If you like literature and the written word, it’s worth finding out what you will study in a liberal arts program in English. Here are five types of courses you should expect to take.
A big part of what you will study in a liberal arts program in English is how to write effectively, according to U.S. News & World Report. Classes in composition, rhetoric, technical editing and grammar help students learn to convey their thoughts and ideas in persuasive and well-organized text. Many English programs offer – and some may even require – studies in creative writing. However, most writing courses for English majors focus more on communicating well using the written word than developing your skills in the art of poetry or fiction.
Literature is another major part of what you will study in a liberal arts program in English. The required core courses in most English programs are a combination of writing and literature classes. In the United States, English majors typically study written works by both American and British writers, according to U.S. News & World Report. In your literature classes, you may read a variety of different types of literature, including poems, short stories, novels and plays. You might read works that are hundreds of years old as well as modern literature. Often, you will be expected to analyze and write well-informed reviews and reports about the literature you study.
3. A Foreign Language
Naturally, most of the courses you take in an English college degree program revolve around writing in the English language. However, part of what you study in a liberal arts program in English could very well be a foreign language. In schools that include a language requirement in their liberal arts degree programs, the reasoning behind studying a foreign language has less to do with English as a subject and more to do with becoming a well-rounded individual with a comprehensive education. Most of these schools require only a few credits of foreign language study to show competency, so you typically won’t have to take more than a couple of courses in a foreign language.
4. General Education Courses
English is a liberal arts subject, after all, so it makes sense that the degree program would ask students to round out their education with general education courses in subjects in the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities. You should expect to take at least one course in laboratory science, mathematics, art and a social science, though precise general education requirements vary from school to school.
5. A Minor or Concentration
If you’re wondering what to do with an English degree, consider pursuing a minor or concentration. Students who are interested in technical writing should start studying computers or engineering. If you might want to work in advertising or public relations, spend some time earning a minor in business. Developing marketable skills in these subjects can complement the versatile English degree you’re working to attain.
The combination of what you study in a liberal arts program in English will equip you with a diverse, versatile educational background.