Degree Outcomes

Degree Outcomes in English Literature

Objective: Our aim is to ensure that all English majors and minors receive a well-rounded background in English literature. For an Honours English major, we define “well-rounded” as some knowledge of all the different periods, geographies, and genres of literature written in English and the different applied and theoretical approaches to the study of literature; writing by women and by men; the historical development of English as a language and as a literary medium; and the relation of English literature to other world literary and cultural traditions.

Skills a BU English Honours graduate should possess at the point of graduation:

  1. superior written, oral, and aural communication skills: the ability to write clear, engaging prose with confidence and style on complex issues; to write in a variety of styles to suit the required occasion (e.g. informal response, impartial reportage, formal academic discourse); to edit/revise one’s own writing and the written work of others; to speak extemporaneously in public on complex subjects with ease and poise; to listen to and grasp the complex ideas articulated by others.
  2. superior powers of critical thinking: the ability to recognize strong and weak arguments; to analyze complex data; to marshall evidence in the formulation of a reasoned, logical judgement; to organize complex information in succinct ways.
  3. the ability to closely analyze a text for its themes and for the rhetorical strategies which manipulate the response of its reader/viewer; to read texts from different time periods in a variety of genres and media (including theatre, film, and other cultural media).
  4. an awareness that any text can be read in multiple ways; that more than one legitimate ‘meaning’ can derive from any text.
  5. an awareness of the need to situate a text within its historical/social/cultural frame; knowledge of English’s changing place in the world as a language and as a cultural medium.
  6. an awareness of the limits of knowledge: the problematics of intentionality; the malleability and ambiguity of language as a tool of communication.
  7. the knowledge of the different themes and social/cultural issues that literature deals with at different points in time; knowledge of the major shifts in approaches to writing literature and their political, social, economic and cultural contexts; knowledge of changing social attitudes toward class, religion, race, gender, and sexuality as reflected in literature.
  8. the knowledge of the different theories (classical, medieval, modern, post-modern) about literature; about the forms, functions, and purposes of literature.
  9. creative problem solving.
  10. knowledge of cultural interaction, the politics of language and identity, the effects of global imperialism and of globalization.
  11. the ability to engage in independent research; to identify, propose and develop one’s own subject for critical investigation; to find and use appropriate secondary and critical sources correctly (information literacy); to manage one’s time effectively and to produce quality work under pressure.