It has never been more important to express yourself well.
English majors engage with the world's greatest literature and hone the critical thinking and writing skills that employers value. What can you do with a major in English? Absolutely anything. Ask Meredith's president, Dr. Jo Allen, Class of '80, who began her career as an English major at Meredith College.
Our graduates earn advanced degrees in English, law, library science, education, counseling, divinity school, and creative and professional writing from universities including UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Vanderbilt, the University of Virginia and Columbia. They start businesses and nonprofits; they become attorneys, managers, fundraisers, editors, screenwriters, journalists, college professors, librarians and teachers.
Whatever your aspiration, your journey can begin with a major in English.
At Meredith, we encourage students to pursue licensure or gain practical skills through the professional writing minor, and we welcome those who want to use their undergraduate years to explore their intellectual gifts, to immerse themselves in the study of literature, to embrace the challenge of thinking analytically and writing precisely, and to learn for the sake of learning.
The English department houses three campus publications, all staffed by students:
- The Meredith Herald, the weekly newspaper
- The Colton Review, an arts and literary journal
- The Oak Leaves, the yearbook
Students write, edit, design and produce these publications.
Meredith's English program offers numerous and varied opportunities for experiential learning. In recent years, Meredith students have completed internships at Cary Academy, the NC Museum of Art and have blogged for the Meredith College website
Eloise Grathwohl has offered a course in the history, literature and mythology of Iceland for the past three years. She and history professor Michael Novak have taken three groups of students to Iceland to study, travel and immerse themselves in the culture. Kelly Roberts traveled with a group of students to Belize for a service experience during spring break 2010 and will do so again in 2012.
Recent undergraduate research topics include "Running From Our Discontent: Contemporary and Modern Responses to the American Dream in John Updike’s 'Rabbit, Run' and John Steinbeck’s 'The Winter of Our Discontent,'" "Developing a Novel: Conquering the Muse," and "The Critical Reception of Louisa May Alcott’s 'Little Women.'"
An English degree prepares students for a wide array of potential careers as well as graduate study. Professional positions held and graduate programs attended by recent graduates of Meredith's English program include:
- Ph.D. in English, Columbia, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill
- M.A. in English, University of Virginia, N.C. State University, George Mason University
- J.D., William and Mary, Pepperdine, Campbell University law schools
- Master's in Library Science, UNC-Chapel Hill
- Master's in Divinity, Duke
- Technical Writers at IBM, Red Hat
- Internal Communications Manager, SAS, Nortel, Inc.
- Editors at Duke University Press, Oxford University Press
- Assistant Marketing Director, North Carolina Museum of Art
- Assistant Director of Development, Habitat for Humanity, Charlotte
- Children's Services Specialist, West Asheville Library
- Curriculum Development, Wake County Public School System
- ESL Coordinator, Brunswick County School System
- Principal, Johnston County School System
- English Teacher (Meredith has a 100% placement record in this program)
The English program is endowed with 11 scholarships that are awarded by the department for excellence and potential in academic achievement, creativity, leadership and character.
In addition to these discipline-specific scholarship opportunities, Meredith offers a range of merit and need-based financial assistance. Last year, Meredith coordinated $42.8 million in financial assistance.
Meredith’s student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and average class size of 17 ensure that students get to know their professors. In turn, our faculty know students by name and, just as important, are familiar with each student’s unique strengths and interests. This allows faculty to identify interesting research and internship opportunities for students, to write meaningful letters of recommendation, and to support students as they conduct in-depth undergraduate research. In fact, students and faculty frequently work together on such projects—more than 140 were conducted by student/faculty teams last year.
English majors and alumnae often talk about being inspired in the classroom. The truth is that students and professors inspire each other to find new and relevant approaches to literary texts. There are always new authors and works to explore, and there are always new questions to ask about established writers like Shakespeare, Chaucer and Austen. English majors bond quickly and help us create a rich and lively classroom environment, where careful reading and a passion for the subject matter lead to nuanced discussions that our alumnae remember and cherish for the rest of their lives.
English faculty members include:
- Eloise Grathwohl, Ph.D., professor of English. Research interests: Icelandic myth and literature, in particular the work of the Icelandic novelist Halldór Laxness. Grathwohl delivered the Distinguished Faculty Lecture, entitled “The Glacier Stands Open,” in January 2010, and co-leads a study abroad program to Iceland each summer.
- Rebecca Duncan, Ph.D., professor of English. Recent research interests: global literature and culture. Duncan's essay on the the film "Slumdog Millionaire" appeared in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature.
- Laura Fine, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English. Recent research interest: American literature, which led to a forthcoming essay on Jhumpa Lahiri.
- Robin Colby, Ph.D., Professor of English. Research interest: Victorian literature. Colby's essay "Browning's Christmas Eve and Easter Day as Meditational Verse," will appear in Christianity and Literature this year.
- Kelly Roberts, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, coordinates teacher licensure in English. Research interests include composition studies in secondary and post-secondary schools and retention of beginning teachers.
For more detailed information about the English major, please go to the program website.
For information about other majors at Meredith, return to the Admissions majors page.