Department of English

Welcome to the English Department!

The English major at Villanova is one of the most popular in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As a discipline, English provides you with the opportunity to hone your writing skills, sharpen your ability to process and analyze complex texts, deepen your understanding of cultural and material history, and stimulate your imagination. At the heart of the major is the power of the written word to communicate ideas, broaden perspectives, and bring about change. The abilities you'll develop as an English major will make you marketable in fields including consulting, journalism, marketing, law, education, banking, government, screenwriting, and publishing.  As one business expert wrote in the Huffington Post, "I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity.... Most of all, I love to hire them."  (Read more from this expert here, and more about careers for Villanova English majors in this brochure.)

LinkedIn logo

We're delighted to introduce our new LinkedIn group for English majors and alumni of the English Department!  Click the logo above for more details.

In the English Department you have the opportunity to study with several internationally recognized creative writers, and you can apply a number of your creative writing courses to the new Minor in Creative Writing. Whether your passion is poetry or prose, you can pursue both introductory and advanced coursework under the guidance of celebrated writers who are also gifted teachers. Most creative writing courses are taught as workshops, providing you with the chance to write and revise while receiving feedback from both your classmates and instructor.

As an English major at Villanova, you will have the opportunity to take an exciting range of courses, from traditional surveys to seminars exploring contemporary fiction, film, and creative writing. Our faculty, filled with nationally respected scholars and award-winning teachers, will help you develop a deep sense of the power of language to transport your imagination to other places, times, and possibilities. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to meet high-profile writers at the annual Villanova Literary Festival, study abroad in Ireland and elsewhere around the world, and participate in internships throughout the Philadelphia area as well as in New York, where we offer a special internship working for Sports Illustrated.

In the course of the major, you will move from a number of introductory courses that provide you with foundational knowledge of English literature as well as cutting-edge approaches to reading and writing, to a range of courses on English, American, and postcolonial literature, to a culminating senior seminar. You'll have the chance to read the most influential and groundbreaking literature written in English from the Middle Ages to the present, including works by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and many, many others. You'll also develop a range of writing techniques, research skills, and interpretive strategies that will be invaluable in your career after college.

The English Department welcomes difference and promotes inclusion. We do so in keeping with Villanova University’s mission to create a diverse community of scholars dedicated both to maintaining the highest academic standards and to supporting a curriculum that encourages an informed respect for the differences among peoples and cultures. We demonstrate this commitment in our teaching, research, and service, and through ongoing efforts to recruit and retain diverse faculty, staff, and students.

Dear English Majors,

In response to next week’s visit by controversial social scientist Charles Murray, the English Department invites you to attend a series of literary events that are designed to encourage robust reflection on racial and gender injustice and their human costs. 

The first event is a series of free screenings of the 2016 Hollywood film Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis as Troy and Rose Maxson, a working-class couple living in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The film is an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson, a brilliant playwright whose work illuminates the unique political, social, and economic challenges faced by African American men and women in the twentieth century. The screenings will take place at 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 27th, and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28th, and Wednesday, March 29th, in the Connelly Cinema.

The second event, which is part of our annual Literary Festival, is a reading by Reginald Dwayne Betts, whose award-winning memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009), chronicles his years in prison, reflects back on his crime, and looks ahead to how the books he discovered while incarcerated would come to define him. Betts is also a poet, and his latest book, Bastards of the Reagan Era (2015), was described in Publisher’s Weekly as “a devastatingly beautiful collection that calls out to young black men lost to the pitfalls of urban America.”  This event will take place on the evening of Thursday, March 30th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Speaker’s Corner of Falvey Library.

Because we believe in the transformative power of literature, we see these two events as an ideal opportunity for everyone in our community to stand together in support of diversity and inclusion. Writers such as Wilson and Betts challenge preconceptions, inspire compassion and understanding, and demand that we reckon directly with injustice and oppression.

Dear English students:

We, the faculty of the English Department, join our voices to Fr. Peter’s and those of other administrators, faculty, and students, to express dismay and anger at reports of hateful speech and actions toward members of the University community in the aftermath of the election last week. As scholars of literature, we are deeply committed to the power of language to advance justice and equality, and we understand that silence may function to implicitly condone violence and suffering. In this spirit, we state emphatically that we stand with all students who have been targets of harassment, acknowledging the acute nature of threats made towards students of color and women of all races. We also wish to reaffirm the incalculable importance of inclusion to this institution and its mission.

As always, we invite every student to treat our classes as secure places to freely discuss literature, ideas, and the historic moment we all find ourselves in. We welcome lively debate and the respectful exploration of all points of view that honor the basic principle of human equality. We also remind you that our majors and graduate student lounges are open to you throughout the week. We are happy to meet with you should you have any concerns about your experience in our classrooms or on campus.

Heather Hicks
(pdf of this letter including all faculty signatures)

Professor Heather Hicks is Chair and Graduate Director of the English Department.  She can be reached at and (610) 519-4645.
If you are a prospective student planning to visit campus, or a current student exploring majors, and you'd like to sit in on an English class, meet current majors, or just chat with a faculty member, please contact Prof. Michael Berthold.  If you'd like to consult with a current English major, feel free to contact one of our Peer Advisors.
For questions about the graduate program, please contact Prof. Hicks.
Our office is St. Augustine Center 402.  The office telephone number is 610-519-4630, and the fax number is 610-519-6913.

blog & Twitter

Keeping up with English

For news about English department events, students, faculty, and alumni, as well as opportunities for English majors, check out the English department's blog and Twitter feed.

The Villanova London Experience

Tower Bridge London

Spend the second semester of your sophomore year living in an exciting multi­cultural city, connecting the extraordinary resources of London with what you do in your courses--two distinctive courses from Dr. Megan Quigley of the Villanova English department, including a Core Literature and Writing Seminar, along with three courses at an English institution.



Here are a number of documents covering careers for English majors, descriptions of each term's courses, and other relevant charts and guides.