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English Degree | Norwich University

Sean Prentiss, Award-Winning Author and Associate Professor of English

I stumbled into teaching by accident. I meant to get a job digging trails in wilderness. Instead I got a job digging trails in the wilderness and leading at-risk youth. I soon discovered that I loved teaching and leading as much as being in wildness. The things I love about teaching are watching students take risks, grow, explore, and become passionate about some new idea. Literally every day is better after I teach because students bring so much energy to class. They repeatedly inspire me.

I grew up with a deep love for the environment. I am drawn to the quiet and remote places, which is one of the reasons I chose to teach at Norwich University. I am drawn to the places on the edges. And much like how I accidentally fell into teaching, I also accidentally fell into creative writing. But once I began writing, I realized that it allowed me to be creative, to take risks, to explore myself, and to explore ideas. It allowed me to grow and change and question who I am and why I am that way.  

And there’s that famous quote, "If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life." So I decided to do just that, to be a creative and environmental writer who also teaches. Now, whether I am at home writing a poem or at campus teaching, every day is a joy because I get to live my passions.

English majors may choose to take education courses and a semester of student teaching to qualify as a teacher in Vermont. Students should begin planning during freshman year to fit licensure requirements into their major.

An English minor complements any major. Students who major in disciplines other than English, but share a love and respect for language and literature, often pursue a minor degree. This versatile and popular program encourages students to draw from a broad range of courses in writing, literature, film and theater, tailoring a program to their desires. Students interested in developing their writing skills, for example, might choose a minor consisting of courses in advanced composition, professional and technical writing, creative writing and a class in critical analysis of literature.

English minors must complete six courses with a ‘C’ average or better: EN201, EN202, EN282 and four additional courses numbered above EN202. To view current course offerings and requirements for this minor, please see Norwich's academic course catalog:

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Develop the communication skills to succeed. The writing minor offers students the opportunity to study persuasive writing, creative writing, journalism, environmental writing, and writing in digital environments.

The sustained focus of the writing minor on skills that employers value in college graduates–skills like collaboration, creativity, problem solving, innovation, and new media literacy–prepare NU graduates for the tasks expected from today’s employers. As we move deeper into a world where fluency in writing is vital, and the connections between writing, technology, and creativity are integral to so many aspects of life, a writing minor at Norwich University greatly benefits students in their future personal and professional lives.

For the writing minor, students must complete, with a grade of ‘C’ or better, six courses: EN203 Advanced Composition, EN274 Intro to Creative Writing, either EN 362 Rhetorical Criticism or EN 364 Intermediate Creative Writing, and three additional writing electives listed in the course catalog.

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Courses are offered in literature, theater, and film, which provide a broad humanistic background, and in writing and speech, which provide practical skills. The composition and literature sequence emphasizes writing, reading, and critical thinking skills; students also receive instruction in the forms of discourse and literary genres. The world literature sequence, required of all Bachelor of Arts students, examines world texts in their historical and cultural contexts. A broad range of elective offerings, open to students of all academic disciplines, provides examination of traditional periods and authors as well as emerging literary forms. Specialty courses also include literature of the developing world, of leadership, of American culture and ethnicity, and of the military. A variety of writing courses, both technical and creative, introduces and strengthens rhetorical skill.

Through developing a critical understanding of English and American literature in relationship to aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual contexts, we are committed to fostering opportunities that cultivate freedom of expression, personal and professional fulfillment, intellectual development, collaboration, and social growth.

To view English course offerings and a curriculum map for majors and minors, see the Norwich University academic catalog:

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