Undergraduates in English may pursue majors and minors in literature and creative writing; at the graduate level, we offer a PhD in literature and an MFA in fiction and poetry. The Department of English also houses the Writing Center, which offers tutoring in writing at all levels and provides multiple other services to the University community, including workshops and Writers’ Salons. In a given year, English typically has nearly 300 undergraduate majors and minors, 36 fully funded PhD students, and 13 MFAs. Approximately 4,000 students on average take our composition classes every year, and our Writing Center holds more than 5,000 appointments for more than 1,300 undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Our courses give students the opportunity to make writing, literature, and creative and critical thought part of their lives—for the present and future. We offer an extensive range of American, British, and other world literatures in English (especially Irish, Caribbean, and African) and in translation, from antiquity through the contemporary period, and we offer introductory and advanced seminars in literary theories. Our creative writing faculty teach the craft of composing poetry, fiction, and autobiography in an intensive small workshop format. In our composition classes at freshman and upper levels, we help students to develop the habits of mind, tools, and strategies for writing in college and beyond in a variety of disciplines such as business, engineering, humanities, nursing, music, and the natural and social sciences, and we do so by enabling them to craft their own arguments in papers, Blackboard discussion rooms, Web sites, blogs, wikis, and other media. The Writing Center offers periodic workshops on academic writing, digital writing, creative writing, and writing for graduate students; it also offers meetings for international students in which they may practice reading, writing, and conversation skills.
Our faculty publish scholarship and creative works and teach classes that revolve around core humanistic questions. For example, to what extent can we empathize with the point of view of another person or community? How have writers and artists represented good or bad ethical and moral choices? What role should art and literature play in our society or in others around the world? A study recently published in Science shows that reading literary fiction is strongly correlated with increased skills in social perception, empathy, and emotional intelligence—skills that are vital for personal success in today’s ever-changing global world. The English Department fosters these skills and many more.
Undergraduates who have completed the major or minor in English have recently been admitted to graduate and professional programs to pursue further study in literature, law, or medicine at schools such as Harvard, Yale, Duke, New York University, Vanderbilt, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington, Tufts, Pennsylvania State, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), the University of Maryland, the University of California (Riverside and Santa Cruz), and Boston University. Students who have majored in English have also recently been selected to participate in Teach for America and have accepted jobs in fields such as information technology, business, the health professions, publishing, and the film industry.
The Department of English is especially known for the high quality of its instruction and accessibility of its faculty; its wide-ranging research across historical periods in Anglophone language, literatures, and cultures; and its cosmopolitan position as a crucial hub for creative writing in poetry, fiction, and autobiography. Because of our small class sizes, our faculty know their students by name and have a high degree of familiarity with their work. In fact, in a given year, our faculty collectively write over 1,000 individually tailored, detailed letters of recommendation for UM students for medical and law school, graduate programs in various fields, scholarships, internships, and jobs. Most of our classes encourage informal classroom discussion and provide rich intellectual opportunities for our students to connect meaningfully with each other and their professors. At all levels of instruction, we specialize in helping students to improve their writing, thus preparing them for the demands of most careers today.
Our literature, creative writing, and composition faculty have collectively authored, edited, or translated over 100 books in recent years and are still writing. Furthermore, they have won prestigious grants and fellowships from national institutions such as Fulbright, the Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the New York Public Library.
The English Department gains international visibility from the two scholarly publications it houses: Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, the peer-reviewed, open-access digital Caribbean Literary Studies journal, a collaboration with the University of Miami Libraries’ Scholarly Repository, and the James Joyce Literary Supplement. Over the last ten years, Anthurium’s global audience has grown to a readership of nearly 60,000. These publications correspond to our decades-old strengths in Caribbean and Irish Studies—fields that continue to attract some of our strongest doctoral students. English faculty and graduate students contribute to the Center for the Humanities’ peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, which reflects our strength in early modern studies and has won the Council of Editors of Learned Journals Voyager Award. The English Department also houses the undergraduate literary journal, Mangrove, which has recently grown into a national journal to which students from over 60 colleges and universities submit their work for consideration for publication each year. Finally, for the last two decades, our Composition Program has produced an annual in-house publication of the undergraduate winners of the prestigious Audley Webster Award.
As a department, we reach beyond the classroom not only through our publications but also through our innovative civic engagement initiatives within the local community and South Florida. Our forms of civic engagement range from specialized sections of our composition and literature courses that connect with students in Little Haiti and the local women’s penitentiary to the readings given by our scholars and creative writers at Books & Books and our annual collaborations with the Miami Book Fair International.
We cordially invite you to explore our Web pages to learn more about our diverse course offerings, exciting programs, and extensive strengths as researchers and creative writers.