Explore the world of language, literature, and communication.
English students at Mary Baldwin University embark on a transformative journey where they refine critical thinking skills through active learning and engage with a diverse range of course offerings. With a focus on textual analysis and interpretation, our program encourages self-discovery and fosters a lifelong love for literature and language. Whether you are passionate about creative writing, analyzing complex texts, or honing your communication abilities, our English program offers a supportive and enriching environment.
- Time to finish
- 4 years
- In Person & Online
- Bachelor of Arts
- Creative Writing, English, English Education
Why Study English at Mary Baldwin?
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English offers you the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics within the field. Our program encompasses critical reading skills, literary analysis, rhetoric and writing, and film and media studies. Through rigorous coursework and engaging discussions, you’ll develop the ability to analyze complex ideas, interpret texts, and express your thoughts effectively for specific audiences. You’ll also enhance your leadership and problem-solving skills, preparing you for success in various career paths.
By choosing to major in English, you’ll build a strong intellectual foundation in the humanities. Our program cultivates critical reading and writing skills that are invaluable in today’s world. Whether your goal is to pursue graduate studies, attend law school, or enter the workforce directly, an English degree equips you with the skills necessary for success. The flexibility of our program allows you to tailor your studies to your interests, focusing on areas of English that align with your professional aspirations.
- Department internships with the MBU online literary magazine, Outrageous Fortune
- Opportunities to tutor in the writing center on campus
- Opportunities to serve as teaching assistants
English classes are almost always held in Carpenter Academic, where classrooms are close to faculty offices so that students can continue conversations with their professors in their individual offices, surrounded by books, coffee, and occasionally dogs. Our class sizes range from 10 to 30 students; 15 students is the norm. We teach interactively and conversationally, and English majors and minors develop a friendly group identity, sharing their reading enthusiasms and their many outside interests in the worlds of pop culture, fan fiction, movies, and video games.
Every February, the English department hosts a reading as part of the African American Read-In. Organized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the African American Read-In invites people from all across the country to gather in small groups to read and discuss works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by African American authors.
Courses and Curriculum
Mary Baldwin’s wide range of required and elective courses enable students to develop a variety of interests.
- Women’s Writing promotes understanding of gender and sexuality in culture.
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature empowers students wishing to pursue a career in education.
- Courses in Renaissance literature intersect with the MBU Shakespeare and Performance program and the cultural life of the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton (home of the American Shakespeare Center).
- Nature in America explores representation of nature in American literature and the visual arts. By focusing on the disciplines of English and environmental studies, this course discusses how representations of wilderness, the pastoral landscape, and conservation change over time and participate in nation building.
- Courses in African American literature and the “Poetics of Hip-Hop” reflect the diversity of our campus and the cultural centrality of Black Americans, and enable students to better understand how contemporary art incorporates self-referentiality, pastiche, lowbrow art, and more.
An overview of the literary and historical development of literature for children and young adults through selected authors and genres, both classic and contemporary. Students analyze literary elements, discuss cultural and educational issues within the genre, and consider the development of the concept of childhood and literacy in a variety of contexts.
While seemingly disparate fields of study, science and literature intersect. This honors course will examine representations of science in literature. Through an exploration of 19th – 21st Century American literature, this class will uncover the historical contexts surrounding three pivotal shifts in scientific thought: evolution, germ theory, and climate change. What are these theories, and what are their historical contexts? What forms and literary motifs do authors use to represent scientific ideas? How do literary representations of science enhance, disrupt, or alter our understanding of these concepts? Finally, what can all of this teach us about American culture? The class will analyze short stories, novels, poetry, autobiographies, essays, and scientific treatises. We will also examine how identify markers – like gender, race, and class – intersect with representations of science in literature.
This course introduces students to some major women writers of the African continent from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Attending to specific historical, cultural and linguistic contexts for each text, the course will also explore the formal choices and experiments made by individual writers and pay particular attention to questions of gender and sexuality.
Unique student support
The McCree Center for Life Success assists current students and alumni in finding the best opportunities throughout their career development. We work closely with both faculty and employers to identify how your valued education best matches the needs of today’s evolving marketplace.
Write Your Next Chapter
There are so many things you can do with an English degree. Our graduates go on to versatile and vibrant careers.
- Bethany Pope obtained a PhD in creative writing at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales and has published several well-reviewed books, most recently a novel called Silage. They are currently teaching in China.
- Sarah Thomas pursued a graduate degree in Cambridge, England, trained as a sommelier, and has recently published a children’s book Kalamata’s Kitchen that celebrates her own Indian culinary heritage – she was recently featured on national TV.
- Jo Perkins is now student services coordinator at Lee County schools in North Carolina.
- Alissa Hall Cruz earned an MA from James Madison University and now teaches as a full-time college professor at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.
- Koshila Ratnayake works for the Ministry of Education in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Graham McKemy is a curator of the rare books collection at Washington & Lee University.
And others go on to exciting graduate programs. Here are just a few examples:
- Mikayla Metzger completed an MA in English from the University of Rochester.
- Antonia DiNardo completed an MA in English at UNC Chapel Hill and is now pursuing a PhD in medievalisms within popular culture.
- Jelani Meyer is pursuing graduate work in African American Studies at NCA&T in Greensboro.
Cost & Financial Aid
A great education is worth it. Here’s how Mary Baldwin helps you pay for it: Generous financial aid packages, a broad range of scholarships, transferring maximum credit hours from previous coursework or relevant work and life experiences — the list goes on. Our mission is to help you level up and bring your aspirations to life.
MBU helps you fast-track your path to a bachelor’s degree with the opportunity to transfer up to 18 credits (6 courses) through direct course equivalents from the Virginia Community Colleges System.
- Cost per credit hour: $486
- Credits required for a bachelor’s degree: 120