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☰ In This Section

The English literature major at Bethel nourishes the imagination—the "sacred art of seeing." Studying literature creates meaningful connections between the seen and unseen through the study of metaphor and figurative language.

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

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.

What can I do with this degree?

See what our students say about outcomes of their degree from the English department.

Many of our graduates pursue teaching and writing. But because Bethel's English degree equips students with essential strategic thinking, analytical and communication skills, our students also enter a variety of other careers, taking roles as: 

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

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
  • A comprehensive understanding of literary study, including contexts, critical approaches, and methods for interpretation
  • An understanding of the history and representative works of British and American literary traditions and those of other cultures

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Study literature on location

Study abroad on 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

Our students also find many other opportunities to study English abroad, in countries including:

  • Australia
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • England
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • Russia
  • Scotland
  • Spain

Take advantage of the best internships

The Twin Cities is home to many publishing houses, news outlets, and other distinguished creative businesses. Our highly networked faculty members have helped our majors land excellent internships at places like:

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

Delve into unexplored literature

Our program is designed to go beyond traditional literature study; that's why we've introduced courses like our rotating Topics in Literature Studies, where students delve into "Monster Literature," "Big Bad Books" (studying evil in literature) and "American Giants" (studying three of America's most prolific novelists). In addition, we offer robust studies of juvenile literature and inter-faith literature—meant to position students as experts of these genres. 

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 the Coeval, the student literary magazine; The Clarion, Bethel’s student newspaper; or the Colloquy, the student scholarly journal
  • Participate in our annual poetry contest for the Jerry Healy Poetry Prize
  • Attend literary society, networking and national conference events

0 full-time faculty in the department

0%+ students who score in the 95th percentile on the Major Field Test in Literature

Upcoming Events

NOV 9 2017

Involving Yourself in the Publishing Process

11:15 a.m. BU Library Fireside Lounge

Celebrate the publication of Dr. Phyllis Alsdurf's newest book and discuss the process.

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 department. See the archive of Coeval issues in the Digital Library

Royal Report

The Royal Report is the outlet for our Journalism students exploring writing, photography, and video content. The Medium site features students' story assignments and captivating images. The Royal Report Youtube channel features short vignettes and stories that provide a deeper look into the people and issues at Bethel. 

Become a Bethel Student

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