arts, photography, film, television, video, graphic fiction, and digital media.  With a historical scope from the Middle Ages to contemporary culture, this track concentrates on topics such as disaster films, the French New Wave, visual rhetoric in digital media, graphic novels, film adaptation, and Renaissance painting and poetry. Students in this area learn to read and interpret the visuals that dominate our cultural landscape as well as consider what it means to deploy images in this media-saturated world. This broad, rigorous, and interdisciplinary approach offers excellent preparation for further study or for a career in the film industry, new media, arts criticism, advertising, media management and production, game development, market research, librarianship and curation, archiving and preservation, publishing, or teaching.

Postcolonial Literature and Culture

The study of Postcolonial Literature and Culture examines the interactions of cultures as they have been brought into contact with one another through the forces of globalization and empire. Though it often takes as its focus 19th and 20th century texts that are directly about questions of colonialism, it also sheds light on earlier periods, showing how many of the central ideas of modernity have been formed through cross-cultural interactions. Courses will look at hybrid or mixed identities, the tensions and productive intersections that occur between different cultures, and the way the migration of peoples has shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. The field has wide-ranging implications in the areas of translation studies, law, history, geopolitics and globalization to name but a few. 

Social Justice

The study of Social Justice concerns how texts and their producers, from both past historical moments and the present, have engaged in social and political efforts to transform the conditions of people’s lives. Courses in this area can encompass the study of literature, film, popular culture (such as television and journalism), activist writings (like pamphlets and manifestos), social media, political theory and other theories about social change, and more. Classes might explore issues tied to the representation of gender, sexuality, race, class, and intersectionality, as well as related political efforts such as abolition, suffrage, new social movements, anti-colonial and postcolonial efforts, or social media activism. Or courses in this area might investigate the cultural and textual legacies of revolutionary and radical politics (such as socialism, communism, and anarchism) or other political movements (such as peace, ecological, and antipoverty movements). Students interested in careers in the non-profit sector, in working with social movements, or in advancing the idea of social justice in any of their future endeavors will likely be interested in courses in this area.

Writing

Our department’s focus on writing offers students a wide range of courses, opportunities and approaches to the study of writing. Writing courses develop students as writers by emphasizing practice in multiple genres and media and as scholars and researchers by emphasizing the study of writing processes, forms of narrative and expressive literature, and theories of composition and rhetoric. This area of study also supports students’ exploration of the dynamics of working with writers as editors, tutors, and teachers. Courses in this area of study include AENG 302 Creative Writing, AENG 309 Professional Writing, AENG 350 Contemporary Writers, and AENG 306 Literary Publication: History and Practice.

Teacher Preparation

Our teaching preparatory focus provides students who have an interest in teaching secondary education a broad background in literature and writing. This focus draws on guidelines published by Pathways into Education in UAlbany’s School of Education to prepare students for graduate school in education and for teaching in a classroom by ensuring students study the various literatures and forms of writing they will teach to their own students. The focus includes World, American, and British literatures in addition to Shakespeare, writing, and an area the student chooses to bring into their own teaching as an area of specialization.

Content

Honors Program

The honors program in English is designed to promote intellectual exchange and community among able English majors and to prepare them to do independent work. Students who successfully complete the program earn an Honors Certificate in English and, if they meet University GPA requirements, are eligible for a nomination to graduate from the University with "Honors in English."

Combined BA/MA Programs

Two combined BA/MA programs are available: a BA/MA in English and a BA/MA in English and Liberal Studies, respectively. These programs provide an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of the undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of their junior year. This allows you to fast-track your MA and complete the program in one year.

Content

Concentration
English Writing Concentration

Program Description

The Writing Concentration within the English major enriches your experience through extended treatment of the process of writing and of the rhetorical and artistic aspects of writing. The concentration also supports exploration of the dynamics of working with writers as editors, tutors, and teachers. It brings together the subfields of creative writing and rhetoric and writing studies and allows you to explore writing in its multi-faceted dimensions as a rhetorical and a poetic activity, skill, practice, object of study, and art.

The English major’s required core courses and survey courses as well as the required 9 hours of electives are vital in supporting this sustained exploration of writing. The concentration allows English majors who select from an array of electives that emphasize the practice and theory of writing to indicate on their transcripts this emphasis on writing. The concentration will thus serve as a professional credential for graduates, as repeated and varied practice in writing and understanding of theories of writing are desired by employers and professional graduate programs.

 

Degree Requirements (36 credits)

6 of these 36 credits must be at the AENG400 level

  • 9 credits from required courses: A ENG 205Z, 210, 305V 
  • 3 credits from AENG 240z American Experiences 
  • 6 credits from the following literature surveys: A ENG 261, 291, 292, 295, or 297 
  • 6 credits from the following writing courses: AENG 300 Expository Writing, AENG 302 Creative Writing, AENG 309 Professional Writing, or AENG 402 Advanced Writing Workshop
  • 3 credits from the following courses on writing: AENG 306 Literary Publication: History and Practice, AENG 350 Contemporary Writers at Work, AENG 360 Tutoring & Writing, or AENG 450 Topics in Writing Studies
  • 9 credits from 300 to 400 level courses


Experiential Learning

Our major incorporates Experiential Learning using the English internship (ENG390), as well as practical classroom experiences in courses like ENG 306 Literary Publication: History and Practice, ENG350 Contemporary Writers at Work, and ENG 360 Tutoring and Writing.

 

Career Paths

English majors with writing concentrations go on to a wide range of careers. Our graduates pursue careers in editing, tutoring and teaching, writing, and many other careers that emphasize writing and communication skills, like marketing, public relations, human resources, non-profit work, and more. Many English majors continue their education in programs as diverse as a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA), rhetoric and composition, or education graduate programs. Our majors also go on to graduate and professional programs that include law, medical, publishing, or business, among others.

Content

Career Outcomes

Graduates have gone on to pursue a range of interesting and fulfilling career paths, making a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Some pursue further graduate study in English, sometimes taking advantage of our BA/MA program to jumpstart these studies. Others have gone to law or medical school, or pursued careers as teachers. Many pursue internships and then careers in publishing and editing, for which our proximity to New York City and Boston have proven advantageous.

Some common job titles for individuals who have graduated with a BA in English include: copywriter, editor, journalist, social media manager, social justice center director, television producer, K-12 teacher, and marketing coordinator.

 

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"Throughout my years of being an English major, and also being an English Honors student, I've learned how to think beyond what I see, I've learned to empathize with different groups of people, and most valuable of all I've learned how to cultivate and find my authentic voice."

-Simone R. Class of 2017

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Bachelor of Arts
  • Students will develop sophisticated, disciplinary interpretive, analytical, and critical practices by:
    • Applying modes of close reading and textual analysis
    • Understanding and applying theoretical models when interpreting texts and distinguishing between different critical approaches to textual interpretation
    • Understanding and responding to scholarship published in this discipline
    • Understanding and describing characteristic features of literary-historical periods
      
    • Students will gain a proficiency in written and oral expression in disciplinary forms, as demonstrated by:
      • The ability to identify a pertinent issue and support an analytic argument about it amidst conflicting viewpoints
      • The ability to effectively revise drafts in response to constructive criticism
      • The ability to apply disciplinary genre conventions including argumentative strategies, organizational structures, citation practices, and acceptable forms of evidence
      • The ability to apply discipline-specific research strategies, including the use of library resources (i.e., electronic indexes), and the ability to evaluate appropriate sources (discerning primary from secondary sources, scholarly from popular, etc.
      • The ability to respond to and offer further oral interpretations of texts supported by textual evidence during group or class discussions

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    Build competency in a passion or strengthen your resume.

    A minor consists of 18–24 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits of advanced coursework at or above the 300 level. Most undergraduate degrees require completing a minor and it has to have a different title from your major.

    Full List of Minors
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