The English major at Boston College—one of the largest departments in MCAS, and a cornerstone of the university’s thriving liberal arts program—is designed to illuminate the diverse literary traditions of the past and present. The major offers freedom to choose from a range of subjects, including literary and cultural history, genre, gender, and ethnic studies, and creative writing. In our small, discussion-based courses, you’ll develop and hone skills in critical thinking, writing, and leading discussions that you can take with you into a wide range of careers.
Following a sophomore sequence that helps you develop close reading skills in poetry and narrative, and a small cluster of courses introducing literature’s historical traditions, you’ll work with your faculty adviser to choose among a rich variety of electives. Some recent electives explore well-known authors and genres; others delve into non-canonical writers and newer areas of study, such as Post-Colonial Studies, Film, and Journalism. In your junior and seniors years, you’ll develop depth in one or more of these areas. You’ll have the option to take an Advanced Topic Seminar, and—if your major GPA is over 3.6—you can apply to write a senior thesis (scholarly or creative) in the department’s Honors Program under the guidance of a full-time professor.
The English department is deeply engaged with scholarship in other departments, many English majors minor in other disciplines, while students from other departments often choose to minor in English. In addition, English is home to a number of thriving interdisciplinary programs and initiatives, including American Studies, Digital Humanities, Journalism, The Creative Writing Concentration and Medical Humanities, Health, and Culture.
The department also participates in a number of university-wide programs, such as African and American Diaspora Studies, Asian-American Studies, Irish Studies, Linguistics and Women's and Gender Studies.
Two lecture series are affiliated with the department, along with Poetry Days and Fiction Days, which bring internationally renowned writers to campus, The Lowell Lecture Series and The Park Street Corporation Speaker Series in Health, Humanity, and Ethics.
What about after college?
A generation ago, most English majors headed to law school, teaching, publishing, or graduate programs in literature after graduation. While these paths are still popular, our recent graduates now head off in many new directions. BC English graduates write and produce for television; work as journalists or content designers; work for non-profits; help to build start-ups; work in consulting, as speech-writers or in development; or head off to programs in medicine, public health or business.
Our recent majors have an excellent placement record in a wide range of careers. Employers praise their ability to think deeply and to write with creativity, clarity and concision. Moreover, English majors’ strengths in telling and interpreting stories are highly valued in traditional fields such as law, medicine, and business as well as in new and emerging fields.
Our close liaisons with Career Services introduce majors early on to strategies for finding internships and summer opportunities. As an English major at Boston College, you’ll have ample chance to work with alums and local experts in fields that inspire you.