Academic Resources | English Department | Webster University

English Department: Academic Resources

Experiential Education

Experiential education is a hallmark of strong academic programs and a key factor in college graduates' success. In the Webster University English Department, our practicum courses provide academic credit for experiential education opportunities. These can be off-campus internships (LINK to list of recent internships, with links ) or on-campus activities like editorships, research assistantships, event-planning, communications and media, promotions, recruiting, and mentoring. Students can develop their own ideas for practicum courses as well. See your advisor or contact Associate Professor Murray Farish for more information about experiential education in the Webster University English Department.

Four-year Degree Tracks

The English, English with emphasis in Drama and Playwriting, and Creative Writing programs have suggested tracks to complete the degrees within four academic years. Follow the links below to see the degree tracks for each program.

  • English
  • English with emphasis in Drama and Playwriting
  • Creative Writing

Portfolio Review

Graduating seniors in the English Department must complete the Portfolio Review in their last semester. Here's the process:

  1. Register for ENGL 4600: Portfolio Review. This zero-credit-hour course signals your intention to graduate with a degree from the English Department.
  2. Assemble your portfolio. For all English Department students, the portfolio includes:
  • A list of courses taken for the major
  • A personal reading list for the college years. Arrange this list in a thoughtful way that demonstrates your thinking about the relationship among these titles. The list should include at least fifty titles, and can include both course texts and books you read on your own.
  • A 500-word essay in which you reflect on your development as an English, Drama & Playwriting, or Creative Writing major. Some questions you might consider: How has your reading and writing changed over the course of your studies? What changed about your relationship to books and literary culture? What were some experiences that had a significant effect on your studies, your creativity, your ambitions, your direction moving forward? How has being a major in the English Department prepared you for your future?
  • Photocopies of three original graded writing assignments from at least two different ENGL courses at the 2000 level or above. These photocopies should include the professor's comments and grade. Choose materials that reflect your highest achievement as an English Department student.
    • For English majors, submit three analytic essays from literature courses, totaling at least 15 pages.
    • For English majors with an emphasis in Drama & Playwriting, submit EITHER three analytic essays from literature courses, totaling at least 15 pages, OR one sample of original dramatic writing workshopped in a creative writing course and two analytic essays from literature courses.
    • For Creative Writing majors, submit two samples of creative writing workshopped in a creative writing course and one analytic essay from a literature course.
  1. Submit your Portfolio to your academic adviser by the due dates: for May graduates, April 1; for December graduates, November 1; for August graduates, July 1.

ENGL 4600 is graded on a pass/fail basis. In order to pass, you must turn in all the required materials listed above on time. Putting together the portfolio will help you reflect on what you have learned and how you have grown as an English major, and the department will use the information you provide as part of our annual assessment of the quality and success of our programs. Portfolios will be retained by the department.

Departmental Honors

With the English Department's approval, an English major may earn recognition as an outstanding student in the English Department by completing the additional requirements listed below:

  1. Complete at least 45 credit hours in residency at Webster University.
  2. Maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.5 in English Department coursework at Webster University.
  3. Complete at least two semesters of a foreign language with a grade of B or higher in each semester, or test out of that requirement.
  4. Further explore cultures other than British or U.S. in one of four ways: complete a third semester of foreign language; complete an approved course in literature in translation; complete an approved course in world literature; or participate in study abroad.
  5. Complete the additional coursework listed below

    ENGLISH MAJORS: One additional ENGL course at the 3000-4000 level

    ENGLISH MAJORS with emphasis in DRAMA & PLAYWRITING: One additional ENGL course at the 3000-4000 level

    CREATIVE WRITING MAJORS:
    Complete three hours of the following:
    An additional ENGL 4400 in a second genre
    An additional Topics course (if content differs)
    An additional literature course at the 300-4000 level
    And at least one hour of ENGL 4620: Practicum
  6. Through consultation with an English department advisor, secure the approval of the Department to proceed with the Honors Thesis. [Note: The advisor may recommend another faculty member in the department as the thesis advisor in order to match faculty expertise with the topic of the thesis.]
  7. Complete ENGL 4900: Senior Honors Thesis by writing a thesis that meets departmental standards for exceptional work. Students who complete ENGL 4900 will earn 1 credit hour. [Note: Even theses that do not meet standards for exceptional work and thus do not earn honors will earn 1 credit hour, if completed.]
    1. For English majors, an original scholarly essay
    2. For English majors with an emphasis in Drama & Playwriting, an original scholarly essay on dramatic literature or an original play
    3. For Creative Writing majors, original creative work by the student

Potential Honors students must fill out a petition to write the Honors Thesis in the semester prior to graduation, and set up a plan with their thesis advisor for completing the thesis. This plan should include the topic and range of the scholarly work or the type of creative work, and should leave time to turn in multiple drafts of the thesis before the due date.

Honors theses are due the Monday following the semester break in the final semester of study. These due dates are not flexible.

Extracurricular, Clubs, Publications

The Literature Club

Our mission is to encourage and engage with the art of the written word both amongst ourselves and within the greater community. We are open to anyone and everyone who shares a love for literature and wishes to join in the promotion of reading and writing. Join us for our regular meetings, for the Halloween Scary Story Night, the Dickens-themed Christmas Party, and our other events throughout the year.

The Student Reading Series

One evening each semester, we pack Pearson House to celebrate the work and words of some of our outstanding student writers with readings of their fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Get there early—this event is typically standing-room-only. Here's some video of past student readings in the Series.

The Green Fuse

Webster University's literary magazine is student-written, student-edited, and student-produced. Since 1982, student editors have chosen the best fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, and translations submitted each year by Webster students at the home campus and around the world. See samples of past editions here.

The Lit-Mag Lending Library

Our lit-mag lending library is located in the basement level of Pearson House, and contains hundreds of editions of some of America's finest literary magazines. Students can "check out" one magazine at a time, read and return, and get another one.

The Mercury

The Mercury is the English Department's annual publication for faculty-selected papers and honors theses.

Career Resources

Webster University's English Department graduates are a highly successful group. Among our alumni, we list CEOs; business owners; attorneys; corporate officers; educators; writers; managers; government workers; executives in IT, finance, marketing and advertising, social media, non-profits, public relations, staffing and human resources, sales, development and fundraising; and the list (available to all current and prospective students LINK TO CONTACT MURRAY FARISH) goes on.

Our graduates succeed because they're smart and talented, but also because our degree programs prepare them for success. In your courses, you'll learn how the skills you're developing in reading, analysis, and writing translate into meaningful, profitable 21st-century careers. Our experiential learning program gives you demonstrable practical experience you can show to prospective employers. And there's more we do to prepare you for life after graduation. All Webster University English Department students have access to:

  • ENGL 2000: What's Next? The English Major After Graduation—In this one-credit-hour course that we recommend for all English Department majors, we lay out practical steps to finding fulfilling and meaningful careers. Students learn to research job fields; write engaging and eye-catching cover letters and resumes; build and manage professional networks; and see the ways their English Department skills translate into the modern workforce. Students also conduct informational interviews; participate in mock interviews with local professionals; and meet and hear from distinguished guest speakers.
  • Professional Writing courses like WRIT 2090: Writing in the Workplace and WRIT 3400: Editing and Style.
  • The Webster University English Department Alumni Network (LINK)—Our dedicated alums will talk to you about their career experiences and provide advice about starting your job search.
  • The Webster University Career Planning and Development Center (LINK)—the CPDC has extensive resources to help launch your career.

And if you're still concerned that a degree in English won't lead to a rewarding career, click on the following links: