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The English major at Chatham is a challenge to better understand and interpret the worlds we encounter in texts and in life. From Twain’s Mississippi River, Shakespeare’s Globe, and August Wilson’s Hill District, the English major widens the imagination while also offering the tools and vocabulary to critically engage with the texts that helped to shape our current realities.
—JENNY SCHOLLAERT ’15, current Ph.D. candidate, University of Maryland
Explore the English Degree:
Strong critical thinkers who are trained to articulate difficult concepts in clear language, English majors are prepared for careers requiring intellectual sophistication and clear expression, as well as graduate study in professional or academic areas ranging from literature or law to creative writing or teaching.
- All students complete a capstone seminar that channels the knowledge they’ve accumulated into a discipline-specific project under close faculty guidance.
- You will be encouraged to present your academic and creative work at professional conferences through Sigma Tau Delta (the International English Honor Society) and other organizations, helping you develop your professional identity as you prepare to move on to employment or graduate work.
- Small, intimate classes allow you to work directly with passionate, diversely talented faculty and fellow students.
This course provides an introduction to the African-American expressive tradition, including poetry, fiction, autobiography, song, and folktales from the 18th century to the present. Examining writers such as Douglass, Chesnutt, Brooks, Baldwin, Ellison, and Walker, this course works to delineate the critical and historical contours of the African-American literary tradition.
Food and American Identity
This course examines literature in multiple genres (e.g. fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, graphic novel, film/television, and long-form journalism) through the theoretical lens of food studies to understand how writers use food as a cultural object to point to issues of identity including race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and systems of belief.
Bleak Houses: Shifting Landscapes of the English Novel
This course will cover the modern European novel through the thematic rubric of “love and lies.” This affords the opportunity to consider fiction not only as a medium of the novel but also as a discourse of self-expression, self-creation, and in the cases of some our lying protagonists, self-destruction. Students will focus on characters’ constructions of “truth” and “lies” as these concepts are informed by characters’ emotional positions. At its most ambitious, this focus on the dynamic of intersubjectivity not only provides important insights into the literature we will read but also enhances students’ understanding of the interpersonal connections that drive worldviews and narratives.
If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.
Learn to Teach
Secondary education certification in English is available as part of the BA or through a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
English majors are encouraged to study abroad and to explore interests leading to a second major or a minor.
Sigma Tau Delta
Chatham’s award-winning chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, welcomes new members who qualify and supports all students interested in effective, transformative reading, writing, and public service.
Creative Writing Club
Chatham’s Creative Writing Club sponsors readings and events, such as the open-mic night at Rea Coffeehouse each term. The club welcomes first-year students.
Students have interned at a variety of settings, including Pittsburgh Magazine, U.S. Department of Justice, McGraw-Hill Publishers, WAMO Radio, The White House, Marvel Comics, Thomas Merton Center, City of Asylum, Wardensville Main Street Initiative, Family Resources (preschool and family support), Upstart Crow (literary agent), and Youtube.com.
Student Profile: Jenny Schollaert '15
“It’s a shock of a community." That’s how Jenny Schollaert ’15, describes Chatham University. “A good shock,” she quickly clarifies. “Because we’re so welcoming and everyone wants you to succeed. And I think it’s that shocking to some people, and they’re like are you really this excited about seeing me succeed? But yes, they are!”