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English

Academic Departments > English

English

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About English

Through a curriculum that emphasizes diverse cultural and literary texts, English majors learn to read closely, think critically, as well as research, interpret, and write with clarity, coherence, and precision. Through a vital intellectual environment that includes class meetings, lectures, panels, and symposia, the English department offers students the intellectual and practical tools to engage a variety of twenty-first century professional, political, and ethical issues. As English students progress from introductory to capstone courses, they take on increasingly sophisticated and elaborate modes of writing and analysis that prepare them for a rapidly changing public sphere.

Students of literature also gain skills that are broadly transferable and applicable to a range of goals and careers. 

The study of literature makes us better creative and analytical thinkers; it teaches us to think interpretively about the world around us—about the signs and symbols that make up the deep texture of our lives, our politics, our communities. Through both creative and analytical engagement with the writing of others, we make ourselves better writers, able to work in a number of genres and in relation to a number of different audiences and purposes. We become, through our close attention to language, adept at communication, fluent in the ability to match word to intent. We become, in short, expert in thought and language.

Interesting Classes I Might Take

  • Courses in the writing of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction
  • Single-author courses on Jane Austen, Milton, Joyce, and Shakespeare
  • Literature and the Environment
  • Documentary Film
  • Science Fiction
  • Transnational Cinema, Literature and Theory
  • Queer Fictions

Full course list here

Beyond the Classroom


Recent capstones: Constructing Female Identities: Narrative Voice, Feminine Interiorities, and Self-Reflexivity in the Written Word;  Songs and Craft of Selected Female Songwriters (including writing a series of songs inspired by these writers, performing them, and producing a CD); a data-supported investigation, The Impact of Teaching Literacy to Inmates in a Medium-security, State Correctional Facility; Pay-day Lending (a documentary video); and Disenchantment, Ethnographic Surrealism, and Charles Baudelaire’s Le Spleen de Paris

Recent internships: Backstretch employee service team (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.); Ohio Civil Rights Commission (Dayton, Ohio); curatorial/research, Tang Museum exhibition The Classless Society

Recent faculty-student research: A Distant Reading of Empire: Topic Modeling the British Raj; Movement, Networks, and Economies in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Popular study abroad programs: Skidmore in London, King’s College (England); Advanced Studies in England (Bath); Skidmore in Paris (France); and Skidmore's Shakespeare Programme (London, England)

Success After Skidmore

Careers: A sampler of what our alumni do

  • Managing editor, news, Yahoo! Inc., NYC
  • Agent for actors, film/TV, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Producer, Vermont Public Radio, Colchester, Vt.
  • Fellow and director of studies in English, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
  • VP/deputy publisher, Simon & Schuster, NYC
  • Senior editor, women's fiction, Pocket Books, NYC
  • Editor, Oxford University Press, NYC
  • Art director, New York Times Co., NYC
  • Psychology editor, New Yorker magazine, NYC
  • Senior lecturer in English, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.
  • Librarian, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
  • Academic writer/author, McGraw-Hill, Elberton, Ga.
  • CEO/new media entrepreneur, Magnify.net, NYC
  • VP of production, MGM Pictures, Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Boston coordinator, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, Boston, Mass.
  • English teacher, Frederick Douglass Academy, NYC
  • Software production/assistant producer, Houghton Mifflin, Somerville, Mass.
  • Head of lower school, Indian Mountain School, Lakeville, Conn.
  • Technical writer, Jacobs Engineering, Houston, Texas
  • Communications manager, Liberty Mutual Commercial Insurance, Boston, Mass.
  • Web content producer, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H.
  • Assistant director, Center for Writing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • VP of branded entertainment and media innovation, CBS Foundation, NYC
  • Reporter, Bloomberg, London, England
  • PR consultant, Bertelsmann Media Worldwide, Berlin, Germany
  • Book store owner, Battenkill Books, Cambridge, N.Y.
  • Online features editor, Architectural Digest, NYC
  • Media assets coordinator, A&E Networks, NYC
  • Associate director/director of content, Academy of American Poets, NYC
  • Editor-in-chief, Adventure Media, Seattle, Wash.
  • Senior editor, Ziff-Davis Publishing, Foster City, Calif.

Graduate Schools: A sampler of where our alumni go

  • Boston University, Ph.D.
  • Columbia University, M.A. in English, M.F.A. in poetry
  • Fordham University, M.S. in education
  • New York University, M.A. in American studies, M.A. in journalism
  • University of California-Davis, Ph.D. in English literature
  • University of Maryland, Ph.D. in American cultural studies
  • University of Miami, M.A. in English
  • Vermont College, M.F.A. in fiction writing

Faculty

Meet the English faculty members.