The Bachelor of Arts degree in English is designed to give students an excellent background in the arts and sciences while helping them become sophisticated "producers" and "consumers" of texts, both written and spoken. In other words, the English major promotes the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear in speaking, writing, listening, and reading.
Additionally, the program fosters a view of literature as what critic Kenneth Burke calls "equipment for living." Burke suggests that in exploring literary works, readers are "trying on" the perspectives of different writers and characters. Such activities can help readers develop a capacity for empathy-particularly in examining the work of marginalized groups-as well as a store of strategies to employ in the readers' own encounters with the world.
Finally, through their development of sensitivity to matters of literary art, students open themselves to what Marshall Gregory calls "art's dimension of mystery . . . the suggestiveness, emotiveness, and inexhaustible power that language can acquire when it is used as art." The ability to avail themselves of that power enriches English majors as they explore the wide variety of career paths open to them.