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Studying literature creates the ability to make meaningful connections between the seen and unseen through the study of metaphor and figurative language. The literature minor allows students to pursue their passion for reading and writing as they continue their studies in other areas.

Why should I study literature?

Several global crises of the 21st century have been attributed to "colossal failures of imagination.” We teach literature with a keen sense of its relevance for our world, emphasizing literary study as a discipline of the imagination that develops a/an:

  • Intellectual capacity for critical thought
  • Emotional capacity for sympathetic understanding
  • Aesthetic capacity for appreciating beauty
  • Moral capacity for ethical action
  • Creative capacity for effective communication

What can I do with this degree?

Many students pair English literature studies with majors in the humanities, social sciences, biblical and theological studies, business and economics, and many of the physical sciences as well. Students also have flexibility to explore literature from Spanish and Latin American cultures. By exploring the written word through a critical, inquisitive, and passionate lens, students gain deep thinking skills that strengthen their qualifications and make them stand out from competitors.

What skills will I develop?

  • Research and literary analysis
  • Clear and effective communication
  • Effective presentation skills
  • How to learn quickly
  • Literary study, such as contexts, critical approaches, and methods for interpretation
  • A broad understanding of the history and representative works of British and American literary traditions and those of other cultures

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Delve into unique literary topics

Some of our bold, innovative courses contribute to the cosmopolitan distinction of Bethel's literature program:

  • Literatures of Faith
  • World Literature (Japanese or Central and South American)
  • Travel Writing taught on location in England
  • Topics in Literature Studies (recent courses have featured "Monster Literature" and "Tolkien's Environments"—a study of the source material that inspired Tolkien). 

The English department also offers England Term: a semester-long study abroad opportunity for students interested in delving deeper into literature studies on location.

Gain hands-on experience

Our department offers many on-campus opportunities for students to hone their creative craft. These include:

  • The Coeval, a student-run journal published once a semester. Students can submit their fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork for publication in the journal, or apply to work as a journal editor
  • The Clarion, Bethel's student newspaper
  • Textura, a student-written magazine produced using materials from their international J-Term trip
  • The Jerry Healy Poetry Prize, awarded for our annual poetry contest


National award for "Textura" student magazine

- Associated Collegiate Press

In a recent survey of 200 department alumni, 85 respondents have an M.A. or are currently pursuing one; 15 have a Ph.D. or are currently pursuing one; and 6 have completed law school.

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Student Media

The "Coeval" Undergraduate Literary and Art Magazine

The Coeval, meaning "of the same age," is Bethel's undergraduate literary and art magazine. Published each semester, the Coeval is edited by students and advised by the English and Journalism department. See the archive of Coeval issues in the Digital Library

The Clarion Newspaper

The Clarion is Bethel's student newspaper. It has received multiple national awards for writing and photography, and most recently for its website, including being named Best in Show by the Associated Collegiate Press. 


Textura is a J-Term trip that gives students a unique opportunity to practice their photojournalistic skills internationally and work together with graphic designers to turn their content into a magazine. The Textura Guatemala magazine from the 2017 trip to Guatemala received a national Best Feature Magazine award from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP).

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