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English Literature and Writing Major

The English Literature and Writing major provides students with a solid foundation in literature and an extraordinary opportunity to create literature as a writer. While reading literary models, students more readily build upon literary devices in their own work. In our classes, students read about the human experience through great works and pen their own experience through creative writing under the guidance of dedicated Christian professors who are published writers themselves.

Why should I study English literature and writing?

Several global crises of the 21st century have been attributed to "colossal failures of imagination. We teach literature and writing with a keen sense of their relevance for our world, emphasizing literary study and creative writing as disciplines of the imagination that develop 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?

The Literature and Writing program energizes and equips students to develop meaningful career paths that fully utilize the skills, knowledge, and passion they gain as majors.

Our professors are well-connected with the writing and publishing communities both locally and nationwide, providing students with top internship opportunities where skills can be developed further. Courses such as Literary Theory and the Senior Seminar are designed to give students interested in graduate study the skills and materials they need to make competitive applications.

Our graduates have gone on to prestigious literature and creative writing programs at:

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

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

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

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

What skills will I develop?

  • Research
  • Effective communication
  • How to think clearly and creatively
  • How to develop and deliver effective presentations
  • Quick learning
  • Understanding writing as a process
  • How to invent, revise, critique, and publish
  • Conduct literary analysis and research
  • Recognize techniques of craft in literary texts
  • How to develop and edit longer writing projects and prepare them for publication
  • How to apply knowledge to the forces that converge in literary study such as contexts, critical approaches, and methods for interpretation

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Write on Location:

  • The England Term program, the longest running international program at Bethel with a unique, ambitious travel itinerary and rigorous cultural engagement.
  • 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 on location in Japan, Brazil, Cuba, or Australia
  • Media and Communication in Developing Countries

Learn from accomplished faculty writers:

  • Joey Horstman in Revolve
  • Marion Larson in The Journal of College and Character
  • April Schmidt in Ruminate
  • Dan Ritchie in First Things

Mark Bruce, in his recent anthology, The Anglo-Scottish Borders and the Shaping of Identity: 1300-1600, worked with distinguished scholars from such diverse institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley; Hamilton University; Cornell University; Auburn University; the University of Oxford; and the University of Nottingham. They are devoted instructors, actively engaged in the writing community, such as Angela Shannon who serves on the board at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Plug in to a vibrant community of writers:

Students are required to attend professional literary events and are encouraged to submit their own work for publication and scholarly scrutiny. Recently, student work was published in the national literary journal Catfish Creek, and 3 of our students were selected to read at a national literary conference this year, with 1 student taking top honors.

You will also become aware of writing-related communities (i.e. Associated Writing Programs, the Loft Literary Center, Calvin's Festival of Faith and Writing) that sustain the practice and profession of creative writing and publishing.

Get personal mentoring:

Creative writing courses are deliberately kept small, following best practices in writing pedagogy and giving each student a chance to receive personal feedback from the instructor. Similar to graduate creative writing programs, students learn how to give and receive feedback through peer writing workshops. Such small group workshops help students to sharpen their craft and build writing communities.

Develop a professional portfolio:

On-campus student writing opportunities include:

  • The Coeval, a student-run journal published once a semester. Students serve as editors and authors and do public readings in celebration of their accomplishments
  • The Clarion, Bethel’s student newspaper
  • The Colloquy, a peer-reviewed journal of student scholarship

Become a Bethel Student