Literature is central to the human quest for meaning. It’s a unique vehicle for finding ourselves and for navigating our course in an often confusing and complex world. The Department of English at Washington University takes the high promise of literary activity seriously by fostering creativity, nuanced judgement, critical self-reflection, the production and communication of knowledge, and advanced reading, writing, and research skills. The department prides itself on offering small discussion classes and workshops led by individual professors.
For undergraduates, the department offers two majors, English Literature and English Literature with a concentration in creative writing, and two minors, English and Writing. Undergraduate majors are encouraged to join the active honors society, Sigma Tau Delta, and to pursue honors degrees involving original research and one-on-one faculty tutorials. The department is also home to one of the leading MFA in Creative Writing programs in the United States, and offers doctoral programs in English literature and a unique combined program in English and comparative literature.
The English department faculty is a community of active, widely-published literary critics and authors who teach a broad range of courses. The department has been home to three fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as US Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov. Students have the opportunity to attend courses, lectures, and readings by our faculty as well as an ever-changing array of visiting writers and scholar-critics. Recent visitors include renown writers, such as Lydia Davis, George Saunders, Louise Glück, Paul Muldoon, Slavoj Zizek, Amy Hollywood, and Simon Gikandi.