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English department adds seven new concentrations to English major

"Frankenstein" Exhibit

Blythe Gulley and Caroline Alessandro are in UNC Professor Jeanne Moskal’s English class that will present “Reconstructing Frankenstein’s Monster: Mary Shelley’s World in Print” on Thursday in Wilson Library. Photo by Aleah Howell. 

The Department of English and Comparative Literature has added seven new major concentrations to the English major. The changes will be effective this fall. 

The seven new concentrations: comparative and world literatures, creative writing, British and American literature, film studies, social justice and literature, writing, editing and digital publishing and science, medicine and literature will allow students to pick up an English major that matches their specific academic interests.

"Effective reading and writing skills are, of course, essential in any field, and English majors are very effective readers and writers,” said Jennifer Larson, an English teaching associate professor and assistant director of undergraduate studies. “We found that both employers and graduate or professional schools really recognize this and appreciate it, so we believe that English pairs really perfectly with any other major because it bolsters students’ success in those areas and therefore at UNC and beyond."

According to Larson, the Double Up initiative, which encourages students to earn an English degree to complement their other major, was started after the department began noticing the wide range of disciplines among double-majoring students.

"As we were talking to students we realized how much they valued their double majors, how many double majors we had, and we realized that we had double majors in very diverse fields."

Even students in STEM majors have been able to usefully apply a second English major.

"I work very closely with an English and chemistry double major, and she talks a lot about the ways in which the analytical skills that she learns in the English major just helps her with a different mindset in approaching some of the work that she does in her science class," Larson said.

Larson believes that the new concentrations will bring in new students to the major, while also letting students focus more on their interests within the major. For example, the writing, editing and digital publishing concentration is structured around students who care more about the writing aspects of the English major.

"I've had some students tell me that they are particularly excited about that one because It allows them to approach the English major from a very writing-focused perspectives," Larson said. "With that concentration, you can go through the major, not with no literature, because literature is important, but predominately having your classes be writing classes."

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