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College of Arts and Sciences


Department of English Language and Literature

Department of English Language and Literature

Literature is more than mere words. Our approach to literature encompasses film, authorship, rhetoric, critical theory, and more.

The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes declared that “high thoughts must have high language.” Under the tutelage of more than 60 faculty members, our 500 undergraduate majors and more than 160 graduate students develop a sophisticated knowledge of the crucial role that language and literature play in the preservation of our civilization, as well as the practical skills to put such understanding into practice every day.

Our internationally known scholars offer courses in English and American literature, African American studies, composition and rhetoric,  history of authorship and publishing, literary theory, critical theory, linguistics, communication studies, film, and creative writing.

In addition to the general undergraduate major, students can have a concentration in writing or in secondary education.  Our graduate program features a curriculum that provides opportunities for foundational training, specialized inquiry, and directed interdisciplinary scholarship.  Depending on their interests, graduate students can earn a Master of Arts, Master of Teaching, Master of Fine Arts, or a Ph.D. degree.

Our department is the nation’s only major English department that houses a speech program.  It has one of the oldest and strongest composition and rhetoric programs in the country, and offers the only creative writing program in South Carolina.  We also present innovative community programs.  “The Open Book”  brings famed authors to campus for classes that are open to the public. And, the Poetry Initiative brings the love of language to school children throughout the state.

Please peruse our website to explore further all that the Department of English Language and Literature encompasses at the University of South Carolina!