Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Learning Goals


Students who major in English: Literature can expect to achieve the following learning goals:

  • Compose a clear and supportable thesis that gives a paper unity
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding and expression of subject matter in English literature and be able to effectively utilize both primary and secondary sources
  • Display effective organization of information in a paper, including the use of clear topics sentences and paragraphing
  • Demonstrate stylistic sophistication in written expression and to be able to follow a standard documentation style
  • Demonstrate mastery of the conventions of mechanics, grammar, spelling, and capitalization

Creative Writing

Students who major in English: Creative Writing should be able to create work that addresses the following categories:

  • Engaging Subject Matter
  • Thematic Breadth
  • Logical Progression of Thought
  • Specific Detail
  • Natural Voice
  • Excellence in Basic Mechanics (grammar, punctuation, etc.)

Those concentrating on poetry are also responsible for a deep knowledge of poetics—qualities highlighted by (but not limited to) the following list:

  • Compression of Phrasing
  • Imagery and Metaphor
  • Musicality of Language
  • Use of Space (including line and stanza breaks)
  • Use of Rhyme (and other poetic forms, such as villanelles and sestinas)

Those concentrating on fiction are also responsible for knowing its elements, and should be able to formulate their own fictional world view—abilities highlighted by (but not limited to) the following list:

  • Distinguishing and Understanding (the artist’s) Primary Motive for Art
  • Development of Fictional Characters (including action and dialogue)
  • Control of the Scene (including setting and pace)
  • Mastery of Point of View (including narrative voice and distance)
  • Control of the Sentence and Paragraph

In addition, all creative writing majors are expected to provide detailed critical commentary on the work of their peers, thus forcing our majors to articulate matters of craft (which, in turn, allows them to assess their own writing).