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“One way to be a neighbor is through reading. For Christians, reading literature is a way to explore, develop, and celebrate the world created by God and graciously given to us. This is a powerful and distinctive approach to reading. . . For those of us who read, delight, and think about literature from within the Christian metanarrative, reading is one way to glorify God and love our neighbors.”

Susan VanZanten


Why Study English?

The formal study of English is, in many ways, an exercise in empathy. To engage critically with literature is to identify with characters, to contextualize historical perspectives, and to understand theoretical lenses. And to practice effective writing and rhetoric is to relate to an audience, understanding its members’ preconceptions and preoccupations. Students in literature and language courses must then apply their ability to empathize as they discuss ideas, analyze causes, anticipate consequences, speculate possibilities, consider recommendations, test theories, and negotiate solutions. Consequently, we believe our English majors are prepared for the challenges they will encounter in both their professional and personal lives.


The English department sponsors an annual creative writing contest that is open to all CofO students. This competition includes categories in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary criticism. 

The English department also sponsors an active chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. Sigma Tau Delta regularly hosts open mic events, black out poetry readings, and film screenings on campus. In recent years, the society has also been able to sponsor trips to local sites of literary interest and to regional and national student conferences.


Career opportunities in English

Graduate Studies
  • Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Rhetoric
  • Law
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Creative
  • Freelance
  • Technical
  • Speech
  • Editing
The Media
  • Screenwriting
  • TV/film production
  • Journalism
  • Advertising
  • Communications
  • Business
  • Civil service
  • Government
  • Social work