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It is only in combing through literature, Jean-Paul Sartre argues, that we access the active, imaginative portions of our minds. The English Department aims to pass on a love of literature, deepening students’ understanding of themselves and their responsibility to one another. 

Majors and Minors:

  • English Major
  • English Major with Creative Writing Emphasis
  • English Major with Secondary Education Minor
  • Elementary Education Major with English Minor
  • English Minor
  • Creative Writing Minor

By joining the lively community of the Carthage English Department, you will immerse yourself in the habits and practices of reading, writing, close analysis, and imaginative thought. In each of your courses, you will learn both to observe the fine details of language and to ask serious questions about life, art, history, and justice.

Wrestling with such big questions will also help you to forge a narrative of your own. An English major serves as a springboard to any career rooted in critical and creative thought. Our graduates now work in fields as varied as education, graphic design, sales, creative writing, journalism, and law.

Attentive Professors

The average English class at Carthage has fewer than 20 students, so you will have an opportunity to build strong relationships with your professors. “The professors in the English department are supportive, open to new ideas, and willing to meet with their students outside of the classroom to ensure success and a deeper comprehension of complex topics,” says English and French major Miranda Paikowski ’20. Carthage’s Visiting Writer Series regularly brings poets and novelists to campus for workshops, readings, and lectures.

Exciting Coursework

Many of the English courses at Carthage are interdisciplinary, allowing students to explore literature from multiple points of view. Courses include American Literary Traditions, Literature In Its Time I: Magic and Witchcraft; Midnight’s Children, Parents, and Grandchildren (Indian Fiction in English); The Bible as Literature; The Harlem Renaissance; and many more.

Enhanced Learning, Travel

English students at Carthage are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on and off campus to enrich their education. Each semester, the English Department organizes a wide variety of on-campus lectures and writing series, and off-campus theatre trips and museum visits. Every fall, English faculty and students travel to Ontario for the acclaimed Stratford Festival, where we see a variety of plays from Shakespearean tragedies to modern musicals. On campus, student writers meet weekly for poetry slams and open-mic nights, or gather in the Writing Center to share and receive writing assistance.

Career Advancement

English students develop skills that are vital to careers in many fields, from journalism to public relations to law. English majors think critically and creatively, in order to see problems from many angles. They are informed and effective communicators, and carry with them a love of literature and writing that enriches them for life.

Creative Writing

Carthage encourages interested students to explore the art and craft of creative writing. Carthage offers an English major with an emphasis in creative writing, and a creative writing minor. Creative writing students work closely with writing faculty as they experiment with poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Before graduation, every creative writing student creates a chapbook of original work and presents a public reading on campus.

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  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $20,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 3 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …



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