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The English and Comparative Literature curriculum at HWS begins with traditional coverage of great literature, renowned authors and classic genres. The English department not only focuses on the conventional, it encourages students to explore special concentrations through programs in critical theory, film, theatre, and particular century or national tradition.

English offers a disciplinary major, a B.A., and a disciplinary minor.

Course List

If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in English or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 12 courses

ENG 200; 10 courses; a capstone experience. Of the 10 electives, four should be at the 300-level or above. Up to three courses may be taken outside the department and may count towards the major and the fulfillment of requirements, with permission of the adviser. Requirements include the following areas: one Early Period course; one American Literature; one Global Literature; one UK/European Literature; two Literary History. (A single course may fulfill more than one requirement.)

Concentrations may be defined by literary history, genre or field of study. A genre concentration could, for example, include three courses on poetry, while a literary history concentration might provide an overview of literary history, or focus on one particular era. Field of study concentrations in creative writing, film studies or theory are options for students with particular interest in those areas.

Requirements for the Minor

disciplinary, 6 courses

Introductory Requirement (ENG 200); two courses at the 300-level or above; three elective courses, only one of which may be at the 100-level. With permission of student’s adviser, one elective may be a literature or writing course from outside of the department.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of critical literary, textual analysis and writing.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making English a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

ENG 238 Flexing Sex


Explore the issue of whether an author's gender defines his or her voice, through a series of theoretical and literary readings by authors who challenge prevailing notions of gendered authorship, and complete a series of analytical and creative writing assignments in response to these works. Continue examining the role that gender plays in society by enrolling in SOC 226, Sociology of Sex and Gender.

ENG 233 The Art of the Screenplay


Read screenplays and study the films that have been made from them, while paying special attention to elements of story, structure, character development and techniques for turning written text into moving images. Discover the art involved with the methods, materials and history of imaging in ART 165 Introduction to Imaging.

ENG 357 Shakespearean Adaptation


Study Shakespeare from an evolutionary perspective and explore how Shakespeare plays have been appropriated and repurposed over the past four hundred years. What makes Shakespeare so adaptable? How do different cultures and different eras make their mark on Shakespeare by means of adaptation? And how can we determine where "Shakespeare" stops and where "adaptation" begins on this continuum? Learn more about how adaptation relates to people groups by enrolling in ANTH 205 Race, Class and Ethnicity.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.