English Major

English Major

English

Major

The study of literature moves beyond simple awareness of other perspectives and equips cadets with the skills they need to effectively engage with other cultures. The resulting understanding of humanity and culture is a vital contributor to success in the military profession.

Offered by the Department of English and Philosophy.

The study of literature fosters essential leadership skills including critical thought, clear and persuasive communication, creativity, and ethical awareness. By engaging with the diversity that characterizes the human condition, English majors are ready to solve problems creatively and also to communicate their ideas and solutions clearly and persuasively — talents essential to a meaningful life of service.

"My time at Duke [studying literature] was an intellectual oasis after a long march. It allowed me time to broaden my perspective from the confines of military life and open it to another world, full of new ideas, viewpoints, issues and stories which helped me develop."

- GEN(Ret) Martin Dempsey, ‘74, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former faculty member in the Department of English and Philosophy

Cadets who major in English will refine skills of analysis and creativity and enrich their imaginative capacities by studying the literary and artistic expressions of primarily Anglo-American and, to a lesser extent, global cultures. Exposed to a range of literary genres and modes of cultural expression, English majors graduate with a broader and deeper understanding of the history of ideas and of the ways in which imaginative literature has influenced human behavior and shaped cultural norms. By exploring the full spectrum of human behaviors and circumstances and by laying the groundwork for the cultivation of emotional intelligence and sympathetic imagination, the study of literature equips graduates to engage the world's intellectual, moral, and emotional complexities with insight and the potential for empathy. English majors refine their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a variety of analytic and creative situations from the textual analysis of poetry and prose to the study of literary history to dramatic performance. The English major with Honors further challenges Cadets to compose a lengthy academic research project in close consultation with a member of the doctoral faculty. With an English major, a Cadet graduates from West Point with the capacity to analyze textual evidence, to account for cultural context and complexity, to communicate precisely, and to imagine creative solutions to difficult problems. 

This major offers an honors track. 

Why Major In English?

With a true appreciation of our diverse world, English majors are prepared to negotiate the problems facing twenty-first-century leaders. The study of literature moves beyond simple awareness of other perspectives and equips students with the skills they need to engage with other cultures. The resulting understanding of humanity and culture is a vital contributor to success in the military profession.

Literature Matters

From issues of civic responsibility to the lasting impact of colonial rule to current race relations, the range of topics in English is boundless. Armed with a variety of critical lenses through which to examine literature, English majors not only solve problems but do so creatively. Majors gain an ability to interpret a variety of texts and engage with vital cultural, sociological, and political issues represented in literature.

 

Learn more about majoring in the humanities: The (Forgotten) Utility of the Humanities

Meet the faculty

 

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of English and Philosophy or the center associated with this department/area of study.

Required Courses

  • EN300 LITERARY METHODOLOGIES

Early Period Survey (Choose 1)

  • EN311 ANCIENT TO EARLY MODERN LIT 
  • EN321 AMERICAN LITERATURE I 
  • EN331 BRITISH LITERATURE I  

Late Period Survey (Choose 1)

  • EN322 AMERICAN LITERATURE II
  • EN332 BRITISH LITERATURE II
  • EN340 CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE

Genre Course (Choose 1)

Sample Electives

  • EN370 SHAKESPEARE  
  • EN371 SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLOQUIUM  
  • EN490 INDEPENDENT STUDY: LITERATURE
  • HI392 AMERICAN HISTORICAL MEMORY 
  • HI461 TOPICS IN GENDER HISTORY
  • EV365 GEOGRAPHY OF GLOBAL CULTURES 
  • EV471 ECOLOGY 
  • PY305 LOGICAL REASONING 
  • PY310 REALITY AND KNOWLEDGE 
  • PY320 ETHICS 
  • SS386 POLITICAL THOUGHT
  • LW410 COMPARATIVE LEGAL SYSTEMS 
  • LW461 CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE LAW  
  • PL383 EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 
  • PL393 CRIMINOLOGY-CRIM JUST SYSTM 
  • PL482 ARMED FORCES AND SOCIETY 
  • SS392 POLITICS-RACE,GENDER,SEXUALITY 
  • SS473 AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY 
  • SS476 CONFLICT AND NEGOTIATION 
  • XH405 THE HOLOCAUST AND ITS LEGACY 
  • XH467 WINNING THE PEACE

To learn more, view the full English Major Curriculum.

English majors have a number of enrichment opportunities including participation in activities like the Zengerle Family Lecture in the Arts and Humanities, the Creative Arts Project, and Partnership with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Company.  Majors can also publish in the Circle in the Spiral (cadet creative writing publication), attend undergraduate conferences and trip sections to places like New York City (e.g., Libraries, Theaters, etc.). Cadets in this major have the opportunity to apply for a summer Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program, USMA-run academic enrichment experience.

Honor Societies:
Golden Key - International Honour Society
Phi Kappa Phi - Oldest and Largest Collegiate Honor Society

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of English and Philosophy or the center associated with this department/area of study.