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Overview of Program

The English and Communication Arts department offers a wide array of courses in English, American and world literature, writing and theater. The major prepares students for any field where careful analysis and clear, effective language skills are essential.

A high degree of literacy is a valuable skill, and is enhanced by exposure to a wide range of great written works. The department's approach to literature promotes the following:

  • A liberal arts education that ensures professional capability and personal growth;
  • Enhanced appreciation of literature through extensive reading and writing; and
  • Development of imagination and creativity through extensive reading and writing.

English majors learn how to obtain information, analyze it in a variety of ways and communicate it clearly to a wide audience. Beginning with freshman composition, courses in the English and Communication Arts department are limited in size, and many are taught on a tutorial basis. All classes emphasize and develop skills in writing and in critical thinking—skills that are transferable to, and are essential in, all other areas of study.

Department faculty regularly sponsor field trips to the professional theaters in the metropolitan area and to special exhibitions at museums such as the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore or the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. In the near future, the department will offer summer courses in London and Italy.

English majors will choose one of three concentrations:

  • Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Drama and Theater

Students in the literature concentration become familiar with the major literary traditions in English, the expressive capabilities of literary genres (poetry, drama, fiction) and literary perspectives that cross boundaries of cultures, modes and media.

In addition to courses in literary studies, the creative writing concentration allows students to focus on writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama and screenplays. Since these all fall under the umbrella of the fine arts, the creative writing concentration can also prepare students for graduate work in creative writing.

Students in the drama and theater concentration explore the history of theater and drama from the Greeks and Romans to the present. On the performance side of the proscenium, all students study acting and improvisation—with opportunities to explore electives such as playwriting, screenwriting and directing for the stage. Many students use their skills to pursue MFA degrees in acting, playwriting and directing or pursue theater opportunities in Frederick, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago and New York City. The skills acquired in theater classes are useful in a wide variety of settings and professions.

Minor in Theater and Drama

Courses in the minor include acting, improvisation, directing, playwriting, theater history, dramatic literature and theater on film. Many additional opportunities are available through Hood College Theatre's mainstage productions, HIT! (Hood Improv Troupe!) and HCSMT (Hood College Student Musical Theatre). Guest artists and seminars are offered to enhance the classroom offerings. Field trips and other projects also pro- vide hands-on learning experiences.

Alumni Success Stories

Graduates of Hood's English program have entered a variety of careers and professions. Among these are:

  • Professor of English, Fordham University
  • Editor, Journal of the National Cancer Institute
  • Partner, law firm of Geomage and Burnham
  • Executive Director, Community Volunteer Service
  • Marketing Representative, Norton Publishing
  • Director of the Media Center, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Reporter, Raleigh-Durham Times News
  • Reference Librarian, Ottendorfer Library
  • Assignment Editor, WRC NBC4-TV (Washington, D.C.)
  • Teacher, AmeriCorps
  • Project Manager, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Technical Writer, Department of the Army
  • Communications Director, National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform

Student Comments

Recent graduates of Hood's English program can best describe the impact of this major:

"Did I learn anything from the Hood College English and Communication Arts department? In a word, absolutely! My success primarily comes down to strong writing and communications skills. And for that I thank Hood College."

"My education from Hood College as an English major . . . has set me up for many of the challenges I've faced in my professional career as a recruiter. From problem-solving skills (allowing me to see a difficult problem and dissect that problem, getting to the root cause) to verbal and written communication (I have consistently gotten high marks on performance evaluations on my communications skills), the lesson learned in the Hood College English department have equipped me well for my life after college."

A recent student, returning as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in West Africa, wrote "Earning an English degree at Hood College has obviously related to much of my professional career. However, more specifically it provided me with the skills to analyze problems from different perspectives, as well as the ability to write well."

"[Being an English major at Hood] taught me to not only love turning a boring phrase or sentence into something extraordinary but to break things apart, look beyond the surface, and continue to look for patterns and constructs that we may use to interpret the world. I can go on and on but I think that being an English major and the rigorous curriculum have set me up for success."

"I earned my undergraduate degree in English and a master's degree in humanities. During that time, I was continually stimulated, enlightened and challenged by the variety and depth of courses, along with the superior level of instruction, provided by the English faculty. In addition, my faculty advisers provided excellent guidance in a manner that was academically sound and personally satisfying. As a result of the high caliber of the department, I consider my educational experience at Hood to be one of the most important and rewarding of my life."

Learn more about the major and the department.