Students choose from a variety of courses within every area of the English major. Because of the range of expertise among our faculty, students may pursue concentrations in a variety of fields—including several historical periods, cultural studies, popular culture, ethnic literatures, film studies, creative writing, and critical theory. In any given semester, we offer courses such as Medieval Epic, Love in the Western World, Mythology, Revenge in Renaissance Drama, 18th-Century Fiction, American Travel Writing, The Bible as Literature, Crime Fiction, Comedy, The Modern American Novel, and National Cinemas. We offer a concentration in Creative Writing, staffed by five published poets and fiction writers, and also an interdisciplinary Journalism Certificate, staffed in large part by working journalists and offering multiple internship possibilities.
Students also enjoy a rich array of extracurricular offerings. There are multiple fiction and poetry readings every semester, bringing a range of emerging and established writers to Buffalo. The Buffalo Film Seminar (a course open to the public in a downtown theater) screens great films weekly in the context of discussion led by practicing film makers. Scholarly lectures abound, as do literary opportunities in the city of Buffalo—from poetry slams to opportunities to meet world-famous writers: in 2008-09, these included Chinua Achebe, Isabelle Allende, and Michael Ondaatje. Students produce their own literary magazine, host their own readings, and form undergraduate clubs on the subjects that most interest them—including, recently, a Shakespeare and a Old and Middle English Club.
Students also work with faculty on scholarly research projects—for example, on Whitman’s Civil War poetry, on popular fiction in the UK, or on the nineteenth-century literature of politeness. In 2007-08, an English major won an international United Nations writing contest and was flown to Paris as part of her prize; another English major received honorable mention in a national essay contest.
The English Minor easily complements multiple areas of study and assists students wanting to hone writing and analytical skills in their major areas of study.
The English Honors program enables students who have a high GPA or are nominated by department faculty to work even more closely with faculty in seminar-style courses, and in writing a senior thesis. Honors students are especially likely to participate with faculty on research projects or as research assistants. In the last few semesters, for example, students have worked with faculty members on projects about Irish literature, Italian horror movies, American short stories, and American film.
The English Department offers numerous prizes:
Additionally, the Oscar A. Silverman undergraduate library offers an Undergraduate Research Prize (won in 2007-08 by an English major) and two poetry prizes:
For more information about our courses, check out The Whole English Catalog.
Students should be in good standing (i.e., have a GPA of 2.0), have satisfied the University Writing Skills requirement, and have completed two courses in the English 202-299 range, at least one of them a literature course, with a minimum GPA in these classes of 2.5.
Application includes a conference with the Director of Undergraduate Studies about the program's requirements and how the student may meet them.
a) One course (3 credits) in Criticism – English 301. Criticism introduces the students to the practice and principles of literary criticism. Classes will discuss the close reading of texts (including poetry, prose, and analytical writing), the intelligent use of secondary sources, the revision of critical prose, the meaning of scholarly conventions, and several varieties of literary theory. Topics vary with instructors’ interests, but in all sections students will draft and revise a research paper of at least twelve pages. Criticism may not fulfill any other requirements for the major.
b) Four courses (12 credits) in Earlier Literature (literature written before 1830), chosen from among specified courses that focus on literature written before 1830.
Breadth of Literary Study course (3 credits). This is a course
focused on literatures that write back to the traditional literary
canon and that represent the diversity of literatures now written
and studied in English-speaking countries and around the
world. Some examples are: 341: Multicultural Autobiography,
343: Native American Literature, 365: Studies in African American
Literature, and 380: Postcolonial Literature.
d) Five elective courses (15 credits) chosen from the 300 and 400 levels, at least one of which MUST be at the 400-level. They may not include more than six credits of Independent Study or any credits earned in an internship.
13 courses (39 credits) in all.
Same as for the full major.
Nine courses (27 credits) in all.
Same as for the full major.
Associate Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies
427 Clemens Hall
Phone: (716) 645-0688
303 Clemens Hall
Phone: (716) 645-2579