Major Tracks: Literature, Writing, Film and Education

Students talking with professor on campus

Literature track

The Literature track is for students who value the skill of creative thinking that is developed when we read, reflect on, and interpret literary texts. Whether it be through reading Shakespeare’s plays, the Brontë sisters’ novels, or Ta-Nehisi Coates’s reboot of the Black Panther comics series, you and your lit-track peers will enter vital conversations about the meaning and value of literature and gain a breadth of knowledge about literatures across the English speaking world.

What skills will I develop?

As a lit track major, you will spend your time thinking and analyzing texts in ways that will expand your understanding and hone your ability to think, speak and write analytically about the world. By the time you graduate, you will have developed a range of transferable skills that will serve you well in a wide range of career paths. These skills include:

  • Critical Thinking: Analyze texts and situations critically in light of history, culture, genre, point of view, and implicit argument.
  • Textual Analysis: Analyze texts using both close reading and critical frameworks to understanding deeper meanings and new possibilities for interpretation.
  • Effective Oral Communication: Present information using narrative structures of storytelling to inform, persuade and engage an audience.
  • Persuasive Writing: Construct clear, convincing and engaging written arguments for specific audiences and purposes.
  • Problem Solving: Adopt nuanced, creative and analytic approaches to solving complex problems in texts, in the workplace and in the world.
  • Ethical Thinking: Address personal, professional and global issues in complex and compassionate ways.
  • Empathy: Engage thoughtfully and reflectively with the experiences of others, paying attention to differences of culture, perspective, and experience.
  • Research and Organization: Undertake complex projects that require the integration of diverse sources into an organized and coherent whole.

What can I do with a lit track degree?

Your lit track degree will hone your skills in critical thinking, close reading, and communication in ways that prepare you for a variety of other careers. Our graduates pursue careers as:

  • Lawyers
  • Human Resources specialists
  • Social Media directors
  • Teachers
  • Grant writers
  • Marketing executives
  • TV or podcast producers
  • College and career coaches
  • Non-profit managers
  • Corporate spokespersons
  • Librarians
  • Account representatives
  • Fundraisers
  • Human resource workers
  • Business analysts
  • Education advocates

 

What unique opportunities will I have as part of the lit track?

 

  • Take classes that challenge your assumptions about the world. Lit track majors have a wide range of courses on British, American and World literature open to them. You might take a course on “Fearless Girls in Adolescent Literature,” where you would read young adult novels like The Hunger Games and The Hate U Give to consider issues of identity, social status and gender. Or you might take a course on “The Empire Writes Back,” where you would consider about how literature from Britain’s colonies around the world offer different perspectives on global power and global responsibility.
  • Work closely with faculty. English classes are small and the doors of faculty are always open. You might visit a professor’s office to discuss material from class, but you might also stop by to chat about a proposal idea for a conference or for research funding or to discuss possible options for internships or jobs post-graduation.
  • Present your work at national conferences. Lit track majors often present their critical work at national conferences, including the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society annual convention or the undergraduate forum at the Midwest Modern Language Association conference. These experiences will offer opportunities for networking and professionalization even as they hone your written and oral presentation skills and enhance your resumé.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary thinking. Lit track courses are often cross-listed with interdisciplinary minors and encourage students to consider the world through broad lenses. A course on “Jane Austen,” cross-listed with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, asks students to think historically and culturally about the place of women in society and considers the implications of Jane Austen’s predominantly female fandom today. A class on “American Literature and the Environment,” cross-listed with the Environmental Studies minor, explores the ways in which diverse writers offer unique perspectives on key environmental issues through poetic, fictional, and non-fictional forms.
  • Join a community of passionate readers and thinkers. English isn’t just a major, it’s a community of people who are passionately engaged with ideas and texts. As a lit track major, you may attend English Club events, including Harry Potter parties, poetry slams, and marathon readings. You will run into professors and peers in the halls of Arrupe, where you may find yourself drawn into debates on the best villains in Shakespeare or into discussions about how Hollywood culture influenced American literature in early 20th century.

 


Writing track 

The Writing track is for students who want to hone their talents as writers. Those interested in Creative Writing can enroll in courses that focus on teaching the principles of craft such as plot, structure, character, voice, dialogue, and description. Business Writing courses focus on the genres and mechanics of professional communication. Rhetoric courses teach the history, structure, and stylistics of writing. All writing-track courses are dedicated to the idea that writing is a process, which means that you will share your work and critique your peers’ work. You will create community as you grow and improve as a writer.

What skills will I develop?

During your time in the writing track, you will hone your ability to think and write critically and creatively across genres and contexts. By the time you graduate, you will have acquired skills of writing and analysis that will serve you well in a wide range of career paths. These skills include:

  • Critical Thinking: Analyze texts and situations critically in light of history, culture, genre, point of view, and implicit argument.
  • Creative Writing: Write effectively in different genres and for different audiences, shifting fluently between professional, analytic, editorial and creative styles.
  • Persuasive Writing: Construct clear, convincing and engaging written arguments for specific audiences and purposes.
  • Professional Editing: Revise your own work and the writing of others with attention to conventions of style and substance for publication or submission.
  • Effective Oral Communication: Present information using narrative structures of storytelling to inform, persuade and engage an audience.
  • Ethical Thinking: Address personal, professional and global issues in complex and compassionate ways.
  • Empathy: Engage thoughtfully and reflectively with the experiences of others, paying attention to differences of culture, perspective, and experience.
  • Project Management: Undertake and execute complex projects, which require careful organization, thoughtful time management, and productive collaboration.

 

What can I do with a writing track degree?

The writing track prepares you for a multitude of careers in which writing comes first. Our graduates choose to pursue careers as:

  • Copywriters
  • Social media managers
  • Grant writers
  • Editors
  • Lawyers
  • Freelance writers
  • Professional or Technical writers
  • Business analysts
  • Poets / Playwrights / Fiction writers
  • Teachers
  • Journalists
  • Corporate spokespersons
  • Marketing executives

 

What unique opportunities will I have as part of the writing track?

 

  • Take classes that stretch your writing abilities. Writing track majors have a wide range of courses open to them, including courses in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, business writing and rhetoric. You might take “Introduction to Creative Writing” and participate in workshop-format discussions of your own work and the work of your peers. Or you might take “Advanced Composition: Writing the Environment,” where you would explore different genres of environmental writing while developing your writing skills through rounds of peer review in a collaborative classroom environment.
  • Work closely with faculty. English classes are small and the doors of faculty are always open. You might visit a professor’s office to discuss material from class, but you might also stop by to chat about submitting your poetry to a journal or compiling a writing portfolio to apply for internships and jobs. Our faculty, whose poetry, non-fiction essays and analytic prose has all been published in top journals, are keen to advise you through every step of your own writing journey.
  • Gain writing and editing experience with our literary journals. Writing track majors often hone their writing and editing skills by getting involved with our two literary journals.
  • Attend poetry readings and meet nationally acclaimed writers. Poets and writers regularly visit Rockhurst as part of the Midwest Poets Series. These poets not only give readings of their recent and in-progress works, but also visit classrooms for intimate discussions of their work and writing process.
  • Join a community of passionate writers and thinkers. English isn’t just a major, it’s a community of people who are passionately engaged with ideas and texts. As a writing track major, you may attend English Club events, including Harry Potter parties, poetry slams, and Shakespeare recitations. You will run into professors and peers in the halls of Arrupe, where you may find yourself continuing to discuss material shared in class workshops or collaboratively brainstorming ideas for your rhetoric presentation on the whiteboards available around Arrupe.

 


Film track

The Film track is for students who enjoy analyzing, interpreting, and creating visual media. As a Film-track student, you will learn to apply to films the close-reading skills that you develop as an English major. You will learn how films go about inventing and renewing literary modes of storytelling and world-building. You will also learn to write for the screen, crafting stories into screenplays and using visual language to convey tone, style, and point of view.

What skills will I develop?

As a film track major, you will develop your ability to analyze and to create visual texts alongside written ones. By the time you graduate, you will have developed skills of multimedia analysis that prepare you for a range of career paths. These skills include:

  • Critical Thinking: Analyze texts and situations critically in light of history, culture, genre, point of view, and implicit argument.
  • Multimedia Analysis: Analyze and synthesize visual, aural and written texts, using both close reading and critical frameworks to understanding deeper meanings and new possibilities for interpretation.
  • Effective Oral Communication: Present information using narrative structures of storytelling to inform, persuade and engage an audience.
  • Persuasive Writing: Construct clear, convincing and engaging arguments that are tailored for specific audiences and purposes.
  • Problem Solving: Adopt nuanced, creative and analytic approaches to solving complex problems in media, in the workplace and in the world.
  • Cultural Analysis: Identify and engage implicit cultural values and messaging in diverse forms of media.
  • Empathy: Engage thoughtfully and reflectively with the experiences of others, paying attention to differences of culture, perspective, and experience.
  • Project Management: Undertake and execute complex projects, which require careful organization, thoughtful time management, and productive collaboration.

 

What can I do with a film track degree?

The film track prepares students for careers that require expertise in media in all its forms. Our graduates pursue careers as:

  • Video producers
  • Social media directors
  • Art directors
  • Marketing executives
  • Graphic designers
  • Podcast producers
  • Web designers
  • Non-profit arts management

 

What unique experiences will I have as part of the film track?

 

  • Take classes that allow you to create and to analyze visual media. Film track majors have the opportunity to explore visual texts like written ones, applying the skills they honed in English courses to the analysis of visual worlds. Students in “Introduction to Film,” for example, gain a technical and analytic vocabulary for films while engaging in critical analysis of films ranging from classics like Citizen’s Kane to contemporary masterpieces like Pan’s Labyrinth. Students may also take courses on screenwriting, which allow them to create short and longer scripts for films that they can then produce.
  • Work closely with faculty. English classes are small and the doors of faculty are always open. You might visit a professor’s office to discuss material from class, but you might also stop by to chat about an idea for a short film that you’d like to make to or discuss internship possibilities with the Independent Film Coalition of Kansas City.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary thinking. Film track majors are required to take four courses outside the English department that explore film through different disciplinary perspectives. Film track students might find themselves in a communications class on “Cinema Critique,” a Philosophy course on “Philosophy of Film,” a Spanish class on “Spanish Cinema,” or a theology course on “Christianity and Film.”
  • Engage the local filmmaking community. Rockhurst’s film program is tied to the local film community, and the major encourages students to undertake summer internships that place them directly in the field.
  • Join a community of passionate film critics and thinkers. English isn’t just a major, it’s a community of people who are passionately engaged with ideas and texts. English majors at Rockhurst regularly work together to create short films together in and out of class. In coming to Rockhurst. you will not only gain a group of peers but also join a collaborative community of filmmakers and critics.

 


Education track

The Education track is for students who want to share their interest in literature and writing with others. If you would enjoy teaching at the secondary or middle school level, then the Education track is for you. You will be guided through the necessary courses that will ensure you meet the standards for Missouri state teacher certification in English.

What skills will I develop?

As an education track major, you will develop your ability to analyze and teach literature and writing in the classroom. At the same time, by the time you graduate, you will have developed a range of written and oral skills that would serve you well in a range of careers in education, government and non-profit fields. These skills include:

  • Critical Thinking : Analyze texts and situations critically in light of history, culture, genre, point of view, and implicit argument.
  • Effective Oral Communication : Present information using narrative structures of storytelling to inform, persuade and engage an audience – whether of students, educators, or peers.
  • Persuasive Writing : Write in clear, convincing and engaging ways for specific audiences and purposes.
  • Situational Awareness : Understand the implications of different educational methods and approaches in the classroom and develop the ability to engage meaningfully with students, parents and peers with different needs, priorities, and experiences.
  • Problem Solving : Adopt nuanced, creative and analytic approaches to solving complex problems in the classroom and the world.
  • Ethical Thinking : Address personal, professional and global issues in complex and compassionate ways.
  • Empathy : Engage thoughtfully and reflectively with the experiences of others, paying attention to differences of culture, perspective, and experience.
  • Research and Organization : Undertake complex projects that require the integration of diverse sources into an organized and coherent whole.

 

What can I do with an education track degree?

Most education track English majors go on to careers in teacher. But these careers can take varied forms; our graduates become:

  • Primary and secondary school teachers
  • Adult Ed teachers
  • ESL teachers
  • School administrators
  • Curriculum coordinators
  • Educational bloggers, consultants, and advocates
  • School librarians
  • Grant writers
  • Instructional writers for textbooks, test companies, and digital platforms
  • College and career coaches
  • Educational policymakers

 

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have as an education track major?

  • Take classes that expand your understanding of what literature and writing can do. Ed track majors take courses in content areas such as British, American and World literature alongside courses that prepare students for work in the classroom. You’ll take content courses like “Fearless Girls in Adolescent Literature,” where you will read young adult novels like The Hunger Games and The Book Thief to consider how adolescent literature offers a means for adolescents to grapple with issues of identity, social status and gender. You will also take courses like “The Teaching of Writing” in which you develop and learn to articulate a philosophy around the writing instruction that will inform your future classes.
  • Work closely with faculty. English classes are small and the doors of faculty are always open. You might visit a professor’s office to discuss material from class, but you might also stop by to chat about a proposal idea for a conference or for research funding or to discuss possible options for internships or jobs post-graduation.
  • Join the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society. As part of the Honors Society, you will gain access to a range of resources, including opportunities for scholarships, conferences and networking. In the process, become a role model for the next generation and discover ways to pass on a passion for English and for excellence.
  • Gain exposure to a wide range of educational systems. As an English Ed track and Education double major, you will be exposed to a wide range of educational settings. Before your placement, you will spend 75 hours in classrooms in a range of environments that may include charter, suburban public, private, parochial, and urban public schools. By the time you graduate, you will have a broad sense of a variety of educational institutions that will help you pursue jobs at schools that fit your educational philosophy the best.
  • Join a community of passionate readers and thinkers. English isn’t just a major, it’s a community of people who are passionately engaged with ideas and texts. As an Ed track major, you may attend English Club events, including Harry Potter parties, poetry slams, and marathon readings. You will run into professors and peers in the halls of Arrupe, where you may find yourself drawn into debates on the best villains in Shakespeare or into discussions of whether you’d teach a difficult adolescent text like The Hate U Give in the high school classroom.


Senior Thesis

The senior thesis, written under the guidance of a member of the English Department, is a longer, sustained piece of writing that demonstrates the major skills of reading, writing and research in a culminating experience on a topic related to a student’s studies in the major. Credit varies according to the topic chosen. Prerequisites: Senior standing and department chair approval.  

Senior Thesis Application Form

Senior Thesis Project: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)