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Kansas Wesleyan University

If you command the English language, you command the words and ideas that make things happen. Effective language is essential to all genres of writing and communication, whether they be speeches, news stories, website content, novels, movies – or even classroom curriculum. In our current age of information and entertainment, those who understand and can command the power of language will find many doors open to them.

Studying English at Kansas Wesleyan University will prepare you intellectually to understand complex texts, develop strong arguments and communicate elegantly and effectively—skills that are highly valued in the workplace. You will also become familiar with the works of literature that have shaped Western Civilization along with literary voices from other cultures.

A degree in English prepares you to become a nimble, adaptable citizen of the world as it also equips you with marketable skills.

This program is offered:

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    On Campus

Why study English at KWU? We train you to communicate!

Small classes and individual attention characterize the English programs at KWU. The English Department at KWU will give you opportunities to study and work with faculty one-on-one.

  • Learn in small, seminar-style classes, in which you’ll learn and discuss works of writing in depth.
  • Participate in an independent study, working one-on-one with a KWU faculty member on a research or writing project of your choosing.


Mission Statement

The mission of the English Department at Kansas Wesleyan University is to develop in all students good writing, critical reading, knowledge of language and literature, and cultural understanding. Students will acquire these abilities by engaging in the vibrancy and real-world applications of English studies, which will include studying timely texts and topics, writing purposefully for multiple audiences using current mediums, and completing successfully a local internship.

The department offers majors in English, English with a Writing Emphasis, and English Education, as well as a minor in English. Most courses which apply to the English major are taught in alternate years.

Program Goals

Students who complete the Bachelor of Arts in English will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of American and English Literary History, world literature, and the history and work of minority authors writing in these literary traditions
  • Demonstrate the ability to close read and analyze literary texts with attention to relevant social, cultural, and historical contexts, as well as connect these readings to relevant scholarship.
  • Compose original written texts clearly, effectively, and grammatically with attention to elements of the writers craft, audience and purpose, genre, and technological medium
  • Use and evaluate outside sources effectively
  • Utilize their skills effectively to complete a successful internship or English Language Arts clinical practice.

English Minor Requirements

The student must complete 18 Credit Hours in English courses, excluding ENGL 120 and ENGL 121.

English Course Descriptions

ENGL 090: Basic Writing (1 credit hour – Fall)

This course is a basic writing course designed to introduce students to college writing and prepare them for similar (but more demanding) writing of Introductory English Composition, the entry-level writing course. The primary focus is on basic skills (punctuation, spelling, mechanics), issues of style at the sentence/paragraph level, and structure and organization for essay writing. The course will be a combination of whole group and individual instruction based on diagnostic indicators. This course is graded as pass/fail and credit for this course will not count toward graduation. Credit for this course will not count toward graduation.

ENGL 118: College Writing (4 hrs: Fall and Spring)

This course covers academic writing skills, including drafting, revising and proofreading thesis-driven texts. Students will develop critical reading and thinking skills as they use writing to create personally meaningful texts to share with others. Assignments build from personal experience and expand to incorporate outside sources and writing to multiple audiences. Students will extensively review the conventions of edited Standard English in the context of their written assignment and practice formal and informal modes of writing to increase their fluency. This course prepares students for written assignments in other college courses as well as for lifelong goals as writers. A grade of “C-” or higher is required to take ENGL121. Students with a 16 or lower ACT score are required to take ENGL118 instead of ENGL120. This course fulfills a WI (Writing Intensive) requirement.

ENGL 120: Introduction to English Composition (3 credit hours – Fall and Spring)

This course covers descriptive, narrative, expository, and argumentative writing, as required for successful college study and the responsibilities of a well-educated person. It includes a concentrated review of the principles of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics, as well as research and documentation. Students who receive a “C” or better in ENGL 120 at KWU will receive credit for passing the English Proficiency Exam.

ENGL 121: Intermediate English Composition (3 credit hours – Fall and Spring)

This course includes argumentative and persuasive writing, critical analysis and interpretation of various kinds of rhetoric, and study of ethical problems involved in rhetoric, as well as logic, library research, and documentation. Students prepare a term paper. Prerequisites: ENGL 120 or equivalent.

ENGL 125: Introduction to Literature (3 credit hours – On Demand)

This course is an introduction to literature as a humane art (that is, an especially enriching means of sharing human experience). Various genres are studied, including poetry, fiction, and drama. Prerequisites: ENGL 120 or equivalent.

ENGL 206: World Literature (3 credit hours – On Demand)

The purpose of World Literature is to introduce the students to a variety of literary texts which have greatly influenced culture around the world. Readings are chosen from the literary traditions of several nations and cultures from ancient times up to the twentieth century. Prerequisite: ENGL 121

ENGL 209: Major British Authors I (3 credit hours – Odd Year Fall)

This course surveys British literature from its beginnings to 1785.

ENGL 210: From Myths and Magic to Villains and Verse (3 credit hours – Fall and Spring)

One of the best ways to learn more about ourselves and to expand our worldviews is to engage the rich variety of perspectives offered to us in literature. Through reading, different beliefs, views, and locations come alive, and we can situate our own values and ethics in relation to those espoused by literary figures. This course will challenge you, through such comparative analysis, to examine your own beliefs and to create a plan for future success in a variety of different areas. Topics for the class will encompass specific historical periods, and students will survey significant literary and cultural influences in these eras. ENGL 210A will include the study of the history and development of the English language, since students will be reading texts from the Anglo-Saxon period through the modern era. Prerequisite: ENGL 120

Eras in Literature:

A: Early British Literature

This course surveys British literature from its beginnings to 1785.

B: Later British Literature

This course surveys British literature from the beginning of the Romantic Period to the present

C: Early American Literature

This course surveys American literature from the Colonial Period through the nineteenth century.

D: Later American Literature

This course surveys American literature from the end of the nineteenth century to the present.

ENGL 245: Literature for Young Adults (3 credit hours – Even Year Spring)

Designed especially for prospective teachers of English language arts, this course acquaints students with the range of literature suitable for young adults (also known as adolescents). The course will also explore theories of and various approaches to teaching adolescent literature.

ENGL 260: Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credit hours – Even Year Fall)

An introductory course that focuses on the craft of writing the major literary genres: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama. The primary focus for the course will be on how to generate new work that has depth and quality, as well as how to read published works in order to recognize creative writing styles, techniques, structure, and meaning, in service for inspiration.

ENGL 265: Studies in Writing (3 credit hours – Odd Year Spring)

This course is designed to allow students to engage in intensive study of a particular genre of writing. The topics for the course will vary, but there will be a two year, every-other-year rotation of creative writing and other professional writing courses. Topics may include: Poetry, Digital Writing, Fiction, The Art of the Review, Script Writing, and Sports Writing for Media. Under different subtitles, this course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: ENGL 120

ENGL 270: Eco-Writing (3 credit hours – Odd Year Fall)

Eco-Writing introduces students to writing practices that directly engage with how we see, represent, experience, damage, draw inspiration from, and create the physical environment. Such writing practices in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been born out of a response to the ecological crisis. Creative people find we need to process and respond to the crisis in order to not become totally numb. Art enables us to sort out how this ecological emergency is impacting our lives and those of our communities. The writing practices also help us to imagine a future where humans can live in better harmony with each other and the natural world. Students will experiment with different types of eco-writing and approaches and develop some aesthetic strategies for engaging an audience in environmental concerns.

ENGL 275: Writing in the Digital Age: Crafting Multimedia (3 credit hours – Even Year Spring)

Radical changes in all forms of publication have given people an opportunity to “write” in many ways, but what is required to create effective materials in this wide variety of media? Students will have the opportunity to craft different types of multimedia texts and refine them with the help of their peers and the instructor. In a way that will be engaging for both the tech-savvy and the technologically challenged, students will learn to use tools for creating multimedia and will begin to develop a digital portfolio that they can build upon in the future. The seminar will also encourage students to examine the advantages and disadvantages of different applications and distribution channels. Along the way, we will consider the issues of intellectual property, copyright, fair use and plagiarism and see how these issues are evolving in the digital age.

ENGL 286: Special Topics (Variable Credit – On Demand)

This course provides the opportunity for intensive study of special topics and selected materials for underclassmen. Under different subtitles this course may be repeated for credit. Possible topics include Introduction to Creative Writing and Introduction to the Short Story. Prerequisite: ENGL 121 or equivalent.

ENGL 296: Borders/Crossings (3 credit hours – Fall and Spring)

Our world has never been more interconnected than it is today, and thus there has never been a greater need for an understanding and consideration of perceived “differences” of all types among people and cultures. Therefore, the course will explore borders, whether spatial, metaphoric, real, or imagined, and literal and figurative attempts to cross them. Particular attention will be paid to the consequences at stake with such attempts. Students will analyze different types of literary texts (such as prose, poetry, drama, etc.), and non-print sources may also be used. The acquisition an evaluation of secondary sources will also enable students to contextualize the meaning of the literature with respect to the current significance of borders and crossings. Students will create a substantive interpretation of one or more texts. Upon completion of this class, students will be more astute critical readers and thinkers, have more refined writing skills, and possess a richer understanding of their world and the expressive acts that contribute to it. With different subheadings, this course is repeatable for cred. Prerequisite: ENGL 120

ENGL 301: Shakespeare: Past and Present (3 hrs: Odd Year Spring)

Shakespeare’s influence on the world has been profound. From language, to literature, to cultural references, one does not need to look far to find some intersection with the bard. Thus, this class will focus upon the influences on Shakespeare, and students will analyze a variety of his texts. Additionally, we will consider Shakespeare’s influence on the modern world through contemporary adaptions of his works. With these adaptions, students will be analyzing film. Finally, students will participate in a project that helps them understand how literature can continue to have a significant impact on our world. Prerequisite: ENGL 121 or equivalent.

ENGL 302: History and Development of the English Language (3 credit hours – Odd Year Spring)

This course will provide background in basic concepts of linguistics, principles of language change and historical linguistic study, the development of the English language, and basic applied sociolinguistics. Designed to introduce undergraduates, especially English and English Education majors, to concepts of history, structure and development of language, this course will prepare students for further academic linguistic study, literary criticism, and teaching. This course is required for an ESL endorsement.

ENGL 307: Studies in World Literature (3 credit hours – Even Year Fall)

This course provides the opportunity for an intensive study of special topics and selected texts in world literature (that is, literature not originating in the British Isles or in what is now the United States). Possible topics include Modern European Literature, Symbolism as an International Movement, The African Novel, Contemporary South American Fiction, Tragedy, Comedy, Sartre and Camus, Comparative Mythology. Prerequisite: ENGL121 or the equivalent

ENGL 380: English Practicum (3 credit hours – On Demand)

This course includes a focused study of basic grammar (including both mechanics and usage) and instruction in teaching composition. It also includes guided practice in the evaluation and grading of tests and composition. This course must be taken before student teaching. This course is a requirement for an ESL endorsement.

ENGL 386: The Wesleyan Journey (1-6 credit hours – On Demand)

This course combines service learning with travel, either domestic or abroad, to provide students an opportunity to strengthen values and abilities, in addition to learning specific academic content. The service projects will be linked to the academic content of the class, and the course may require a co-requisite or stand alone as its own special topics course. Credit varies based on the length of the journey and may involve additional fees for travel. Prerequisite: INTD 110 is recommended but not required for this course.

ENGL 404: Seminar in Literary Criticism (3 credit hours – On Demand)

The seminar includes a historical review of major approaches to literary criticism and an application of critical methods to individual projects culminating in seminar papers. It is a capstone for majors in English, English Education, and Literature and Language. Open to juniors and seniors with those majors.

ENGL 460: Internship in English (2-8 credit hours – On Demand)

This course offers an intensive field experience with a community organization. Placement will be based on the student’s career orientation. Prerequisite: Departmental approval and satisfaction of entry criteria where applicable. See Internship under Alterative Means to Academic Credit for a more detailed description.

ENGL 485: Senior Seminar (3 credit hours – Even Year Fall)

This course provides the opportunity for intensive study of special topics and selected materials for upperclassmen. It is a capstone for majors in English, English with Writing Emphasis, and English Education. Open to juniors and seniors with those majors.

ENGL 490: Independent Study (Variable Credit3 – On Demand)

Independent Study consists of research, readings, or other scholarly investigation or creative work. See Independent Study under Alternate Means to Academic Credit for a more detailed description.

Program Contact

For more information, contact Dr. Melissa Rohrer, Assistant Professor of English, Chair of the Department of English, or call (785) 833-4365.