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English and Literary Studies


Ramapo College Office of Admissions

McBride House 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430

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About English and Literary Studies

Ramapo’s English and Literary Studies major focuses on literature written in English as well as world literature in translation. We seek to engage the cultural, historical and theoretical frameworks in which texts thrive. While the curriculum is designed to develop and hone students’ reading, writing and research skills, our students truly “read the world” and are prepared to enter a complex, global citizenry.

English and Literary Studies is also home to the major’s creative writing concentration, and a minor for non-majors. Our students thrive creatively and produce the college’s literary magazine, attend performances by visiting writers, and develop their writing life.

Our students become engaged, thoughtful citizens who pursue distinguished careers, and are offered opportunities in internships, co-ops, and service learning placements. Whether preparing for graduate study, editing and publishing, teaching, public relations, library science, our students are capable of the increased flexibility, critical thinking and analytical skills necessary to succeed in today’s work force. Visit our Alumni Success Stories page and meet some of our graduates.

Classes you can take:

Our courses allow students to read all kinds of literature in all kinds of forms: poetry, fiction, graphic novels, film, drama, and more. Studying literature is a way to study all of life’s experiences, offering the thoughtful student a window into the lives of others. In our creative writing courses, students challenge their imagination and develop the discipline that marks the best writers.

Below are just a few of the many courses we offer:

See Full Program Requirements

Career Opportunities

The popular press regularly notes that the flexibility of the degree makes English and Literary Studies Majors eminently hirable. Steve Strauss writes in USA Today, “I love [Literature majors’] ability to write well and think critically” (July 8, 2016). Business Insider routinely runs articles citing the desirability of hiring Literature/English Majors. Their June 2013 profile of Logitch CEO Bracken Darrell (himself a Literature major) suggests, Literature Majors’ “’soft skills’ are greatly needed in today’s technical world.” Mark Cuban echoed these sentiments in the same publication in his Feb. 17, 2017 article “Don’t Go To School For Finance — Liberal Arts Is The Future.”

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) agree. Among their findings is that Liberal Arts majors “Earn More than Professional Majors at Peak Earnings Ages”:

“At peak earnings ages (56-60 years) workers who majored as undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences earn annually on average about $2000 more than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional fields. These data include all college graduates working full-time, including those with only a baccalaureate degree and those with both a baccalaureate and graduate or professional degree.”

Also, Liberal Arts majors face lower unemployment rates:

“The unemployment rate for recent liberal arts graduates is 5.2 percent. The unemployment rate for mature workers with liberal arts degrees (41-50) is 3.5 percent—just .04 percent higher than the rates for those with a professional or preprofessional degree.” (See

Here is one way to think about the message of all of this research: it is easy to imagine a English and Literary Studies major taking an entry-level position at a brokerage house or bank (this happens frequently). It is much harder to imagine a Finance major walking into a high school English teaching position. While the data is there, this message is difficult to transmit. Below I will make some recommendations on this matter.

Hands-On Learning

The English and Literary Studies major balances survey and seminar, American, British, and world literature while you study genre, period, and theme. Your courses will emphasize the interdisciplinary and multicultural dimensions of literature and life.

Prepare for life with internships, co-ops, and service learning placements at organizations such as John Wiley & Sons, Simon & Schuster, the New York Public Library, the Margaret Sanger Papers Project, the Jane Addams Papers Project, The Feminist Press,, Paterson Public Schools, and Stryker Orthopaedics.

You can choose to expand your career options by minoring or concentrating in Creative Writing. Majoring in English and Literary Studies is a practical choice that helps you develop the communications skills employers want. At the same time, students enjoy studying their favorite authors and discover new ones.
Fire up your imagination by getting involved with Trillium, the college literary magazine, or joining the English and Literary Studies Club and the Omega Omega Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (the national English Honor Society).

Our students have had their work published in such publications as Salon, The Guardian, The Hairpin, Truth-Out, Buzzfeed, Esquire, Paste, Hazlett, Bustle, Femsplain, The New Republic, The Toast.


English and Literary Studies Minor

The English and Literary Studies minor has only one required courses. Student take LITR 203, one 300-level course. The other courses are up to the student. The English and Literary Studies Minor lets students hone their critical reading and writing skills while exploring literary texts from around the world and across history. Students are required to take 5 courses (20 credits) to complete the minor.

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