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Converse EnglishAre you captivated by the written word? Do you enjoy exploring literature, both classic and contemporary? Are you intrigued by Shakespeare’s sonnets, narratives of the American South,
modernist poetry, and contemporary fiction?

Consider majoring in English at Converse. Majoring in English opens the door to a myriad of careers in every field. By studying and analyzing literature, students gain the skills to express ideas effectively and confidently, both in academic and professional settings.

Degrees Offered

About English

The undergraduate program in English at Converse will prepare you for a broad range of careers and graduate study. Employers and graduate programs alike value the ability to read carefully, write effectively and think critically. Our faculty of award-winning scholars and writers will assist you in developing marketable skills for the next step of your journey.

Converse English ProgramConverse allows you to work directly with acclaimed scholars and writers at every level of your study as an English major. Our small class sizes allow for significant personal interaction with faculty and visiting scholars and writers.

  • You will emerge as a skilled reader, writer and critical thinker with a strong foundation in literary studies as well as a professional network of peers and industry leaders.
  • You will have the opportunity to work one on one with faculty on your undergraduate research projects
  • Converse hosts prestigious academic conferences and symposia which give students exposure to top scholars and the latest in academic scholarship right on campus.
  • The Writer-in-Residence program gives students the chance to experience weekly one-on-one tutorials along with a series of master class workshops with an acclaimed visiting writer. This program is available during Jan term, every other year.

Be part of an award-winning tradition

Converse has a long history of developing award-winning writers and scholars. Current students and recent grads have continued this tradition, earning such awards as:

  • The Hub City Prize for Creative Non-Fiction
  • Placement as one of five college students chosen for the Georgia Pacific Scholarship
  • Finalist for a Fulbright scholarship
  • The award for the best student paper and best student presentation in the Humanities at the Upstate Research Symposium

Our faculty has received the following teaching awards:

  • O’Herron Award for Faculty Excellence
  • Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award
  • Curriculum Innovation Award
  • The South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award

Hands-On Experience

As an English major, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience with the student-edited literary magazine, Concept, as well as the student-run online newspaper The Conversationalist. You’ll work alongside our seasoned English department faculty and Creative & Professional Writing students to hone your editing techniques, business skills and critical thinking skills in a professional environment.

Conferences & Symposia

Converse regularly hosts academic conferences and symposia. These attract top scholars and allow our English majors to explore the hottest currents of academic scholarship without even leaving campus!

The Victorians Institute is an organization of scholars and students with a passion for British literature, culture, and history during the Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 – 1901). The Institute sponsors the award winning Victorians Institute Journal (VIJ), as well as an annual meeting that gathers together scholars and students from the U. S. and abroad to focus on a specific theme of interest and importance to Victorian studies. Converse has had the honor of hosting the conference on three occasions: 2006, 2009 and 2015. The theme for the most recent conference was “Victorian Work and Labor.”

Bringing History to Life: A Young Adult Historical Fiction Conference brought NY Times Best-seller author Ruta Sepetys as well as teachers, students and writers for a one-day intensive exploration of the genre of YA Historical Fiction. After the conference, Converse English majors and honors students enjoyed a pizza party with the internationally-acclaimed author. In the words of student Shianna Whitner ’15, “It was amazing to be able to interact with someone who has achieved such a level of success in not only one but two fields.”

Converse College English Study TravelStudy Travel

Converse provides students with incredible study-travel experiences. You can explore the ruins of Tintagel Castle in England, view Renaissance-era art and architecture in Tuscany, or explore the rich heritage of Modern Irish Literature in Dublin. The destinations vary from year to year, but the experience is always life-changing.

Students spent 8 days in Paris as part of an interdisciplinary spring study-travel course which explored the writings of American expatriates in Paris in the early 20th century. Sanuja Goonetilleke gives us an insider’s view into her eight-day spring break adventure. READ THE STORY

Visiting Writers

The Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Visiting Writer Series brings accomplished writers to campus multiple times a year. These veteran writers give public readings and meet with writing and literature students both in class and informally, such as casual writer/student lunches in Gee Dining Hall.

The biennial Sara Lura Mathews Self Writer-In-Residence program offers students the chance to experience an intensive, one-month mentoring relationship and class with a nationally distinguished poet or fiction writer.

Honors English Major Kathleen HinesIndependent Research

Converse leads the state in the number of student/faculty research proposals funded by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium. Students have the opportunity to apply for and receive research grants to do research on primary sources in literature. Students with great research projects may then be funded to present their research at events like the National Undergraduate Literature Conference.

Central to any English major is the study of great works of literature. At Converse, students find courses that introduce them to significant authors, genres, and literary movements, as well as the cultural contexts of literature. A strong background in classic and contemporary literature, combined with experience in creative and professional writing, will prepare students for graduate study, professional careers, or any field where effective communication and sound critical thinking are essential.

With an average class size of 12 to 15 students, students have one on one guidance by committed and talented faculty. The English major begins with a course in literary criticism, introducing students to new concepts and theories. This allows for a fuller understanding of the aims and uses of literature. This culminates with a senior capstone project, where students have an opportunity to produce a major research paper and hone the critical skills they have developed.

BA in English

With a BA in English you will develop abilities in critical thinking and proficient writing as you study literary texts and criticism, spanning across historical periods, genres, and traditions. During the fall semester of your senior year, you will complete the capstone course for literature majors. This course and its final project, both written and oral, will represent the culmination of student achievement. The BA requires a total of 36 semester hours beyond Converse’s general education requirements.

BA in English, Creative Writing Concentration

This option includes 15 hours in creative writing, in addition to the required literature and literary criticism courses. The BA in English with a Creative Writing concentration requires a total of 39 semester hours beyond Converse’s general education requirements.

Minor in English

An English minor is a great complement to any major, sharpening your skills in writing and critical analysis and offering an edge in just about every career market. The English minor is flexible, requiring a minimum of 18 hours of coursework above the 100 level but allowing you to choose your courses in consultation with the department chair.

Sample Courses

  • Victorian Childhood in Text and on Film
  • Environmental Writing and Criticism (travel study course in Costa Rica)
  • Text and Textuality: A course in digital humanities
  • Studies in Virginia Woolf
  • The Jazz Age: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
  • Victorian Ghost Stories
  • American Gothic
  • American Popular Literature: From the Dimestore to the Book Club
  • Digital Journalism

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

What are common careers in English?

  • Journalist
  • Advertising Executive
  • Editor
  • Archivist
  • Communications Director
  • Public Relations Consultant
  • Blogger
  • Teacher
  • Columnist
  • Technical Writer
  • Proofreader
  • Playwright

What are English alumnae doing?

Grad Schools
Converse English graduates have been accepted to graduate and professional programs in English, Creative and Professional Writing, Law, Communications/Journalism, and Religious Studies at the following:

  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Indiana University
  • Boston University
  • Emerson College
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Western Carolina University
  • University of South Carolina
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Winthrop University
  • West Virginia University

Jobs
Converse English graduates forge successful careers in a variety of positions and serve as leaders within such organizations as:

  • The South Carolina Supreme Court
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Sotheby’s
  • Vermont Arts Council
  • Communications Director for United States Congressional Representative
  • Deputy Assistant Director in Communication for the Bush Administration
  • United States National Archives

Accolades

Current students and recent grads have also distinguished themselves with honors and awards in writing including:

  • The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Award (poetry)
  • X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
  • Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize (finalist)
  • Winner of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative Chapbook Prize
  • Finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award

English Stories