There are three major areas of study to consider when pursuing an English degree.
Areas of Study
This area of the major introduces you to the advanced study of narrative in literary and popular culture within historical and social contexts. We pay particular attention to the nuances of linguistic expression, the traffic between words and images, the nature of literary genres, and the impact of contemporary technology on our storytelling traditions. We also develop analytical approaches to texts that allow us to understand their emergence from and impact on thought in the English language.
The English Literature curriculum is organized around a sequence of core courses and enriched by a generous variety of electives.
The core courses initiate students into the major, introducing the principle genres of narrative form: drama, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction prose.These intensive writing courses help you develop analytic and expressive skills that can be applied to your broader education and to pursuits in other fields.
Indiana University’s Literature faculty are nationally and internationally-known specialists in a wide range of areas and fields of interest: from Beowulf and Chaucer through 21st century authors such as Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, and Junot Diaz. Drawing on a variety of methodologies and approaches, our faculty invites you to read and analyze fiction, poetry, drama, and essays as great art, as bearers of ideology, as mass media, and as popular entertainment.
Rhetoric is the study of writing and speaking effectively. Students who pursue rhetoric through the Professional and Public Writing concentration of the English major or the Communication and Public Advocacy minor develop critical and creative communication skills for verbal, written, and digital engagements. These skills take shape in courses ranging in focus from argumentation to visual rhetoric, popular culture to critical theory, games studies to technical writing.
Indiana University’s Rhetoric faculty study and teach the history, practice, and theory of rhetoric, communications, composition, and public speech. Among them you’ll find renowned experts on the rhetoric of games and sports, hermeneutics and interpretation, digital rhetorics, multilingualism, and global English—among other topics of fascination.
Creative writing is the expression of ideas, observations, and imagination through the genres of poetry and prose in both fiction and nonfiction. When you pursue a minor or a major Concentration in Creative Writing you work alongside award-winning faculty to learn the technicalities of craft and study published writers. You create your own original work in a series of workshops and craft courses designed to introduce you to the basics of each genre and allow you to find your own voice, advancing with confidence to develop a writing practice.
Creative Writing faculty
The Creative Writing faculty is comprised of award-winning poets, playwrights, and fiction and nonfiction writers whose honors include fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations, the NEA Literature Fellowship in Fiction, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the U.S. Artists Simon Fellowship, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The faculty works closely with undergraduates and M.F.A. students in both creative writing workshops and traditional literature courses.