When you study English at Occidental, you’ll engage in a close critical study of literature in English in an international and interdisciplinary context.

In keeping with the College’s mission values of equity and excellence, you will read the work of both long-studied writers and those previously excluded from the traditional literary canon. Course offerings encompass works from British, American and other Anglophone literary traditions, from Medieval and Renaissance literature to emergent and 21st-century writing.

Moving through the major, you’ll gain an understanding of the historical, political and philosophical contexts that shape the different periods of literature written in English. You’ll develop skills to interpret what you read through a range of theories and methods that characterize the evolving discipline of literary studies. Our faculty, all of whom are active scholars, will work directly with you to find your voice as writer and sharpen your skills as a reader.

You can choose to complete an emphasis in creative writing, a special track that provides a strong background in both literary history and creative writing skills. Our program draws on the resources of Los Angeles to bring writers to campus to read their work, lead workshops and teach courses. The program is administered by a nationally renowned writer in residence who will work with you individually. The department encourages highly qualified majors to work toward Honors in English by writing an honors thesis during their senior year. Interested students should consult the College Catalog (see Courses & Requirements) for general Honors guidelines.

Studying English refines your ability to think critically and communicate clearly and effectively about complex subject matter. Our graduates have taken jobs in the entertainment industry as writers and producers, in all facets of the tech industry, as well as in journalism, teaching, law, business, marketing, medicine and the arts.