About the Department
The purpose of the English major is to develop a critical and historical understanding of the English language and of the literary traditions it has shaped in Britain, in the Americas and throughout the world. During their study of literature at Smith, English majors are also encouraged to take allied courses in classics, other literatures, history, philosophy, religion, art, film and theater.
Most students begin their study of literature at Smith with English 120 or a first-year seminar before proceeding to one of the courses—199 or 200—that serves as a gateway for the major. First-year students who have an English Literature and Composition AP score of 4 or 5, or a score of 710 on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT, may enter one of the gateway courses in the fall semester. Those first-year students who have taken a gateway course in the fall may, after consultation with the instructor, elect a 200-level class beyond the gateway in the spring.
Liaisons are junior or senior Smith English majors who, as their title implies, act to connect undergraduates with faculty in the department. They meet occasionally with the chair to report on student issues or concerns, and they organize social events—parties, film screenings and informal discussions with individual faculty members. English majors and prospective majors are invited to talk to the liaisons about the program, professors, essay writing, the study of literature—or if you just want to chat about books.
|Rylee Smith ’20
Rylee is an English major from Cleveland, Ohio. Her literary interests include 20th century novels, women writers, representations of dogs/pet keeping in books, and literary theory of all sorts. She chooses not to rank her favorite books, but anyone who knows her will say that she is utterly obsessed with Virginia Woolf's prose. Other writers she admires are Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sara Ahmed, Roxane Gay, Andrea Gibson, and Sylvia Plath. Outside of class, Rylee likes to watch basketball, spend time with Margaret (her dog), make zines about literary history, and drink a lot of coffee.
|Audrey Davis ’21J
Audrey is an English major from Freedom, NH. She enjoys revisiting her favorite works of classic British, American, and Canadian literature, but wants to spend her time at Smith exploring literature from all over the world. Her favorite authors include Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, Charlotte Brontë, Thomas Hardy, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, Virginia Woolf, and many, many more! Aside from reading novels, her academic interests include literary theory, film studies, and English education in American high schools. She spends her free time exploring the local public libraries, playing with her pets, hiking, and trying new types of tea.