The English Department offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in writing and literature, designed to meet the needs of a richly diverse student body. We emphasize writing as a creative and rhetorical act and the analysis of texts in historical, critical, and cultural contexts. Both graduate and undergraduate programs feature coursework in cultural criticism, literary analysis, the essay, rhetoric, and professional writing. The rigorous study of literary and cultural texts — from the canon and from traditions historically excluded from academic study — is at the center of our work.
Courses in the First Year Writing Program focus on interdisciplinary issues intended to stimulate purposeful writing at each level of development. The study of the elements of rhetoric, along with intensive practice, equips students with the writing skills they will need for success in college and in the business and professional worlds after graduation.
The four sophomore literature courses, any two of which satisfy the six-credit literature requirement of the Humanities core curriculum, survey the Western literary tradition from the beginnings to the present as well as the non-Western traditions of Africa, Asia and/or Latin America. Readings from a wide variety of texts may be structured chronologically or thematically, depending on the instructor.
The B.A. in English offers concentrations in Literature, Creative Writing, or Writing & Rhetoric. Students gain a breadth of knowledge in literature in English, a sense of the scope of English studies and familiarity with contemporary debates in their chosen field of concentration.
The English Department promotes literary studies and the literary arts through the activities of the Omicron Zeta chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (the international English honor society); our literary magazine, Downtown Brooklyn; the Voices of the Rainbow poetry/fiction reading series, and the annual Paumanok Lecture on American Literature. In addition, the Creative-Writing MFA Program publishes its own literary magazine, Brooklyn Paramount, and hosts the MFA Reading Series.