Department of English | Villanova University

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.)

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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.



Monday, March 18
4:00-5:30 pm, Falvey 205

► Labor, Exchange, Manumission, and Sales—The Enslaved Community Owned and Sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits

Please join us for a Digital Scholarship Talk featuring Sharon Leon, PhD.  In the Jesuit Plantation Project, Dr. Leon focuses on the lives and experiences of the enslaved community owned and sold in 1838 by the Maryland Province Jesuits. This event is organized by Falvey Memorial Library


Tuesday, March 19
4:30-6:00 pm, Gullifty’s Restaurant

► Ireland Study Abroad Reunion

If you are a current Villanova student who has studied abroad in Ireland, or you are a current Villanova student registered to study abroad in Ireland this summer, you’re invited to our Irish Study Abroad Reunion.  This event is organized by the Irish Studies Program.


Thursday, March 21
7:00 pm, Presidents’ Lounge, Connelly Center

► Villanova Literary Festival Reading and Talk by Novelist Mike McCormack

Mike McCormack has published two collections of stories, Getting It In the Head, which won the Rooney Prize for Irish fiction, and Forensic Songs. He is also the author of three novels, most recently, Solar Bones, which won the 2016 Goldsmith’s Prize and the 2018 International Dublin literary award. He is currently in residency at Villanova University as the 2019 Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies.




Friday March 22
11:00 am - 1:00 pm, SAC 300

► English Internship Lunch

Drop by any time from 11:00 to 1:00 to chat with Kate Szumanski, who oversees internships for the college. Kate can answer a wide range of questions about how you can identify and pursue an internship that you’re excited about and that can count for English credit.




Wednesday, March 27
1:30-2:45 pm, Old Falvey 101

► Annette John-Hall from NPR/WHYY

Ms. John-Hall is a reporter, producer, and co-host for WHYY’s radio program “The Why.” Learn about working for National Public Radio, and the ropes of local reporting and radio journalism.  This event is organized by the Writing and Rhetoric Program.


Wednesday, April 3
4:30 pm, Falvey Library Speakers' Corner

► CLAS Faculty Poetry Reading

Join us for a poetry reading presented by five faculty members of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Panelists include: Tsering Wangmo , Department of English; Jill Kress Karn, Department of English; Anne Patricia Minicozzi, Augustine and Culture Seminar Program; Catherine Staples, Departments of English and Honors; and James Matthew Wilson, Department of Humanities. Each panelist will read poems from their own work. This ACS-approved event, is co-sponsored by Falvey Memorial Library; the Department of English; and the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program.




Friday April 5
11:30 am - 5:00 pm, Garey Hall Alumni Events Room

► Liberal Arts & Sciences Bootcamp for Business Career Interests

Did you know employers in finance are looking to hire Liberal Arts & Sciences students as interns and entry-level hires? They are. They’re asking us at the Career Center for creative, innovative, and meaningful ways to connect with you. Curious? Want to learn more? Meet professionals and alumni from firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs. and Citi to hear about why they want to recruit you. Enjoy a networking lunch with alumni and hear from Todd Sullivan, a proud political science graduate and executive at Morgan Stanley.




The Jerome J. Fischer Memorial Award

This award will be given to the best essay written by an undergraduate for an English class. Essays can be submitted by faculty or students. To be eligible, essays must have been written within a year preceding the deadline and written either for a Villanova English course (2100 level or higher) or for a Villanova course (2000 level or higher) taught by a member of the Villanova English faculty. Work submitted for a senior Honors thesis or an M. A. thesis is not eligible. A cash award is given to the recipient of this award. Submissions should be e-mailed to Sharon Rose-Davis, English Department administrative assistant ( by Friday, April 12.

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 recognizes diversity as an imperative. Because diverse identities and ideas shape in complex ways the literary traditions we seek to understand and to teach, we cannot do justice to the texts we read without foregrounding diversity itself. We define diversity broadly, as the presence of difference among faculty and students and within course content, especially but not limited to race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, body style, age, ability, religious affiliation, and legal status.

Our approach builds upon the most influential developments in literary criticism in the last fifty years, which have featured a dramatic expansion of the literary canon beyond white male authors, the rise of multifaceted structures of analysis based upon evolving theories of identity and difference, and special attention to the history of subordinated subjects within national literatures. Diversity and its counterpart, inclusion, constitute an ethos and a set of principles that we can use to organize our teaching and our work with one another. Inclusion requires not merely that differences be present, but that we affirm those differences and oppose systems of oppression based on them. Rather than a goal to be achieved, we see diversity and inclusion as a process in which we must all be engaged. We can expect to make mistakes in our work to cultivate diversity, and we acknowledge that success requires us to remain committed to learning from each other and from our students. While we see demographic statistics—about our faculty, our students, and the authors and topics covered in our courses—as useful tools for measuring diversity, we also recognize that our commitment to diversity must go beyond them.

Professor Heather Hicks is Chair of the English Department.  She can be reached at and (610) 519-4645.  Prof. Evan Radcliffe is Graduate Director.  He can be reached at and (610) 519-4648.
If you are a prospective undergraduate 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. Joseph Drury.  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. Radcliffe.
Our office is St. Augustine Center 402.  The office telephone number is 610-519-4630, and the fax number is 610-519-6913.