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Concentrations

Concentrations

The Penn State English major now offers concentrations in four subject areas:

Literary and Cultural Studies
Creative Writing
Professional and Media Writing
Rhetoric and Writing

English majors are not required to select a concentration, but they are strongly encouraged to do so.

To fulfill a concentration, a student must take at least four classes from the courses listed under an individual concentration. The four courses required for a concentration will also fulfill four of the five prescribed electives for the major. Additionally, future sections of ENGL 487W (Senior Seminar) will be matched to a concentration. Students are encouraged to choose a senior seminar from their selected concentration.

The concentrations envision a flexible major with the potential for focused individualized study. Selecting a concentration will provide a blueprint for choosing electives toward a more strategic course profile that targets post-degree goals. By fulfilling a concentration students can also build useful peer and faculty networks as they manage their degree requirements.

Upon graduation students can request a certificate for a completed concentration. Contact Stephanie Cramer at sfc10@psu.edu for additional information.

Students are encouraged to focus on a single concentration, and may receive certification in no more than two concentrations.

Literary and Cultural Studies

What is it?

Literary and Cultural Studies gives you access to historical and emergent traditions of literature, culture and thought. Through critical interpretation and dialogue, we can see how language mediated through texts arranges and allows different ways of knowing and living. In the process you will read some of the greatest wordsmiths and thinkers in the English language.

What are the benefits?

The study of literature and culture provides you with invaluable skills in writing, thinking and expression. These proficiencies in communication and perception are powerfully flexible and adaptable, preparing you to think creatively and innovate across diverse scenarios.

How to focus?

Students who select the Literary and Cultural Studies concentration may wish to focus their coursework in a particular subject area. Possible area clusters include, but are not restricted to:

African American Literature and Language
American Literature before 1900
Cultural Studies and Theory
Early British Literature
Ethnic American Literatures and Cultures

Students are encouraged to pursue and build their own interests through clusters in other areas and topics.

Relevant Courses

ENGL 225: Sexuality and Modern Visual Culture
ENGL 226: Latina and Latino Border Theories
ENGL 227: Introduction to Culture and Sexuality
ENGL 228: Introduction to Disability Studies in the Humanities
ENGL 233: Chemistry and Literature
ENGL 235: African-American Oral Folk Tradition
ENGL 240: Exploring Literary Traditions
ENGL 245: Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies
ENGL 261: Exploring Literary Forms
ENGL 262: Reading Fiction
ENGL 263: Reading Poetry
ENGL 265: Reading Nonfiction
ENGL 268: Reading Drama
ENGL 297: Special Topics
ENGL 298: Special Topics
ENGL 300: Honors Course in English
ENGL 301M: Honors Seminar in English: Literature Before 1800
ENGL 302M: Honors Seminar in English: Literature After 1800
ENGL 303M: Honors Seminar in English: American Literature & Culture
ENGL 311: The Canon and Its Critics
ENGL 312: Globality and Literature
ENGL 395: Internship (3 credits only)
ENGL 397: Special Topics
ENGL 398: Special Topics
ENGL 400: Authors, Texts, Contexts
ENGL 401: Studies in Genre
ENGL 402: Literature and Society
ENGL 403: Literature and Culture
ENGL 404: Mapping Identity, Difference, and Place
ENGL 405: Taking Shakespeare From Page to Stage
ENGL 407: History of the English Language
ENGL 426: Chicana and Chicano Cultural Production: Literature, Film, Music
ENGL 427: Topics in Jewish American Literature
ENGL 428: Asian American Literatures
ENGL 429: New Media and Literature
ENGL 430: The American Renaissance
ENGL 431: Black American Writers
ENGL 432: The American Novel to 1900
ENGL 433: The American Novel: 1900-1945
ENGL 434: Topics in American Literature
ENGL 435: The American Short Story
ENGL 436: American Fiction Since 1945
ENGL 437: The Poet in America
ENGL 438: American Drama
ENGL 439: American Nonfiction Prose
ENGL 440: Studies in Shakespeare
ENGL 441: Chaucer
ENGL 442: Medieval English Literature
ENGL 443: The English Renaissance
ENGL 444: Shakespeare
ENGL 445: Shakespeare's Contemporaries
ENGL 446: Milton
ENGL 447: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
ENGL 448: The English Novel to Jane Austen
ENGL 449: Women Poets
ENGL 450: The Romantics
ENGL 451: Literary Modernism in English
ENGL 452: The Victorians
ENGL 453: Victorian Novel
ENGL 454: Modern British and Irish Drama
ENGL 455: Topics in British Literature
ENGL 456: British Fiction, 1900-1945
ENGL 457: British Fiction Since 1945
ENGL 458: Twentieth-Century Poetry
ENGL 461: The Vernacular Roots of African American Literature
ENGL 462: Reading Black, Reading Feminist
ENGL 463: African American Autobiography
ENGL 466: African American Novel I
ENGL 467: African American Novel II
ENGL 468: African American Poetry
ENGL 469: Slavery and the Literary Imagination
ENGL 481: Literary Theory: Historical Perspectives
ENGL 482: Contemporary Literary Theory and Practice
ENGL 482W: Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory
ENGL 483: Problems in Critical Theory and Practice
ENGL 484: James Joyce
ENGL 485: Australian and New Zealand Literature and Culture
ENGL 486: The World Novel in English
ENGL 488: Modern Continental Drama
ENGL 489: British Women Writers
ENGL 492: American Women Writers
ENGL 493: The Folktale in American Literature
ENGL 495: Internship (3 credits only)
ENGL 497: Special Topics
ENGL 498: Special Topics

Creative Writing

What is it?

Creative Writing blends the practical and the ideal as it gives you the space and challenge to explore and develop your creative talent. This concentration allows you to explore equally the different forms of creative writing – fiction, poetry, and nonfiction – or to focus primarily on one of them. You can also develop a specific, marketable focus in fact-based writing, choosing from courses in biography, science writing, article writing, and editing.

What are the benefits?

The Creative Writing concentration will hone your skills in both practical and creative forms by giving you instruction and intensive practice in writing. Students of creative writing bring to the workplace a nuanced and practical understanding of how to employ imaginative language: in print, online, in classrooms, and in a wide range of communication-based environments.

Relevant Courses

ENGL 209: Literary Journal Practicum
ENGL 212: Introduction to Fiction Writing
ENGL 412: Advanced Fiction Writing
ENGL 422: Fiction Workshop
ENGL 213: Introduction to Poetry Writing
ENGL 413: Advanced Poetry Writing
ENGL 423: Poetry Writing Workshop
ENGL 214: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 215: Introduction to Article Writing
ENGL 414: Biographical Writing
ENGL 415: Advanced Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 416: Science Writing
ENGL 425: Nonfiction Workshop
ENGL 281: Television Script Writing
ENGL 304M: Honors Seminar: Creative Writing
ENGL 401W: Creative Writing Theory
ENGL 424: Creative Writing and the Natural World
ENGL 429: New Media and Literature
ENGL 435: American Short Story
ENGL 436: American Fiction since 1945
ENGL 437: The Poet in America
ENGL 439: American Nonfiction Prose
ENGL 486: World Novel in English
ENGL 495L Internship (3 credits only)

* NOTE: All 400-level Creative Writing workshops may be taken more than once for credit

Professional and Media Writing

What is it?

The concentration in Professional and Media Writing attracts students who enjoy writing and editing; organizing, designing and visualizing information; researching new topics; and working with writing and communication technologies—and it provides excellent preparation for careers in (for example) technical and professional writing, editing, information design and management, and usability.

What are the benefits?

Students in this concentration can look forward to careers as effective communicators and information designers in a variety of workplace settings, including corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations. Professional and media writers plan, create, and evaluate multimodal documents, print and online, that help organizations solve problems and achieve goals. Professional and media writers produce websites, publications, reports, educational and training materials, marketing materials, grants, procedural and policy documents, and numerous other types of documents.

Relevant Courses

ENGL 209: Journal or Magazine Practicum
ENGL 210: The Process of Writing
ENGL 211: Introduction to Writing Studies
ENGL 215: Introduction to Article Writing
ENGL 229: Digital Studies
ENGL 265: Reading Nonfiction
ENGL 401: Studies in Genre
ENGL 414: Biographical Writing
ENGL 415: Advanced Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 416: Science Writing
ENGL 417: The Editorial Process
ENGL 418: Advanced Technical Writing and Editing
ENGL 419: Advanced Business Writing
ENGL 420: Writing for the Web
ENGL 421: Advanced Expository Writing
ENGL 425: Nonfiction Workshop
ENGL 470: Rhetorical Theory and Practice
ENGL 471: Rhetorical Traditions
ENGL 472: Current Theories of Writing and Reading
ENGL 473: Rhetorical Approaches to Discourse
ENGL 474: Issues in Rhetoric and Composition
ENGL 478: Grant Writing
ENGL 479: Business or Technical Writing Practicum
ENGL 480: Communication Design for Writers
ENGL 491: The Capstone Course in Professional Writing
ENGL 495: Internship

See an adviser if you want to earn both the Professional and Media Writing concentration and a minor in Technical Writing. If you select the right courses in Professional and Media Writing, you will only need two additional courses to earn the minor in Technical Writing.

Rhetoric and Writing

What is it?

If you're aiming to work in management, law, politics, publishing, or education, your success will depend on how effectively you can analyze written texts and communicate in writing. By taking a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing, you will not only study some of the hottest approaches to written communication and the latest research on reaching readers, but you'll also learn arts of persuasion that date back to Ancient Greece and Rome.

What are the benefits?

An emphasis in rhetoric will prepare you to:

  • Recognize techniques of argument in a variety of texts--historical and modern, literary and everyday
  • Engage in ethical debates: does good rhetoric create good citizens? Who are 'good' rhetors?
  • Sharpen the skills you'll need in professional practice

Relevant Courses

ENGL 470: Rhetorical Theory and Practice
ENGL 471: Rhetorical Traditions
ENGL 472: Current Theories of Writing and Reading
ENGL 473: Rhetorical Approaches to Discourse
ENGL 474: Issues in Rhetoric and Composition

* NOTE: The above five courses may be taken twice for credit, as long as the specific topic has changed.

ENGL 202: Effective Writing
ENGL 211: Introduction to Writing Studies
ENGL 250: Peer Tutoring in Writing
ENGL 407: History of the English Language
ENGL 415: Advanced Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 416: Science Writing
ENGL 417: The Editorial Process
ENGL 418: Advanced Technical Writing and Editing
ENGL 420: Writing for the Web
ENGL 421: Advanced Expository Writing
ENGL 495: Internship (3 credits only)

Those in the Rhetoric and Writing concentration can earn a full minor in Rhetoric by completing two additional courses.

Intent to Pursue a Concentration Form

Use this form to indicate to the Department your intent to pursue a concentration in the Major. Students are encouraged to focus on a single concentration, and may receive certification in no more than two concentrations.

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