The English Major and Minor at Davidson

The English Department provides you with a depth and breadth of literary knowledge while teaching you to explore problems creatively, to be sensitive to life's diversity, and to read the world critically and thoughtfully.

Davidson English majors and minors build skills in:

  • Communicating effectively in discussion and writing
  • Analyzing and creating across genres and media
  • Collaborating and working in diverse groups
  • Planning and conducting independent research
  • Creative problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Understanding and applying theoretical concepts
  • Embracing ambiguity and entertaining multiple, conflicting perspectives
  • Empathy and diplomacy

Because of its flexibility, the English major and minor pair well with other majors and minors. Whether alone or combined, an English degree signals to potential employers that you know how to write, communicate, and collaborate — in other words, you’ve developed the skills that employers want most.

What Do English Majors and Minors Study?

The study of English today has expanded beyond the traditional literary canon. Texts aren’t just books anymore, but can be TV shows, performances, Tweets, or memes. Authors aren’t just individual geniuses but may be collaborators, collectives, or computers. Reading and writing are no longer linear activities, but 3-dimensional, multimedia, transdisciplinary adventures.

Studying English involves reading and analyzing texts, as well as creating them. Studying English is about:

  • exploring the lives of others, past and present, near and far;
  • getting in proximity, fostering empathy, and traveling widely through the written and spoken word;
  • recognizing the importance of stories and storytelling for making meaning, organizing society, and communicating knowledge.
  • heightening awareness of the power of language to shape identities, values, world views, and ideologies.

Alumni Profile Cameron Hardesty ’07

"The English Department taught me how to think." said Hardesty, CEO and Founder of Poppy Flowers, in a recent interview with The Hurt Hub@Davidson Director, Liz S. Brigham ‘04. The two discuss mentorship, analyzing content, and how her major in English is a perfect foundation for success both in communications and in business.

Emi Moore '18

Being an English major prepared me for working at Pixelberry Studios by teaching me how to research, how to work in a team, and how to speak up for my ideas. One thing I really valued about the English major at Davidson was the space it fostered to share different perspectives. Every person is going to read a text differently, and having the space to talk about your own readings has really helped me feel comfortable voicing my opinions in a work environment.

Emi Moore ’18

Myths About the English Major, Debunked

The skills you develop in English classes—critical thinking, analytical reasoning, clear writing, empathy, and inclusive thinking—are valued in the workplace and vital to social justice and civil discourse.

Learn the Facts

Courses You Might Take

ENG 220

Literary Analysis

Instructor 
Churchill, Miller

Designed for potential majors. Emphasizes theoretical approaches and critical strategies for the written analysis of poetry, fiction, and drama and/or film. Writing intensive. Required for the major. Students who major in English should complete 220 by…

ENG 291

Literary Mysteries

Instructor
Flanagan

Literary Mysteries is an exciting Innovation course that offers opportunities for students to explore the lovely literary language that writers such as P.D. James, Umberto Eco, Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell employ in novels such as An Unsuitable

ENG 393

Film Genres: Romance, Comedy

Instructor
Hong

How do Asian American writers and poets imagine the future? In this course, students will be introduced to key narratives, aesthetics, themes, and social concerns of Asian American and diasporic speculative fiction and poetry through reading and analyzing…