Department Learning Outcomes

Learning Goals for the English Major

Courses in the English Department have two goals: to teach students to express themselves clearly in writing and speaking, and to help them understand and interpret the great literature of the English-speaking world.

The range of courses offered by the English Department is designed to help students

  • Develop a broad knowledge of literature in English and its historical and national contexts;
  • Practice the interpretation of that literature through close and attentive reading;
  • Become familiar with the critical methods of literary study;
  • Think critically and develop effective arguments in writing and speaking.                                  

Students demonstrate their growing command of these skills through a range of outcomes, from traditional expository and research papers to exams, oral presentations, creative and multimedia projects, archival research, and honors theses.

Learning Goals for the Writing Minor

The range of courses offered in the writing minor is designed to help students:

  • Become fluent in the terminology and key concepts of four genres of imaginative writing: literary nonfiction, poetry, fiction and dramatic writing;
  • Study a variety of modes and traditions within multiple genres;
  • Learn to read as writers, identifying elements of craft in multiple genres;
  • Apply the knowledge of craft and take creative risks in their own work, with the aim of developing a particular voice and vision;
  • Develop a disciplined work ethic, understanding the importance of revision to literary writing;
  • Participate effectively in the workshop process, contributing generously and critically to collaborative peer review;
  • Create well-crafted literary work in more than one genre;
  • Join the community of writers and editors on campus and beyond through attending readings and performances, developing co-curricular programs, and participating in internships.

Learning Goals for Courses that Meet the First-Year Writing Requirement

  1. A student should leave a writing-intensive course thinking of writing as a process, having worked on revisions of several papers in various stages.
  2. A student should gain a number of skills from such a class, and should leave that class having developed stronger abilities in a number of areas:
    • The student should have mastered the development of effective thesis statements;
    • The student should be competent at outlining and developing structure;
    • The student should be adept at paragraphing, especially with reference to development, coherence, and internal transitions;
    • The student should demonstrate command of stylistics, grammar, and mechanics;
    • The student should have a solid grasp of a number of strategies for productive revision;
    • The student should be conversant with standards for documentation.

In addition to major/minor courses, students in the English Department follow the overall liberal arts curriculum of Gettysburg College.  

English Courses that Meet Curricular Goals


  • ENG 205 Introduction to Creative Writing


  • All ENG courses numbered 210 - 289.
  • ENG 371 The Dream of Artificial Wo/Man

Integrative Thinking

  • ENG 333 Victorian Aesthetics

First Year Writing

  • ENG 101 Introduction to College Writing (DOES NOT count toward ENG majors/minors)
  • ENG 111 Writing Through Literature (counts toward ENG majors/minor)
  • ENG 112 Writing Through the Classics (counts toward ENG majors/minor)
  • ENG 113 Writing and the Native American Tradition (counts toward ENG majors/minor)
  • FYS Check PeopleSoft to confirm whether or not a first year seminar meets the first year writing requirement and whether or not it counts toward the ENG majors/minor.

Cultural Diversity


  • ENG 113 Writing and the Native American Tradition


  • ENG 113 Writing and the Native American Tradition
  • ENG 252 Major African American Authors of the 20th Century
  • ENG 253 Images of Women in Literature
  • ENG 257 Sex & Love in Jewish Literature
  • ENG 357 Writing Out of Black Childhood
  • ENG 371 The Dream of Artificial Wo/Man

Science, Technology, and Society

  • ENG 202 Writing Science for Citizen Activists
  • ENG 371 The Dream of Artificial Wo/Man

For curriculum information related to the Education Minor, visit the Education Department.