English Language and Literature

College of Arts and Humanities
1128 Tawes Hall
Phone: 301-405-3825

Our graduates are creative thinkers and global visionaries who put their deep study of literature, writing, rhetoric, and media to work in a range of fields from education, politics, and law to publishing, marketing, and communications. Majors study independently and alongside intellectually and culturally diverse scholars and students to gather, analyze, and disseminate information that connects important civic and cultural topics of our past, present, and future. Students hone their critical and creative reasoning through their chosen specialization in literary and cultural studies; creative writing; media studies; or language, writing, and rhetoric. Our curriculum inspires flexibility and provides unparalleled opportunities to apply what you learn to internships with institutions in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. Graduates develop the following abilities crucial to today’s knowledge-based economy:

  • Writing expertise in diverse genres relevant to literary, rhetorical, linguistic, and media inquiry
  • Identifying and using relevant cultural historical information to situate creative and rhetorical texts in time, place, and tradition
  • Selecting and analyzing appropriate information sources, both print and digital, to synthesize, integrate, and credit those sources in their own work
  • Suitably analyzing underrepresented experiences and cultural diversity, including structural and institutional inequity, using texts written by and about those culturally marginalized due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and/or physical or mental ability.

Students also gain the following abilities in their selected major track:

  • Producing close readings of texts that integrate terms and concepts related to literary expression and to literature’s function as a historical and cultural force (Literary and Cultural Studies)
  • Analyzing the relationship between language, thought, and communication and applying the power of language and other symbol systems to reach audiences and shape social realities (Language, Writing, and Rhetoric)
  • Producing media analyses that integrate knowledge of how the material production, technologies, and cultural practices of diverse types of media shape meaning (Media Studies)
  • Dexterity in one or more genres of creative writing and an understanding of the history and methods of craft (Creative Writing)

Comparative Literature Program (CMLT)

Courses in Comparative Literature offer students the opportunity to engage in literary and media studies outside of a single national or linguistic range. Students with an interest in multiple languages and cultures may develop their ability to contextualize different literary, media, and artistic traditions within a global rubric. Courses on Global Literature and Social Change, World Literature by Women, Black Diaspora Literature and Culture, Literature of the Americas, and Film Art in a Global Society, among others, cultivate a sense of the transnational nature of cultural production and consumption. Knowledge of a language other than English is not required.

English (ENGL) 

Chair: A. Bailey

Director: S. Trudell

Professors: E. Arnold, G. Avilez, A. Bailey, R. Bauer, M. Casey, T. Chico, W. Cohen, J. Drabinski, J. Enoch, M. Kirschenbaum, R. Levine, M. Parham, G. Passannante, B. Pearson, S. Ray, B. Richardson, K. Robertson, L. Rosenthal, J. Rudy, M. Smith, O. Wang, J. Weiner, E. Wong

Associate Professors: S. Balachandran Orihuela, L. Bertram, L. Coleman, K. Coles, O. Gaycken, J. Fleming, M. Israel, L. Konstantinou, K. Kraus, M. Lindemann, P. Mallios, E. Mitchell, T. Moser, R. Ontiveros, R. Scott, D. Simon, S. Trudell, V. Valiavitcharska, C. Walter, S. Wible

Assistant Professors: G. Fuentes, C. Infante, C. Shelton, S. Wilder

Professor of the Practice: M. Olmert

Principal Lecturers: C. Bayly, M. Forrester, P. Gerhardt, L. Hilliard, D. Hinc, R. Holden, J. Lohr, T. Lowderbaugh, P. Moses, P. Orel, M. Shea, C. Wilkins

Senior Lecturers: R. Allen-Klein, J. Angelella, K. Angeline, B. Baker, A. Calloway, P. Cote, C. Crane, N. Crawford, K. Cresap, S. Dammeyer, A. Delfino, M. Fitzgerald, E. Flamm, P. Grybauskas, K. Joshi, J. Kim, M. Kolakoski, K. Lape,  A. Mason, D. O’Brien, L. Payne, R. Phillips, S. Pramschufer, D. Saalfeld, H. Scott, R. Skudrna, A. Stallings, E. Thiel, D. Todd, M. Von Euw, J. Wappel, R. Waugh, J. Weiss, D. Winston

Lecturer: E. Robinson

Affiliate Professor: V. Van Hyning (Information Studies)

Professors Emeriti: J. Auchard, J. Auerbach, V. Beauchamp, A. Berlin, J. Bryer, C. Caramello, K. Cartwright, V. Carretta, R. Coogan, S. Cooper, R. Cross, J. Donawerth, J. Fahnestock, V. Flieger, N. Fraistat, D. Hamilton, G. Hamilton, E. Hammond, R. Harrison, H. Herman, N. Isaacs, R. Jellema, L. Kauffman, R. Kolker, L. Lawson, T. Leinwand, S. Leonardi, S. Logan, M. Mack, M. Marcuse, H. Norman, C. Peterson, W. Peterson, L. Ryan, R. Vitzthum, C. Winton, D. Wyatt

Comparative Literature Program (CMLT)

Chair: A. Bailey 

Director: S. Balachandran Orihuela  

Professors: H. Baer (German), R. Bauer (English), C. Eades (French), R. Long (Spanish), V. Orlando (French), G. Passannante (English), S. Ray (English), B. Richardson (English), K. Robertson (English), O. Wang (English) 

Associate Professors: L. Arsenjuk (Film), S. Balachandran Orihuela (English), O. Gaycken (English), R. Ontiveros (English), E. Papazian (Russian), V. Valiavitcharska (English), E. Zakim (Jewish Studies) 

Assistant Professor: M. Resmini (Film and Italian) 

Lecturer: E. Robinson (English) 

Affiliate Professors: W. Cohen (English), L. Doherty (Classics), A. Frisch (French), F. Keshavarz-Karamustafa (Arabic Studies)

Affiliate Associate Professors: V. Anishchenkova (Arabic Studies), F. Barrenechea (Classics), M. Mason (East Asian Studies), A. Schonebaum (Chinese)

Professors Emeriti: J. Auerbach (English), A. Berlin (English), C. Caramello (English), J. Donawerth (English), J. Hallett (Classics), R. Harrison (Spanish and English), R. Igel (Spanish), L. Kauffman (English), J. Levinson (Philosophy), C. Peterson (English)

Academic advising for English majors, English/Secondary Education double majors, Creative Writing minors, Digital Storytelling and Poetics minors, Professional Writing minors, and Rhetoric minors is available throughout the year. Departmental academic advising is mandatory for all English majors and English/Secondary Education double majors each semester. Students should check Testudo for their registration date and schedule an advising appointment for at least one week in advance of that date.

To review the academic plans for the English major and English/Secondary Education double major, go to http://arhu.umd.edu/academics/advising/academic-plans/.

The University Career Center provides advising year-round via two full-time career advisors housed within the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU). Each semester, both ARHU and the English Department host a variety of events aimed at assisting students in internship and career searches. Examples include resume workshops, networking events, industry-specific career panels, opportunities to intern for a day, and career fairs.

Additionally, the English Department offers an academic course, ENGL 497: English at Work, that helps English majors learn how to apply their academic knowledge and skills to the professional workplace after graduation.


The department sponsors numerous internships and also offers credit for outside pre-professional internships focused on writing, research, or media. Departmental internships include: Maryland General Assembly Internship, Dickinson Electronic Archives Digital Humanities Internship, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) Internship, Writing Center Internship, and Undergraduate Teaching Assistants Internship. For information, visit http://english.umd.edu/academic-programs/beyond-classroom/internships/.

Honors Program

The English Honors Program offers lively and challenging seminars, the opportunity to complete a long-term project in an area of special interest, and an intellectual community resembling what one might find at a small liberal arts college. Students work closely with faculty mentors and peers, developing a senior project through both seminars and independent study. Interested students should ask for details from an English Department advisor as early as possible in their college careers. Applications are usually submitted in the fall of the third year. For information, visit http://english.umd.edu/academic-programs/undergraduate/honors-program/.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The English department offers two scholarships, the Dawn M. Sisas Scholarship and the Kwiatek Scholarship. The Sisas Scholarship goes to an outstanding English major who attended Southern High School in Anne Arundel County. The Kwiatek Scholarship goes to several outstanding English majors each year to defray academic expenses.

Beyond the English department, the Office of Student Financial Aid administers all types of federal, state, and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit http://financialaid.umd.edu.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center, 1205 Tawes Hall, 301-405-3785, provides free consultations to undergraduate students with writing assignments. In a supportive atmosphere, trained consultants from a variety of backgrounds and majors assist writers in-person and online throughout all stages of the composition process. The Writing Center also facilitates collaborations and workshops on topics related to writing and teaching writing. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome based on the availability of tutors. Appointments can be made by visiting the Writing Center's website: http://english.umd.edu/writing-programs/writing-center/. Students, faculty, and staff who have quick questions about punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, or documentation may call the Writing Center's Grammar Hotline at 301-405-3785.

Awards and Recognition

Academic Excellence in English

The English Department Academic Excellence Awards are presented each spring to students graduating in English with the most outstanding academic records in their major coursework. Winners receive a certificate and a book written by a department faculty member.

Henrietta Spiegel Creative Writing Award

This award is bestowed each spring to honor undergraduate work in creative writing judged by the Creative Writing faculty to be the most outstanding. It is named for the oldest person ever to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland (B.A. in English, 1989, at age 92).

Joseph W. Houppert Memorial Shakespeare Prize

This prize, named for a distinguished member of the department who served from 1963 until his death in 1979, is awarded each spring to the undergraduate who has written the best essay on Shakespeare during the academic year.

Joyce Tayloe Horrell Award

This award, in memory of a master teacher in the English Department from 1960 to 1967, is conferred annually on the English major who has demonstrated the highest academic achievement among the graduating class.

Sandy Mack Award for Outstanding Work in English Honors

This prize, which is given each spring to the student with the most outstanding overall record in English Honors, is named for the faculty member who developed the English Honors Program and guided it for many years.

Sara Ann Soper Undergraduate Service Award

This award honors a graduating senior who has volunteered time, energy, and commitment to community service. It memorializes the mother of a 1989 English graduate, Shannon Altman, who endowed it.