College Record 2019-2020


At Keuka College the study of English is motivated by the belief that literature can make things happen. Students have a chance to study all the great authors, but at the same time students will be asking how that knowledge can be applied in the world beyond the classroom.  What makes Keuka College’s English program unique is our focus on the value of English in the Wider World.

Through the study of literature as well as through practice in writing, students majoring or minoring in English are encouraged to develop a greater sensitivity to the power of language and storytelling to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. Thus, the English program consists of two major components— literature and writing—each intended to enhance students’ appreciation for, and capacity in, verbal expression and communication.

The benefits of such a program are both practical and personal. The study of English can help make us more aware of the range of human experiences, and, at the same time, help us express our own perceptions of that experience with greater cogency and creativity. In addition, students of English can offer prospective employers an array of skills that are much in demand in today’s work force: the ability to communicate effectively, to think rigorously and creatively, to manage and interpret knowledge, and to adapt themselves readily to new circumstances in a rapidly changing world.

Graduates in English may go on to careers in business, communications, teaching, human services, law, government, finance, and careers not yet envisioned because they don't yet exist: any field in which creative thinking and effective communication are important. They also may pursue graduate work in the humanities, journalism, business, law, medicine, education, library science, social services, or many other areas.

Indeed, one of the reasons why so many people choose to study English is that it is a major taken seriously by graduate schools and employers. Employers value the fact that our graduates are smart, analytical, and know how to express themselves clearly. It’s no coincidence, for example, that students in Humanities majors, such as English, tend to perform well on the entrance exams for business school, law school, or medical school.

In short, being an English major prepares students for just about any career imaginable. Students at Keuka College build close relationships with the faculty, and we help students craft resumés and gain experience through internships in our signature Field Period program. Students leave our program well-prepared for the next part of their life – professionally, academically, and personally.

The English program has identified in particular the following student learning goals:

  1. Students will demonstrate their understanding of how language and literature shape and influence our world;
  2. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate the various reasons for reading (i.e., pleasure, knowledge, instruction, human interaction) and the tensions that exist among them;
  3. Students will recognize and critique texts from major literary genres and from major literary periods and traditions;
  4. Students will identify literary and rhetorical strategies and analyze how those strategies create multiple levels of meaning (literal, implied, and symbolic);
  5. Students will construct and defend their own well-researched interpretive arguments (in both oral and written forms) in response to texts and in relation to other critical perspectives; and
  6. Students will identify and analyze the ways in which diverse social, cultural, historical, and technological factors affect and shape literary production, dissemination, and reception.

English majors may choose a concentration in writing/ communications or creative writing.  Pairing the English major with minors in, for example, management, marketing, design, art and design, digital studies, or psychology can help students develop competitive edges by focusing and enhancing students' skills.  

Honors in English may be earned by students who meet the following criteria: (1) maintain a GPA of 3.6 in courses required for the English major; (2) receive at least an A- in the capstone course, ENG 450 Senior Seminar; and (3) be approved by the English faculty.

Adolescent English Education

Students majoring in adolescent English education prepare for careers in teaching English at the junior and senior high school level. Requirements can be found under “Requirements for Adolescent Education,” as described in the Education section.