Jul 25, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Academic Updates 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Academic Updates


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Professor: Scott A. Nowka, Chairperson

Professors:  Lucinda Damon-Bach, Albert DeCiccio,Theresa DeFrancis, Michael P. Jaros, Jeannette M. Lindholm, Amy Jo Minett, Jude V. Nixon, Alexandria Peary, Tanya Rodrigue, John David Scrimgeour, Jeffrey S.Theis, Keja L.Valens, Pierre A. Walker, Julie Whitlow, Stephenie Young

Associate Professors:  Kevin Carey, Melanie González, January O’Neil, Arthur Riss 

 Faculty Emeriti

Professors: Paul Beauvais, Eric Branscomb, Patricia L. Buchanan, Regina Flynn, Perry Glasser, Patricia A. Gozemba, Rod Kessler, Claire Keyes, Thomas E. Luddy, Lisa N. Mulman, Patricia Parker, Donnalee Rubin, Nancy Schultz, Ann M. Taylor

Department Mission Statement

Profound literacy is the hallmark of a liberal education. To that end, English department courses involve instruction and study in literature and writing, the emphasis varying according to course content. Through intensive reading and analysis, students develop a critical appreciation of literature written in disparate times and places. Through expository writing, students learn techniques for conducting research and for drafting and revising analytic and persuasive essays based on critical reading. In creative writing, students develop an aesthetic through practicing the craft of various genres. The English department prepares students for professional and academic leadership including careers in teaching and writing.

General Statement

The English Department at Salem State offers courses and programs that provide a solid liberal arts foundation for positions in such areas as education, law, healthcare, business, publishing, editing, public service, freelance writing, and the arts. The department also offers concentrations in such areas as Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing.  Classes are small and led by an enthusiastic faculty in the forefront of their respective fields. The English major at SSU prepares students to participate successfully in a variety of professional environments.

Programs Offered

4+1 combined undergraduate and graduate programs

English BA and MEd Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages  

Combined BA English & MA English Literature  

English, BA-MA, English Writing  

English, BA, Creative Writing and MA, English Literature  

English, BA, Creative Writing and MA, English Writing  

English, BA, Professional Writing & MA, English Literature   

English, BA Professional Writing & MA English Writing  

English BA and MEd (licensure program for teaching English in grades 5-12)  


For more information on Master’s Degrees in English, see the Graduate Catalog.


Bachelor of Arts, English  


Creative Writing  
Professional Writing  

Minors (for non-English majors)

Dramatic Literature  
Film Studies  
Professional Writing   


Academic Advising

The Registration Procedure requires close contact between English majors and their Department advisors. All majors, including all approved Change of Majors and Transfers are assigned an advisor in the English Department. All majors, in consultation with their advisors, should track their academic progress to use the Navigator and Navigate applications to ensure compliance with all major and university requirements. Majors and minors with advising questions should first contact their assigned advisors.

When setting up their programs, majors should keep in mind the following guidelines:

  1. All majors must declare a minor by the end of their Sophomore year; Junior transfers by the end of their first semester.

  2. English majors who wish to pursue one of the departmental concentrations should be certain to follow the required and recommended course selections.

  3. To declare a concentration, English majors or prospective majors must submit a request using Navigator to the Department Chairperson.  Please see the description of the Creative Writing concentration for further steps required in declaring that concentration.


Bachelor of Arts in English

The Program: 36 hours in English including 2 hours of required courses in specified categories and 12 hours of electives. At least 9 hours must be at the 400 level or higher.The Program: 36 hours in English including 2 hours of required courses in specified categories and 12 hours of electives. At least 9 hours must be at the 400 level or higher.

First-year English majors are required to take W-I course. They are also required to take ENL 160 Literature I: Reading Broadly   and ENL 161 Literature II: Reading Closely.

The required course categories are:

National/Postnational.  9 credit hours, to be divided as follows:

  • 3 credit hours in pre-19th Century British and Anglophone literature
  • 3 credit hours in pre-20th Century United States and the Americas literature
  • 3 credit hours in Postnational 20th and 21st Century literature

Approaches to Language, Literacy, and Writing. 3 credit hours.

Approaches to Theory.  3 credit hours.

Capstone Experience. 3 credit hours.

English Courses by Category

British and Anglophone Pre-19th Century

ENL 240 British Literary Studies I
ENL 241 British Literary Studies II
ENL 340 Shakespeare I
ENL 341 Shakespeare II
ENL 442 Studies in Shakespeare  
ENL 443 Seventeenth Century English Poetry
ENL 444 Origins of the British Novel

United States and the Americas Pre-20th Century

ENL 250 American Literary Studies I
ENL 255 African American Literature I
ENL 450 Early American Literature
ENL 451 American Romanticism
ENL 452 American Realism
ENL 453 American Naturalism

Postnational 20th and 21st Century Literature

ENL 140 Contemporary British Culture After Empire
ENL 233 Contemporary Society Through Literature

ENL 237 Climate Change and Climate fiction
ENL 251 American Literary Studies II
ENL 253 Multiethnic American Literature
ENL 256 African American Literature II
ENL 282 World Drama
ENL 338 Poetry I (Modern)
ENL 339 Poetry II (Contemporary)
ENL 344 Twentieth Century British Fiction
ENL 345 Twentieth Century British Literature
ENL 352 U.S. Latinx Literature
ENL 354 Native American Literature
ENL 360 Irish Literature and Culture
ENL 365 Modern European Novel
ENL 366 The Caribbean Experience in Literature
ENL 380 Modern Drama I
ENL 381 Modern Drama II
ENL 447 English Literature Between the Wars: 1920-40
ENL 454 Modern American Literature
ENL 460 Postcolonial Literature
ENL 463 Experiments in the Contemporary Novel
ENL 480 Twentieth Century British Drama
ENL 481 Modern American Drama
ENL 482 Women in Drama

Approaches to Language, Literacy, and Writing

ENL 201 Introduction to Language
ENL 220 Introduction to Creative Writing
ENL 221 Mindful Writing
ENL 225H Advanced Writing in Honors
ENL 231 Literature and the Reader
ENL 300 Advanced Writing
ENL 305 History of the English Language
ENL 306 Grammar and Style
ENL 307 Fundamentals of Teaching English as a Second Language
ENL 308 Language in Society
ENL 310 Introduction to Professional Writing
ENL 311 Editing for Publication
ENL 314 Business Writing
ENL 315 Technical Writing
ENL 316 Travel Writing
ENL 317 Digital Writing
ENL 318 Food Writing
ENL 321 The Craft of Poetry
ENL 322 The Craft of Fiction
ENL 405 Linguistics
ENL 410 Workshop in Literary Journalism
ENL 411 Special Topics in Professional Writing
ENL 412 Seminar in Modern Publishing
ENL 420 Creative Writing Workshop: Scriptwriting
ENL 421 Creative Writing Workshop: Non-fiction
ENL 422 Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction
ENL 423 Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry
ENL 424 Special Topics in English: Creative Writing
ENL 302 Writing Center Practicum
ENL 508 Internship in English

Approaches to Theory

ENL 390 Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
ENL 490 Contemporary Literature Theory

ENL 491 Queer Theory
ENL 495 Special Topics in Theory and Criticism

Capstone Experiences

ENL 500 Directed Study
ENL 505 Creative Writing Thesis
ENL 510 Portfolio Seminar
ENL 530 Seminar in Literature
ENL 600H Honors Seminar
ENL 601H Senior Honors Project in English


Concentrations for English Majors

Creative Writing (18 credits)
Coordinator: Kevin Carey

The creative writing concentration offers students classes in various genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scriptwriting, as well as special topics. Students meet accomplished writers who visit creative writing classes as part of Salem State’s Writers’ Series, and they have the opportunity to work on Soundings East, Salem State’s international literary magazine. They culminate their experience by writing a creative writing thesis, working individually with a faculty mentor.

Students wishing to enroll in the creative writing concentration must first have taken ENL 220, “Introduction to Creative Writing,” (or its equivalent at another institution) and then a portfolio of writing (10-15 pages of poetry, fiction and/or creative nonfiction) to the coordinator of creative writing, who, in consultation with other creative writing faculty, will approve or reject the application. If rejected, students may reapply once after consulting with the coordinator of creative writing.  Students are encouraged to declare by the end of their Sophomore year (54 credits). Transfer students are encouraged to speak with the coordinator of creative writing.

Professional Writing (18 credits)

This program provides students with the knowledge and abilities needed to be ethical, just, and effective professional and digital writers. Professional and digital writers are employed, for instance, as social media content writers, technical writers, and/or grant writers. They are also defined as those who regularly compose professional documentation within profit or non-profit organizations related to fields such as engineering, healthcare, business, and advocacy. Students will learn how writing in all its varied forms–words, sounds, and visuals–plays a role in and out of the workplace as well as in the human experience. They will learn processes and strategies to compose using these forms with attention to audience, purpose, social context, and genre. The program’s grounding in rhetorical and technological theories further provides students with a sophisticated understanding of writing and its contexts. In its commitment to social justice, this program guides students in exploring how professional and digital writing can create, reinforce, diminish, dismantle, and even transform power structures and ideologies.


Combined Bachelor of Arts English & Master of Education with Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

Lead Faculty for English Education:  Keja Valens

The English department offers an integrated bachelors/master’s degree program in Secondary Education English. Through this program students pursue an initial license to teach English at the middle and secondary levels (grades 5-12). Students start in the English Teacher Preparation Pathway, then apply-in the spring of their second year–for the 4+1 (BA+MEd) with their intent to progress to Stage I of the licensure program.  Students who successfully complete the undergraduate portion will continue to a fifth year and will graduate with a Master of Education with eligibility for initial licensure at the conclusion of the fifth year of study, assuming all academic and licensure standards are met.

Admissions requirements to the licensure program include, but are not limited to:

  • A passing score on the Communication and Literacy portions of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL);

  • 3.0 minimum GPA in prior college course work

Exceptions may be made to the above-referenced requirements at the discretion of the admissions committee.  Retention in the program is based on satisfactory academic progress (maintenance of a 3.0 GPA) and the passing of specific MTEL tests required for licensure. Students who do not meet these retention guidelines must exit the program and complete a degree without licensure. 


Combined Bachelor of Arts English & Master or Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Coordinator: Amy Jo Minett

The MAT in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or TESOL prepares teachers to educate English learners in K -12 schools, adult immigrants, international students preparing for academic study, and those studying in a wide-range of language schools both in the U.S. and overseas.

This combined BA English & MAT program allows the English major who is interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages to earn two degrees in five years.

Students can pursue either:

  1. the Licensure Track of the MAT which will prepare students to teach in an English as a Second Language setting in a Massachusetts classroom. Completion of the initial licensure track incorporates pre-practicum hours and a practicum in a K-12 setting for those seeking licensure in Massachusetts as outlined by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or

  2. the Non-Licensure track which will not lead to K-12 licensure but will prepare students to work in an adult, overseas, or community program. In addition to coursework, those not seeking licensure would have a supervised Field Experience course in lieu of the supervised practicum and the opportunity to partner with a community agency offering adult ESOL classes to gain valuable service learning experience.

Admissions requirements to the program include:

  • Completion of 45 credits;

  • 3.0 minimum GPA for both admission and retention;

  • Application before having completed 90 credits. Exceptions may be made for students who are seniors but who still have at least 30 credits of required courses remaining to graduate;

  • A passing score on the Communication and Literacy portions of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) for those interested in the MAT Licensure Track.

Combined Bachelor of Arts English & Master of Arts English
Coordinator: Keja Valens

English majors bring highly-valued critical thinking and communication skills to the workplace. The MA degree is increasingly significant in demonstrating advanced mastery and ability in critical analysis and creative thinking. In MA courses, students work in small group settings with distinguished professors who are experts in their fields and a diverse student body, many of whom are licensed teachers and work professionally in U.S. schools. All MA students have the opportunity to complete a Capstone project working one-on-one with a faculty member to compose a Masters’ Thesis, Manuscript, or Portfolio.

The program can combine the standard English major, the Professional Writing concentration, or the Creative Writing concentration with either of the two MA options, Literature or Writing. In all combinations, students will develop and hone skills in critical analysis, communication, and creative thinking.

Interested English majors can apply in their Sophmore or Junior year.  During their Junior and/or Senior year, accepted studnets take four MA level courses that count toward both the BA and the MA degrees. Then, in their fifth year students will complete the MA degree. Students can also combine the MA portion of the degree with a Graduate Certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Digital Studies, or Writing and Rhetoric.

To apply, students submit a statement of interest and an unofficial to the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Keja Valens, (kvalens@salemstate.edu).  Upon acceptance in the program, students complete a plan of study for the graduate component of the program.

Additional Programs and Resources

Interdisciplinary Courses

The English Department participates in several Interdisciplinary programs, offering courses in such areas as American Studies, Latin American, Caribbean, Latinx Studies, Women’s Studies and Peace Studies,   The content and approach of these courses are coordinated with offerings of other participating departments.


The English Department offers internships in order to bring its majors and minors into contact with professional employment. As experiential learning, internships provide students with on-the-job experience and training in areas directly connected to their concentrations in English. Internships are usually taken in the students’ Senior year after they have completed most, or all, of their major requirements. Students will need an intern advisor and permission of the Department Chairperson to enroll in ENL 508 Internship in English . For more information, contact Professor Regina Flynn, Internship Coordinator rflynn@salemstate.edu. All majors may apply for internships, not just those concentrating in Professional Writing.

The Writing Center

The English Department’s Writing Center, located in the Berry Library and Learning Commons, serves English majors in two related ways: first, the Center gives majors the opportunity to receive individualized attention to their writing in one-on-one sessions with a trained, informed tutor; second, as an experiential learning opportunity, majors become part of the Writing Center staff. With a faculty recommendation, majors may enroll in  ENL 302 Writing Center Practicum, the training course for students who would like to tutor in the Center. After successfully completing the course, majors can work in the Center as paid tutors.  For more information, contact the Writing Center Coordinato, Professor Al DeCiccio (adeciccio@salemstate.edu).

Associations and Publications   

Honor Society      

Sigma Tau Delta is the international English honor society, with over 900 active chapters located in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Sigma Tau Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature.  For more information, contact the faculty chapter advisor Professor Jude Nixon (jnixon@salemstate.edu).

The English Society

The English Society is an open arts society that offers support and community for students interested in literature and writing. The Society sponsors student readings and other literary events. We are always interested in new members. Please contact the Department Chair for more information.

Red Skies

Red Skies is the on-line magazine produced by the students of Salem State University. Published under the auspices of the Professional Writing Program, Red Skies’ features include investigative journalism, interviews, profiles, opinion, travel essays, as well as creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry, art work, and short films. For those interested in working on Red Skies, please contact Professor Scott Nowka, at (snowka@salemstate.edu), or send email to the student editorial staff: redskies@salemstate.edu. Red Skies may be viewed at: https://redskiesmagazinessu.wordpress.com/.

Soundings East

Students have the opportunity to serve on the staff of Soundings East, the international literary magazine of Salem State University that publishes high quality work from writers throughout the world. Students interested in working on Soundings East should contact the Coordinator of Creative Writing, Kevin Carey (kcarey@salemstate.edu).


The Writers’ Series

In conjunction with the Center for the Arts, the English Department sponsors the Salem State Writers’ Series. The series has several events each semester, bringing accomplished authors to campus to conduct workshops and give readings for students. The events also include annual student and faculty readings. All events are free and open to the public.

First Year Writing Competition

The Department sponsors a writing contest for first-year students enrolled in composition classes.

English Minors for Non-English Majors

Students who minor in English are welcome to participate in all department activities. Minor programs may be selected from the following choices; further information on minors is available at the department office.

English (15 credits). The English minor allows students to explore all aspects of the discipline. Students may focus on a variety of literature courses or combine literature and writing.
Required: Five courses; at least two courses must be at the 300 level or above.

Writing (15 credits). The minor in Writing offers students the opportunity to explore creative and professional writing.
Required: Five ENL courses in writing.

Dramatic Literature (15 credits). The minor in Dramatic Literature allows students interested in theatre to study the major works and genres in the field.
Required: Five courses selected from the following: ENL 280 ENL 282 ENL 340 ENL 341 ENL 380 ENL 381 ENL 480 ENL 481 ENL 482 ENL 485   

Professional Writing (15 credits). The minor in Professional Writing introduces students to the temperament and skills required for leadership in collaborative and creative environments where information is prepared in diverse forms.
Required: ENL 310 , and the remaining 12 credits must be selected from the following: ENL 300 ENL 306 ENL 311 ENL 313 ENL 314 ENL 315 ENL 316 ENL 317 ENL 318 ENL 410 ENL 411 ENL 412 ENL 421 ENL 302 ENL 508 ENL 510.

Film Studies (15 credits). The minor in Film Studies allows students to study in a sustained and in-depth manner our rapidly increasing visual culture. Students will explore film as an aesthetic, cultural, and historical form, consider the particularities of the medium and the vocabulary of film, engage debates in film theory, and learn about a variety of particular filmic genres and issues. The minor in Film Studies consists of 15 credits of courses designed to provide a balanced program of experiences in theoretical and practical aspects of film studies. Required: Five courses selected from the following: ART 303 ART 381 MCO 301 MCO 302 ENL 270 ENL 271 ENL 272 ENL 276 ENL 370 ENL 373 ENL 374 ENL 375 ENL 376 ENL 420 ENL 508.

All-University Requirements 

First Year Writing Requirement:

Students satisfy the first-year writing requirement by successfully completing ENL 109, ENL 110, or another designated W-I course. Students in the Honors Program satisfy the first-year writing requirement by successfully completing ENL 110H. Students whose home language is not English have the option of satisfying the first-year writing requirement by successfully completing ENL 109 (instead of ENL110).

To determine the most appropriate first-year writing course to take, all students will complete a Writing Self-Placement survey before their orientation.

Writing Self-Placement all students will complete a Writing Self-Placement survey before their orientation. Students select from  ENL 105 Introduction to College Writing,  ENL 108 Introduction to College Writing for Multilingual Writers,  ENL 109 Introduction to College Writing for Multilingual Writers (ESL), and  ENL 110 Foundations of Writing. All four courses provide three credits which count toward students’ general education requirements.  However, ENL 105 and ENL 108  do NOT satisfy the W-I requirement. When selecting courses, students need to take courses that will help in their overall academic advancement.

Exemption Policies

Advanced Placement Examination.

Exemption from ENL 110 (W-I) will be granted to students who achieve a score of 4 or higher on the College Entrance Board Advanced Placement Examination for Language and Composition. Students who achieve a score of 3 on the Examination for Language and Composition may be granted exemption from ENL 110 (W-I) upon submitting a writing portfolio which is deemed to meet review criteria; portfolios are submitted to the First Year Writing Coordinator, Dr. Amy Minett. Exemption carries three credits.

Scholastic Aptitude Test. Exemption from ENL 110  (W-I) will be granted to students who achieve either an SAT Writing score of 620 or higher or an SAT Essay sub-score of 10 or higher. Exemption carries three credits.

A maximum award of three credits for  ENL 110  (W-I) will be granted for students who meet any of the exemption criteria above.

Commonwealth Honors Program: 
All students in the Honors Program must take ENL 110 to satisfy the Written Communication I requirement or, if this has already been satisfied at the high school level, they must take ENL 225H  to satisfy the Written Communication II requirement. Students transferring into the Honors Program from another college who have satisfied the W-I requirement are not required to take ENL 110H or ENL 225H and students who completed ENL 110 at Salem State prior to acceptance into the Honors Program are also exempted from ENL 110  and ENL 225H . 

AP Credit Policy for English Literature and Composition: 
Students who achieve a score of 4 or higher on the College Entrance Board Advanced Placement Examination for Literature and Composition will earn three English elective credits.

Including International Students:
 International students will be automatically placed into either ENL109 or ENL108. Final placement will be determined in consultation with instructors.  ENL 109  satisfies W-I requirement.

Courses for the General Education:  Many English Department courses fulfill category requirements in general education categories such as Creative Appreciation and Expression (CEA), Human Past (HP), Contemporary Society (CS), Personal Growth and Responsibility (PGR), World Languages and Cultures (WC), as well as Writing II, Writing III and Diversity, Power Dynamics and Social Justice (DPDS).

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