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Major in English

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Over the last one-hundred-and-sixty years, the Beloit literary tradition has developed, most notably, The Beloit Fiction Journal and The Beloit Poetry Journal. The English Department is home to distinguished literary scholars and to one of the nation's first and most highly regarded undergraduate creative writing programs. Beloit also hosts the Lois and Willard Mackey'45 Chair in Creative Writing, which brings writers of international renown to campus each year as teachers. Mackey chair holders teach creative writing to small seminars of Beloit students. Mackey Chairs have included Raymond Carver, Billy Collins, Ursula LeGuin, Denise Levertov, Bei Dao, and Amy Hempel. 

The Majors

Students who study English at Beloit have the choice of two majors: literary studies and creative writing. Each major begins with a core curriculum that focuses on the methods of literary study, English-language literature, and creative writing. After these courses, each major pursues a more specialized course of study, supported by advanced creative writing workshops and by various classes on literature and culture.

Literary Studies

These majors explore a range of approaches to understanding and appreciating literatures in English. Majors examine artistic forms, historical contexts, and the social significance of diverse literary works, as well as how the discipline engages with other media (such as film) and discourses (such as science). Literary studies majors develop critical thinking, reading, writing, and communication skills that are uniquely cultivated by literary study and broadly effective beyond it.

Creative Writing

In this major students practice creative composition in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and writing for performance. Their creative work is informed by the critical study and appreciation of literature, both past and present. Creative writing students may also assist in editing the Beloit Fiction Journal.

We have changed our major requirements to highlight senior capstone opportunities and links between literary studies and creative writing. The English Department encourages majors who have declared before fall of 2012 to pursue the Pre-Fall 2012 Major Requirements.  Majors declaring during and after fall 2012 should pursue the current requirements. We encourage current majors to consult the following guidelines, forms, and resources. 

Writing And Publishing At Beloit

Beloit's English department features the highly-regarded Beloit Fiction Journal. The Journal publishes the best in new fiction and includes undergraduate students on its editorial staff. (See a profile of the journal.)

The English Department sponsors several writing contests each year. Students make substantial contributions to Pocket Lint, a student-run literary journal, and to the Round Table, one of the nation's earliest student newspapers, complete with its own literary supplement. More generally, students have found Beloit to be a vibrant community for creative writers and literary critics; the campus supports a remarkable number of literary readings and writing groups, in addition to a small press for in-house publications. The Department also hosts an annual visiting writer series.

The Literary Magazine Review writes of us: "For whatever reason, Beloit, Wisconsin, has been important to the publication of serious writing in the U.S. out of all proportion to its size."  

Futures For English Majors         

Beloit English majors complete many local and national internships at newspapers, public relations firms, radio and television stations, and NGOs. Although many majors pursue work related to these internships, others go into high school teaching, law school, business writing, social media, graduate school in English, and employment in many other fields. Some of our top alumni teach at Harvard, Stanford, Rochester, and Macalester. Others have published award-winning novels and collections of poetry. Our graduates have used their skills in publishing and editing for employers as varied as Groupon, Business Week, and Adventure Travel; and in newspaper and magazine writing for outlets ranging from the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times to The National Geographic and The New Yorker.


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Department of English |  700 College St  |  Beloit College |  Beloit, WI  53511 |  (608) 363-2079