Mission Statement

English at Queens College offers courses in which you can cultivate your own voice while interpreting cultural and literary texts from diverse periods, regions, genres, languages, and styles. We promote a spirit of inquisitiveness regarding the ideas, passions, and possibilities writing evokes, and the histories of struggle that produce it. Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty specialize in literatures of many times and places, the arts of rhetoric and persuasion, and the forms of creative writing. Although our work is eclectic and wide ranging, we share a commitment to the social, political, and emotional resonance of writing—and to developing your talents and abilities as a writer and communicator. You will have the opportunity to be mentored by these dedicated instructors.

English majors practice critical acumen, empathic attunement to other people, and an ability to convey their ideas in writing. We ask that you read widely and with great subtlety, cultivating a close attention to language that reveals its beauty, nuance, power, and the knowledge it bears. We also foster an awareness of multilingual contexts and the many ways in which language and literacy have shaped our history and our present. Learning how cultural and literary texts represent the world as it has been—and as it might be—can teach you ways to act ethically within the world.

As you grow as a writer, interpreter and researcher, you will have the opportunity to cultivate your voice in a variety of genres: from academic essays to creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and fiction. You will also practice writing beyond the borders of the college classroom and for the public. We view writing not only as self-expression, but as a craft and a discipline. In the English major you will hone your written and spoken expression in a variety of modes and cultural contexts, including the digital platforms and public forums that play such an important role in our contemporary cultural life.

The analytical and critical skills developed by your English major—including marshalling and evaluating evidence—will help you contribute to your local communities and to respond to the many challenges that face us globally. Learning to read and write confidently will help you flourish in your future career. Many of our students pursue post-graduate opportunities that require them to be excellent writers, including graduate school and careers in law, publishing, non-profit organizations, education, or politics. Queens College English majors have pursued careers in Education, Business and Finance, Theater, Film, Radio, and Television, Digital Production and Marketing, Museums and Galleries, Journalism, Publishing, Law, Politics, Government and Community Organization, Medical Administration, and Higher Education.