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Undergrad

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The English literature major at Bethel nourishes the imagination, the "sacred art of seeing." Studying literature creates the ability to make meaningful connections between the seen and unseen through the study of metaphor and figurative language. The major practices a holistic approach to a traditional field of study that is unique among Bethel University programs and remarkably distinct from most other university literature majors.

Why should I study English 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

The smaller size of the English Literature major makes it easy to manage as part of a double major. Many students pair English Literature with majors in the humanities, social sciences, biblical and theological studies, business, economics, and many of the physical sciences, as well.

What can I do with this degree?

See what our students say about outcomes for majors from the English Department.

In addition to pursuing careers such as teaching and writing, our alumni work as:

  • Corporate trainers
  • Web developers
  • Attorneys
  • Project managers
  • Human resource professionals
  • Marketing professionals

Bethel's English literature graduates also have a strong record for acceptance into top-notch graduate programs in literature at schools like:

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Emory University
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Iowa
  • Cambridge University
  • University of Chicago

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,
  • An understanding of the history and representative works of the British and American literary traditions and those of other cultures

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Study Literature on Location

Study abroad in The England Term, the longest running international program at Bethel, where you’ll get to:

  • Study Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon, his birthplace
  • Learn stage combat techniques from members of the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Read Jane Austen on location in Bath and Lyme Regis
  • Walk through T.S. Eliot's London
  • Hike up Mount Snowden with William Wordsworth
  • Enjoy an ambitious travel itinerary and rigorous cultural events

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

  • Literatures of Faith: Christianity and Islam (on location in the Middle East)
  • World Literature (Japanese or Central and South American)
  • Literature of the Oppressed
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • Travel Writing, taught on location in Japan, Brazil, Cuba, or Australia
  • Media and Communication in Developing Countries

Take Advantage of the Best Internships

Our highly networked faculty members help our majors land excellent internships at places like:

  • Kansas City Star
  • Christianity Today
  • Local literary presses
  • Local community newspapers
  • Important nonprofit organizations

Embody Your Learning

When not reading, our majors also:

  • Participate in a capstone experience that integrates knowledge and skills from previous coursework and suggests and enables avenues for vocation and study beyond the undergraduate level
  • Attend and participate in literary and cultural events such as readings, plays, and period dances
  • Learn about graduate education, career opportunities, and lifelong learning
  • Write for, edit, and publish in peer-reviewed or on-campus publications such as Coeval, the student literary magazine; the Clarion, Bethel’s student newspaper; or Colloquy, the student scholarly journal

Become a Bethel Student