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  • College of Arts & Sciences

    • Humanities Division
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 302
    • tel: 610-499-4341
  • Janine Utell


Curriculum, English and Creative Writing

Curriculum Highlight

student at podium presenting research during senior seminar in wolfgram library

English Senior Seminar

Hear from a group of senior English majors who researched Wordsworth for their English senior seminar and presented their projects. Watch a short video clip.

The English and creative writing curriculum includes a strong foundation in the works of classic and contemporary authors. Creative writing majors receive exposure to a variety of writing genres from poetry to memoirs.

English majors also have the opportunity to pursue in-depth research alongside Widener’s distinguished faculty.

Combined with a minor in legal studies, an English major can be a good way to get a head start on law school as well.

By special arrangement with Widener’s two law schools, English majors may choose a “three-three” option whereby they use the first year at Widener Law School to complete the last year of their undergraduate degree in English.

Students who graduate from Widener in the top 50 percent of their graduating class and score in the 50th percentile or better on the LSAT are guaranteed a seat in Widener’s School of Law.


View a selection of courses students may take as an English or creative writing major.

CRWR 153 Introduction to Creative Writing I

Focused on the genres of fiction and creative nonfiction, CRWR 153 is one of two courses that introduces students to the discipline of creative writing. Students study works by classic and contemporary short story writers and essayists, using them as models for their own fiction and creative nonfiction. Through activities such as writing exercises, craft analyses, and classroom workshops, students hone creative writing skills, as well as understand what it takes to establish a writing life of their own.

ENGL 135 American Literature

A critical and historical survey of the significant works in American literature from the colonial period through the modern and postmodern periods. Authors may include Franklin, Poe, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Faulkner, Hughes, O’Connor, Erdrich, and others.

ENGL 314 Genre Studies: Graphic Narrative

Graphic narrative—fiction, nonfiction, and life writing—has emerged as an important form in late 20th/early 21st century literary study and in the literary marketplace. More than just comic books, graphic narrative engages with subjects as personal as coming of age and mourning, as global as 9/11 and conflict in the Middle East, and everything in between. The form allows for the opportunity to think about the relationship between word and image, author and artist. This course examines the way these books use sophisticated storytelling strategies, as well as visual innovation. It provides a survey of the form and focuses on significant works of graphic narrative.

ENGL 328 History of English: Variations and Change

A linguistic investigation of the changes in English from Old English to Modern English.  Study of differences among the varieties of contemporary English found throughout the world, with emphasis on American English. Analysis of regional dialects, social and ethnic dialects, gender, language variation, and language diversity.

CRWR 308 Playwriting

Practice in writing one-act plays on assigned themes, with special attention to the tone of dialogue, techniques of exposition, and visualization of characters and scene.

ENGL 336 Shakespeare

An in-depth study of various aspects of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, with special attention given to his cultural and historical importance. The course considers Shakespeare’s influence on other authors, the plays in performance, and the variety of critical responses to his work.

ENGL 347 British Romanticism

An in-depth study of British literature of the late 18th century and early 19th century, particularly of the canonical Romantic poets—Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats—and selected works by their contemporaries, including various women writers of the period. The aesthetic concept of Romanticism is explored in its literary and historical context with critical attention also given to certain writers, text, and genres of the period that challenge the traditional view of Romantic literature.

ENGL 376Southern Literature

A study of fiction, poetry, and drama that depicts the South as a complex and distinctive culture. Works from the antebellum period, the Reconstruction, the Renascence, and the postmodern or post-Southern era are considered from both a historical and thematic perspective. Authors include Douglass, Poe, Chopin, Faulkner, Welty, Wright, Williams, O’Connor, Dickey, Walker, and McCarthy.

For more information about courses and requirements for English and creative writing, please refer to page 44 of our course catalog.