Sweet Briar’s English department offers a breadth of courses in literature, creative writing, expository writing and film. The Department offers majors and minors in English and in English/creative writing. In addition, it is the anchor of the Medieval and Renaissance studies minor at Sweet Briar.

What unites these varied courses is an appreciation for the value and power of language as both an aesthetic medium and a social force. Here, you will learn to read analytically, to write persuasively, and to think both creatively and probingly. You will also take part in a thousand-year-old tradition of shaping yourself and your world through the study, and the pleasures, of English language and literature.

Why Should I Study English?

The joys of imagination and discovery bring many students to literature, creative writing and film. We welcome and celebrate that delight, and we offer students the academic tools and the support they need to deepen both their understanding and enjoyment of language and film.

The skills and habits of mind that students develop through the study of English are also marketable in today’s competitive global economy. Employers value creativity, analytical thinking and effective communication, as well as historical perspective, cultural awareness and the ability to understand and synthesize the views of others. All these attributes and skills are mainstays of a major or minor from the English department. In addition, the insights derived from reading and writing are as valuable to students in the professions and the natural and social sciences as they are to students in the humanities.

What Can I Do With an English Major?

The skills gained from the study of English at Sweet Briar prepare students for the challenges of advanced study and for the rigors of the workforce. The evidence is clear: In recent years, Sweet Briar English majors and minors have gone on both to world-class graduate programs in English, creative writing, law, journalism and business, as well as to successful careers in education, publishing, marketing, journalism, business, finance, public relations, communications and library and information science. Faculty members, distinguished alumnae and members of the English Advisory Council are eager to talk with prospective majors and minors about the benefits of pursuing their degree with us in the English department, and Sweet Briar’s nationally-ranked Career Services is dedicated to helping students find rewarding employment after college.

Reading Books... And What Else?

Sweet Briar English majors are supported both in and out of the classroom. Classes are small and discussion-based, giving each student the opportunity — and responsibility — to ask questions, to push past their preconceptions and to join in a community that respects and values ideas. Professors get to know their students well and expect students to take an active and interested role in their own learning.

Students’ curricular studies are supported by a broad range of additional opportunities and activities. Just for starters, students can participate in internships, study abroad, field trips, the English Honor Society, the English Journal, our Film Series, our literary magazine Red Clay, and our student newspaper The Sweet Briar Voice.