Bachelor of Arts in English

Prepare for a wide range of professional opportunities in fields such as law, journalism, banking, publishing and editing, advertising, medicine, management, public relations, insurance, teaching, grant and proposal writing, nonprofit work, and academic administration with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Bellarmine.

Bellarmine English graduates have gone on to success as writers and editors; in foreign relations and non-profits; in business and government; in arts and humanities; in law and medicine; and teaching in high schools and universities. They have also pursued graduate study in such areas as library science, institutional technology, technical and scientific writing, and most all humanities disciplines.

Why earn your English degree at Bellarmine?

Our small classes (10-20 students) allow professors to become acquainted with our students beyond the words on their papers and exams. Whether it’s meeting new majors at our “get-to-know-you” luncheon, celebrating imminent graduation with our seniors at our annual reception, or simply sharing coffee with students in the student center, our English professors thrive on one-on-one conversation and learning with students. The English faculty know you by name and are committed to seeing you develop your talents to the fullest, always honing your skills in reading, writing, and thinking as you become the best person possible. Expect to be challenged by us. We will call you to greatness—as thinkers, as writers, and as human beings.

Program Highlights

English is a wide-ranging field of study. Historically, it gives attention to the great variety of texts that human culture has produced over centuries. Conceptually, it aims at developing deep abilities in reading and writing. Bellarmine’s English Department reflects this in the variety of courses offered and in the sequential way in which we ask our majors to approach their study. That study begins with ENGL 201, The World of Texts, which introduces the student to the basic principles underlying the discipline. The 300- and 400-level courses presume the solid grounding in literary history and critical reading skills that our 200-level courses are designed to provide. In the student’s senior year, the major provides a distinct “capstone” experience through ENGL 450, the Integrative Seminar. In working through the variety of courses, students in English may expect to find themselves engaged in the reading of novels, short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, films and graphic novels, among other texts.

The program emphasizes writing as a fundamental means of learning and expression; close and creative reading of a culturally diverse range of texts; and critical thinking grounded in writing and reading.

In addition to the English major, we offer an English minor and host the Film Studies minor.

Film Studies Minor
Bellarmine’s Film Studies minor is designed to deepen students’ perception and discernment when it comes to visual storytelling and media literacy. Movies and television shows are some of the most important and powerful cultural forms of the last century. Film Studies courses will guide students away from the habits of mere consumption toward an attentive and analytic appreciation for the complex content and structure of filmmaking. The Film Studies minor situates films within an interdisciplinary context that will increase student’s ability to think critically and communicate clearly about the relationship between images, ideas, narrative, and sound. Courses also count towards the English major.

The English Department works with a variety of other Bellarmine programs such as business, philosophy, history, communication, and pre-law to personalize the educational experience of each student.

Recent English Department News

From Amela Kovačević, Ariel editor in chief: Each year, Bellarmine’s friendly literary society (Ariel) publishes a magazine of student and faculty submitted writing and artwork. This year, my editorial assistants and I worked diligently to have the 31st edition ready for everyone before the semester became too busy.

Given the situations surrounding us and the campus closure, we are saddened by not being able to share with everyone this edition as we expected to be able to. While we will have tangible copies for everyone to enjoy when safe distribution is feasible, we are now working towards sharing this edition in different formats.

Specifically, we will share page-by-page pieces from this edition through our social media. Primarily, we will utilize our Instagram page for this, @arielmagazine_bellarmine. Moreover, the English Department is working with us as well to share such pieces on their Facebook page.

As the editor in chief, I feel grateful to have had such wonderful work shared with me especially by students, and having their work shared to the rest of our community despite our circumstances would mean a lot to both the Ariel team and to all who submitted to our magazine. While many of us are limiting social interaction, sharing writing and artwork amongst ourselves during this time can do a lot for us; we hope to not only share great work with you, but we also hope that you find some inspiration in your own creativity from reading/viewing the pieces we will share throughout the rest of this semester. Allow this to serve as a reminder that even in times of uncertainty, some beauty exists that each of us can embrace.

Learning Outcomes

  1. English majors will demonstrate familiarity with major texts and traditions of language and literature written in English.
  2. English majors will be able to relate texts to the social, cultural, theoretical, and historical contexts in which they were produced.
  3. English majors will apply a variety of literary theories and methodologies to a range of texts—literary, cultural, visual, film, and/or digital.
  4. English majors will produce effective texts for diverse purposes, genres, and audiences.
  5. English majors will analyze questions of justice, value, and meaning inherent to literary and cultural texts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What courses are required to complete the program?
ENGL 201, 207, 208, 209, 210, 299, 412, 450 and fifteen hours selected from 300- and 400-level English courses. Six of those 300- and 400-level hours may be taken from these upper level Film courses: FILM 370, FILM 371, FILM 470. English majors must also complete six credits of a foreign language or satisfy the Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Arts foreign language proficiency requirement.
Within the fifteen hours of 300- and 400- level English courses, students must fulfill the following:

  • at least one upper-level course from American literature offerings;
  • at least one upper-level course from British literature offerings;
  • at least one 400-level course (which might coincide with #1 or #2) in addition to 412 and 450. An internship will NOT suffice for the 400-level course.

What employment opportunities are available with an English degree?
Graduates will find themselves qualified to work in such fields as law, journalism, banking, publishing and editing, advertising, medicine, management, public relations, teaching, grant and proposal writing, and academic administration. They will also be prepared for graduate study in such areas as literature, creative writing, library science, institutional technology, technical and scientific writing, and many other humanities disciplines. Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad in order to help complement their major, especially if they plan to attend graduate school. Our graduates have earned MAs, MFAs and Ph.D.s at top universities here and abroad.

Do you provide job or internship placement?
Yes. Bellarmine guarantees every student the opportunity to have an internship, develop a career plan and build a professional network. Many English majors intern for local publishing companies and law firms. Others have interned at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Music Theatre of Louisville and Walden Theatre.

Is financial aid available?
Yes. Please go to Bellarmine’s financial aid website for detailed information on financial aid packages. Additionally, students can work with our Faculty Development Center to apply for grants and awards outside of the Bellarmine offerings.

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?
Students have their own learning styles so this can vary greatly. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend an average of two hours studying for every hour you spend in class.

Alumnus Story

Tyler Harris  photo

“My time at Bellarmine helped to mold not only the skills necessary for analyzing and writing, which is a necessity in my field, but also forged a sense of character, responsibility, and an adherence to time management that gave me a great advantage in the world of teaching.”

Tyler Harris '18
Read more about Tyler and other alumni on our Featured Alumni page

Career Prospects

A major in English can lead to a wide range of professional opportunities. So that students may better understand these opportunities, the department provides a class called Introduction to the Profession of English.

Graduates will find themselves qualified to work in such fields as law, journalism, banking, publishing and editing, advertising, medicine, management, public relations, teaching, grant and proposal writing, and academic administration. They will also be prepared for graduate study in such areas as literature, creative writing, library science, institutional technology, technical and scientific writing, and many other humanities disciplines. Recent majors have gone on to graduate programs at Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, Vermont College, University of Chicago, and others. Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad in order to help complement their major, especially if they plan to attend graduate school.

On-Campus Experiences

Students who major in English have authentic opportunities to share their literary works with the larger Bellarmine community. English majors are encouraged to strengthen their writing skills by submitting to The Ariel, The Concord and The Lance, student-run publications that feature literary forms of expression, as well as other art forms.

Students who major in English at Bellarmine University will be invited to speaking engagements and events such as the Guarnaschelli Lecture Series, which features well-renowned speakers to campus. Recent speakers include Roger Rosenblatt and Dava Sobel. Past lecturers include William Styron, George McGovern, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Burns, Seamus Heaney, Wendell Berry, Billy Collins, Isabel Allende, Salman Rushdie, Andrea Mitchell, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Seymour Hersh.

Bellarmine’s Theatre Program celebrates the creativity of the human spirit. Students are encouraged to cultivate critical thinking skills and develop their individual artistic passion through immersion in literature, new world views, cultural diversity, exposure to a wide variety of performance practices and their own practical creative exploration.

Our students have been very successful in the Metroversity Writing Competitions, which are publicized each spring.

English students are encouraged to apply for the English-Speaking Union Scholarship in support of summer study in Great Britain.

English majors entering their junior or senior year may also apply for the annual Elizabeth Norton Hagan Scholarship, which provides a financial aid award for that academic year.

Faculty Profiles

Conor Picken

Dr. Conor Picken
Interim Director and Associate Professor, English
Director of Compassio Learning Community
Office: Alumni 117

Jennifer Barker

Dr. Jennifer Lynde Barker
Associate Professor, English and Film Studies
Chair of the English Department and Director of Film Studies Minor
Office: Alumni Hall 208

Blandford headshot

Dr. Jon Blandford
Associate Professor, English
Director of the Honors Program
Office: Alumni 210

Hatten headshot

Dr. Charles Hatten
Professor, English
Office: Alumni 211

Annette Harris Powell

Dr. Annette Harris Powell
Associate Professor, English, Rhetoric and Composition
Director of First-Year Writing
Office: Alumni 116

Fred Smock, MA

Frederick Smock, MA
Professor, English
Director of Creative Writing
Office: Alumni 113

Dr. Kathryn West

Dr. Kathryn West
Professor, English
Co-Chair, Women's and Gender Studies
Office: Alumni 101

Dr. John S. Gatton

Dr. John S. Gatton
Professor Emeritus, English
Office: Alumni 103


Bellarmine University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees.

Study Abroad

Bellarmine offers a wide variety of study abroad options around the globe. Learn what opportunities are available to you on our Study Abroad and International Programs site.

Contact Information

Jennifer Barker, Ph.D., Chair

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