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About the Department


English Language & Literature
Pierce Hall
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3302

Administrative Assistant: Jennifer Roberts

For questions regarding the English major, please contact the department chair, Ambreen Hai.

Student reading under an autumn tree

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.

Getting Started

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, then 200 or 231—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.

Student Liaisons

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.

Current Liaisons

Headshot of Kara Jackson ’23
Kara Jackson ’23

I am currently double-majoring in English and SWAG. For my English major, I am interested in focusing on literary studies. I think situating my studies in literature offers my writing a foundation in reading, which I find essential to writing anything well. Focusing on literature is also important to me because it offers literary lineages which act as a framework for everything I do. I am particularly invested in the lineage created by Black, queer women writers. Creative writing means a great deal to me, though, so I still plan on exploring those classes. I am a poet, essayist and a songwriter outside of Smith, so undoubtedly I will not be divorced from creative arenas at all. As the former National Youth Poet Laureate I am also happy to talk poetry/look at writing you’re working on! I have a little experience with publishing work, so I may be able to offer some advice about that also. You can reach me at

Headshot of Andie Morecut ’23
Rhys Z. Vulpe ’23

I am an international student from Bucharest, Romania, and I declared my majors in English and computer science in 2020, right after the pandemic hit. I am still undecided on whether I want my English focus to be in literary studies or creative writing, but I hold great interest in both of them. In the fall 2020 semester, I took an English course at Amherst College, so I can definitely also guide you in navigating the Five College course search process, as I know it can be tricky to figure out. I am also planning to focus my studies within the department on a racial/global element, so if you have any questions about that, I would love to answer them. In addition to my double major, I am a prospective student within the Archives Concentration, which would allow me to delve deeper into my research skills. Outside of classes, I am involved in the ISO, QUINTA and SKDC student organizations. If you want to get in touch with me, my Smith email is a great way to do so. Please reach me at

Lola Anaya ’24

I am majoring in English, minoring in art history and concentrating in poetry. My emphasis is on creative writing so that I can further study poetry, and I have also taken a journalism course. I have taken intermediate poetry writing and am currently enrolled in advanced, so I can provide guidance on navigating the workshopping process in poetry and journalistic writing. Although I am focused on creative writing, I have also taken a variety of literature classes on different races and cultures in different departments which overlap with English. I am more than happy to talk about classes in other departments which connect to the English major. This past summer, I had a fellowship with the Poetry Society of New York and an internship, so I can give some insights about networking and applying for different positions. Outside of classes, I am a part of LASO and the SCMA Museum Advisory Collective. You can reach me at

Salma Vargas ’24

I am an English and Africana studies double major. I plan to become a professor that teaches Black literature, so if you have questions about applying for fellowships or pursuing higher education, do not hesitate to reach out! I am a recipient of the Cromwell Fellowship and Mellon Mays Research Fellowship. At the moment, my research focuses on mourning in neoslave narratives and how grief can open up new possibilities in an African American context. To explore this topic, I have conducted archival work in New York City and California. Overall, my interests lie in teaching, research, mentorship, and equity and inclusion. I taught English to Ukrainian students over the summer. I absolutely love Shakespeare and appreciate the canon, but I believe that English at Smith must open its doors to more authors from marginalized communities who grant us incredibly valuable perspectives, but whose voices have yet to be fully heard. Outside of classes, I work with minority communities at Smith, creating spaces for us to find networks of care. I would love to discuss your path and interests in the English major! You can reach me at

Tanya Mahmood ’24

I am currently majoring in English Language and Literature and intend to minor in Film and Media Studies. As an aspiring screenwriter and playwright, I believe in the importance of studying literature as the first step to becoming a better writer. My studies at Smith are focused on literary studies, with my main interest being multicultural and postcolonial English Literature. I have taken a variety of courses on the subject both within and outside of the department, so feel free to ask me any questions about them! I am also currently working as a research assistant for Ambreen Hai studying feminist classics. In addition, I am incredibly interested in the expansion of the literary space into modern media. Outside of classes, I have worked as a screenwriter and director on two short films, so I would be more than happy to discuss the connections between English and Film with those who are interested. Feel free to contact me at!