Let’s set the record straight: there are great careers for English majors. The problem is that too few English majors learn the business side of their craft. Nichols students who major in English don’t have that problem.

Come work closely with professors with experience in reporting, freelance writing, political research, publishing, communications consulting, and more. Contribute your own creative pieces to WINDFALL, Nichols’ literary publication. Tutor and teach as you learn. Write your book as a school project.

Whether you want to teach English as a second language, go on to graduate school, or work in publishing or the nonprofit world, Nichols provides the literary and technical training to lead in your chosen field.

Leading the Way

Will Brown ’12 Clark University, Graduate Assistant

The English faculty is amazing. Each one brings something different to the table. The small classes lead to a lot of personal interaction and discussion where I learned to respect others’ options. I don’t believe I would have gotten that at another school. In addition, the teachers were so supportive during my process of applying to grad school. I have been accepted for the graduate program at Clark University and hope to eventually teach at the college level.

Courses & Requirements

English majors must complete 120 credit hours (approximately 40 courses), including courses from the foundation curricula, focused electives and these required specialization courses:

Required Courses

ENGL 213 Introduction to Literature

An introduction to the study of literature, the course will look at fiction, poetry and drama in a seminar format. In a discussion-intensive, reading-intensive course, students will look at a variety of books, built around a specific theme (like love and sex, heroism, or growing up, for example) or a specific period (such as Victorianism, or the 1960s, or the 1920s).

ENGL 481 Senior Thesis

tudents complete this course in conjunction with any literature professor. The course will be run similar to an independent study, in that students work one-on-one with a professor of their choice. By exploring an area of interest, researching their topic of literature, and reading multiple texts, students compose a paper of significant length to cap off their English major experience. Senior Standing only. (1 credit.)

Prerequisites: ENGL-105, and ENGL-212.


ENGL 236 World Literature II

Not much is known about Gentle Will Shakespeare’s life, which is ironic in the sense that he defined, in many ways, what it means to be a human being. This class will take a peek into how the period of time known as The Renaissance created our ideas about human life today. We will focus on the dramas of Shakespeare, plays that shape what it means to be human, plays that continue to pose questions to us: Is feeling more important than thinking? What happens to a person who attains great power? Does knowledge keep us from doing? Should we be loyal at all costs? We will look at a few of the great movies that have been made from these plays. (We will read selected works from The Renaissance and the 17th century.)

ENGL 237 World Literature III

This course is an introduction to a period that produced many of the enduring classics of literature. It focuses on work from Europe, with some Asian and Middle Eastern material rounding it out.  We will read Rationalists, Romantics, and Victorians and we will explore their stories and their ideas and how those fit or contrast with ours today.

ENGL 238 World Literature IV

Across the continents, themes like love, becoming an adult, and death are universal. Other topics are unique to just some countries and cultures. As globalization makes today’s world smaller and smaller, this course will look at contemporary world literature to explore the ideas that join us and those that still drive us apart. (We will read selected works from the 20th and 21st centuries.)

ENGL 310 Themes in Literature

This course looks at literature gathered by theme. Each semester will be different. It will select from subjects like: the Literature of Business and Work, The Search for Identity, Good and Evil in Literature, the Literature of Love and Sex, Sport and Literature, Crime and Literature.

ENGL 314 American Literature I

Starting before the United States existed; this course looks at the written and oral literature that defined America, from the time only Native Americans lived here through the middle of the Nineteenth Century.  We will read the stories of slaves and settlers, Native Americans and newcomers, revolutionaries and artists. Included will be such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.

ENGL 315 American Literature II

For a century and a half, American writers have been trying to understand and express what it means to live in the modern world. From Mark Twain to Ernest Hemingway to Toni Morrison, these authors examine love, sex, war, race, gender, conflict, and community in a country where life always seems racing to be faster, bigger, stronger and more complex.

ENGL 319 Introduction to Poetry

Poetry can be simple, maddening, inspired and inspiring, thunderous and soft, melancholy and raucous, intricate and still - in short, everything that we are. It is epic as Homer, seductive as a love sonnet; its forms are as various as human experience, its voice as personal as your own. Poetry is, at one and the same time, a mirror and a window, revealing to us our deepest selves and providing a way to see beyond ourselves. Introduction to Poetry offers an opportunity to explore words, life, and the relationships they can build.

ENGL 320 Fiction Writing

Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Fiction Writing centers on making our own universes through the creation of story and on the discovery of the universe within each of us, the stories of which we are made. Through discussion and revision of their own work as well as the reading of published pieces, class members find their own voices, hone their skills, and release the energy of their own creative expression.

Prerequisite: ENGL-105.

ENGL 321 Professional Writing

Intensive practice in a variety of approaches to professional writing tasks: memoranda, correspondence, proposals, and both brief and longer reports.

Prerequisite: ENGL-105.

REL 323 Biblical Literature

The writings of the Old and New Testaments, their social, political, and religious origins; their central themes, their influence on the Judeo-Christian tradition, and their contemporary significance are studied.

ENGL 327 Introduction to Drama

From Greece in 300BC to Broadway today, playwrights have taken on the daunting task of creating a slice of human drama that can be performed in (usually) three hours or less. We will read and watch a variety of plays to see how writers have created characters, wars, heavens, hells, pasts, and futures - and brought them to life on a tiny stage in front of a live audience. From classic to cutting edge, the themes of heroism, pride, sex, love, war, and the range of human experience are brought to life in every scene.

ENGL 342 Sportswriting

Using the sports programs at Nichols as well as issues and events in the larger sports world, students will develop the writing skills of bona fide sportswriters.  The course will involve reporting on actual sports events, writing feature stories about athletes and their sports, and composing columns that combine good research with thoughtful opinion.  Along the way, students will learn planning and interviewing skills and reinforce the foundations taught in their freshman writing courses.

ENGL 345 Non-Fiction Writing

This is a writing workshop course in which students will explore their own experiences and ideas while learning how to effectively share those ideas with readers. The course will focus on writing experiences including autobiography, profiles of others, creative literary non-fiction, and pieces that relate to world events and the society and culture around us. In addition to extensive writing, students will read model essays.

Prerequisite: ENGL-105.

ENGL 346 Journalism

Designed for students interested in journalism and those who want to improve their written communication skills. Intensive hands-on work in various aspects of news writing combined with analysis of the influence of media’s role in the world.

Prerequisite: ENGL-105.

ENGL 470 Special Topics in English

This course is offered on an occasional basis and addresses topics and themes of special interest not covered in the standard course offerings in English.

ENGL 214 Culture and Identity in Literature

This course focuses on study of literature through examination of the work of people bound together by their ethnicity, culture, or identity. It will look at a single subject from year to year. Among the possible subjects are: Women’s Literature, African-American Literature, Hispanic Literature, Asian, African or Latin-American Literature.

Prerequisites: ENGL-105, and ENGL-212.

ENGL 311 Significant Periods in Literature

The course examines the connections, as well as the divergences, of literature written at a particular time. Each semester will choose a particular focus. Examples include The American Renaissance, The Nineteen Twenties, The Sixties, Literature of the 21st Century.

Prerequisites: ENGL-105, and ENGL-212.

ENGL 411 Major Authors in Literature

This course will be the focused study of a single author or pair of authors. Each semester will have its own focus. The course will ask students to take an in-depth look at an author’s work, their world, their biography, and the critical reception of their work.

Prerequisites: ENGL-105, and ENGL-212.

ENGL 490 Internship in English

Students will complete an internship in order to explore opportunities in publishing, journalism, marketing, communications, education, and a variety of other fields which welcome English majors’ skills.

Prerequisites: ENGL-105, and ENGL-212.


  • Jeffrey Halprin

    Jeffrey Halprin
    Professor of English / English Program Chair

  • Kellie Deys

    Kellie Deys
    Assistant Professor of English / Administrative Director of the Honors Scholar Program

  • James Deys

    James Deys
    Assistant Professor of English

  • No photo available

    Michael Lajoie
    Visiting Assistant Professor of English

  • Erin Casey-Williams

    Erin Casey-Williams
    Visiting Assistant Professor of English

  • Lisa C. Taylor

    Lisa C. Taylor
    Adjunct Professor