A language is more than a means of communication—it's a mode of being. The English Department at Calvin is committed to cultivating students who can understand, respond to and create written works in ways that are shaped by their faith.

Overview

Calvin's literature major allows you to develop both a deep and broad understanding of the literary world, past and present. Explore culture, politics, philosophy and faith through the words of Shakespeare, George Elliot, William Faulkner and contemporary writers such as Margaret Atwood and Olga Grushin. Prepare for your career by working at a local internship location such as Zondervan Publishing Housing, Baker Publishing House or a Grand-Rapids-area law firm.

Careers in English - Literature

  • Editor
  • Lawyer
  • Minister
  • Social Media Manager
  • Writer

See job placement rates for Calvin grads.

Student involvement

Study abroad in England, Hungary, Ghana or New England; Participate in biannual, department-wide retreats; Write or help to coordinate Chimes or Dialogue; Attend the Festival of Faith and Writing; Volunteer with the Festivals of Youth Writing.

Course Requirements 2013-14

Literature major

(36 semester hours)

  • ENGL-295 Introduction to Studies in English (prerequisite for 300-level literature courses)
  • ENGL-330 Hermenuetics and the Study of Literature
  • One course from:
  • Two courses from: (one 300-level required, two recommended)
    • ENGL-212 Survey of British Literature I
    • ENGL-213 Survey of British Literature II
    • ENGL-214 Survey of British Literature III
    • ENGL-310 British Literature of the Middle Ages
    • ENGL-311 British Literature of the Sixteenth Century
    • ENGL-312 British Literature of the Seventeenth Century
    • ENGL-313 British Literature of the Eighteenth Century
    • ENGL-314 British Literature of the Early Nineteenth Century
    • ENGL-315 British Literature of the Middle and Later NineteenthCentury
    • ENGL-316 British Modernism
    • ENGL-317 Comtemporary British and Commonwealth Literature
    • ENGL-337 Major Authors
    • ENGL-338 Shakespeare
  • Two courses from: (one 300-level required, two recommended)
    • ENGL-220 Survey of American Literature I
    • ENGL-221 Survey of American Literature II
    • ENGL-225 African American Literature
    • ENGL-226 Ethnicity in American Literature
    • ENGL-320 Literature of the United States I: Settlement to Civil War
    • ENGL-321 Literature of the United States II: Civil War to Great Depression
    • ENGL-322 Literature of the United States III: WW2 to the Present
  • One course from:
  • One course from:
  • One course from:
  • ENGL-395 Senior Seminar
  • One course from:
    • ENGL-200 Literature in a Global Context
    • ENGL-202 Russian Literature
    • ENGL-212 Survey of British Literature I
    • ENGL-213 Survey of British Literature II
    • ENGL-214 Survey of British Literature III
    • ENGL-220 Survey of American Literature I
    • ENGL-221 Survey of American Literature II
    • ENGL-225 African American Literature
    • ENGL-226 Ethnicity in American Literature
    • ENGL-230 Understanding Literature
    • ENGL-234 Gender and Literature
    • ENGL-238 Film as a Narrative Art
    • ENGL-299 Special Topics in Literature
    • ENGL-300 Advanced World Literature
    • ENGL-310 British Literature of the Middle Ages
    • ENGL-311 British Literature of the Sixteenth Century
    • ENGL-312 British Literature of the Seventeenth Century
    • ENGL-313 British Literature of the Eighteenth Century
    • ENGL-314 British Literature of the Early Nineteenth Century
    • ENGL-315 British Literature of the Middle and Later NineteenthCentury
    • ENGL-316 British Modernism
    • ENGL-317 Comtemporary British and Commonwealth Literature
    • ENGL-320 Literature of the United States I: Settlement to Civil War
    • ENGL-321 Literature of the United States II: Civil War to Great Depression
    • ENGL-322 Literature of the United States III: WW2 to the Present
    • ENGL-332 The Novel
    • ENGL-333 Poetry
    • ENGL-334 Drama
    • ENGL-335 Genre Study
    • ENGL-337 Major Authors
    • ENGL-338 Shakespeare
    • ENGL-340 Children's Literature
    • ENGL-341 Adolescent Literature
    • an approved English interim
  • At least two courses (taken to fulfill a specific requirement or as an elective) must primarily cover American or British literature written before 1800.

Only one interim may count toward the major.

Literature minor

(21 semester hours)

  • ENGL-295 Introduction to Studies in English (prerequisite for all 300-level literature courses)
  • One course from:
  • One course from:
    • ENGL-212 Survey of British Literature I
    • ENGL-213 Survey of British Literature II
    • ENGL-214 Survey of British Literature III
    • ENGL-310 British Literature of the Middle Ages
    • ENGL-311 British Literature of the Sixteenth Century
    • ENGL-312 British Literature of the Seventeenth Century
    • ENGL-313 British Literature of the Eighteenth Century
    • ENGL-314 British Literature of the Early Nineteenth Century
    • ENGL-315 British Literature of the Middle and Later NineteenthCentury
    • ENGL-316 British Modernism
    • ENGL-317 Comtemporary British and Commonwealth Literature
  • One course from:
    • ENGL-220 Survey of American Literature I
    • ENGL-221 Survey of American Literature II
    • ENGL-225 African American Literature
    • ENGL-226 Ethnicity in American Literature
    • ENGL-320 Literature of the United States I: Settlement to Civil War
    • ENGL-321 Literature of the United States II: Civil War to Great Depression
    • ENGL-322 Literature of the United States III: WW2 to the Present
  • One course from:
  • Two courses from:
    • ENGL-200 Literature in a Global Context
    • ENGL-202 Russian Literature
    • ENGL-212 Survey of British Literature I
    • ENGL-213 Survey of British Literature II
    • ENGL-214 Survey of British Literature III
    • ENGL-220 Survey of American Literature I
    • ENGL-221 Survey of American Literature II
    • ENGL-225 African American Literature
    • ENGL-226 Ethnicity in American Literature
    • ENGL-230 Understanding Literature
    • ENGL-234 Gender and Literature
    • ENGL-238 Film as a Narrative Art
    • ENGL-300 Advanced World Literature
    • ENGL-310 British Literature of the Middle Ages
    • ENGL-311 British Literature of the Sixteenth Century
    • ENGL-312 British Literature of the Seventeenth Century
    • ENGL-313 British Literature of the Eighteenth Century
    • ENGL-314 British Literature of the Early Nineteenth Century
    • ENGL-315 British Literature of the Middle and Later NineteenthCentury
    • ENGL-316 British Modernism
    • ENGL-317 Comtemporary British and Commonwealth Literature
    • ENGL-320 Literature of the United States I: Settlement to Civil War
    • ENGL-321 Literature of the United States II: Civil War to Great Depression
    • ENGL-322 Literature of the United States III: WW2 to the Present
    • ENGL-332 The Novel
    • ENGL-333 Poetry
    • ENGL-334 Drama
    • ENGL-335 Genre Study
    • ENGL-337 Major Authors
    • ENGL-338 Shakespeare
    • ENGL-340 Children's Literature
    • ENGL-341 Adolescent Literature
    • an approved English interim (one 300-level required, two recommended)
  • Only one interim may count toward the minor

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Calvin College Course CatalogCurrent students please download your course catalog for complete degree requirements.

Scholarships

Dollar amounts reflect awards given for the 2014-15 academic year.

George G. Harper Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,300
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; U.S. African American minority student
  • automatic consideration
Reverend Bernard Haven Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,600
  • first-year
  • HS GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered; child of missionary
  • submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office (finaid@calvin.edu) describing your qualifications by February 1
Winifred Holkeboer Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,800
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need not required
  • apply through the English department
John and Alma Hoogland English Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • sophomore
  • financial need considered; secondary education; English major
  • apply through the English department
Kenneth and Lillian Kuiper Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,300
  • senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need considered
  • apply through the English department
Helen Hoogland Meulink Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • financial need required; secondary education; preference to an English major
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William and Matilda Monsma Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • sophomore, junior, or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; preference to students from the South Chicago area
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Schemper-Kamp Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; demonstrate a Christian perspective in writing
  • apply through the English department
Henrietta Ten Harmsel English Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,800
  • sophomore or junior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need not required; show an enthusiasm and love for reading and writing
  • apply through the English department
Richard R. and Kathleen J. Tiemersma Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,800
  • senior
  • GPA of 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the English department
Steve J. and Viola Van Der Weele Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,950
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; interest in English language and literature; demonstrate an ability to integrate faith and learning
  • apply through the English department
William E. and Margaret J. Van Wienen Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,600
  • junior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; have an interest and be active in community involvement projects
  • apply through the English department
Clarence and Janice Walhout Scholarship
Henry and Mildred Zylstra Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,400
  • senior
  • GPA of 3.5+
  • financial need considered; planning to attend graduate school in literature or language within five years following graduation
  • apply through the English department
View all scholarship opportunities

Faculty

Roy Anker

Roy Anker
Professor of English
Department of English
CFAC 289
anker@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6530

Susan Felch

Susan Felch
Professor
Director: Center for Christian Scholarship
Department of English
CFAC 285
felch@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6591

Jennifer Holberg

Jennifer Holberg
Assoc Director Honors Program, Professor
Department of English
CFAC 298
jholberg@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6598

Nancy Hull

Nancy Hull
Assistant Professor
Department of English
CFAC 286
nhull@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6728

Julia Mason

Julia Mason
Department of English

Sarina Moore

Sarina Moore
Assistant Professor
Department of English
CFAC 286
sgm5@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7829

Linda Naranjo-Huebl

Linda Naranjo-Huebl
Associate Professor
Department of English
CFAC 271
ln22@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8682

Debra Rienstra

Debra Rienstra
Professor
Department of English
CFAC 270
drienstr@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8526

Karen Saupe

Karen Saupe
Co-Director of RAC Program, Professor
Department of English
CFAC 294
ksaupe@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6467

Gary Schmidt

Gary Schmidt
Professor, on leave spring 2013
Department of English
CFAC 287
schg@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6540

John Timmerman

John Timmerman
Professor
Department of English
CFAC 291
timm@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6560

Dean Ward

Dean Ward
Professor
Department of English
CFAC 269
ward@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6139

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams
Assistant Professor
Department of English
CFAC 276
jlw28@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8515

Jane Zwart

Jane Zwart
Assistant Professor
Department of English
CFAC 290
jcz3@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8606

Talk to us

Elizabeth Vander Lei Elizabeth Vander Lei
Department Co-Chair
department co-chair
Department of English
CFAC 273
bvlei@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6434

Dean Ward Dean Ward
Department Co-Chair
Department of English
CFAC 269
ward@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6139

Admissions

Connect with your counselor via email, phone, or in person. They'd love to hear from you and answer your questions!

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In the fall and spring our counselors travel throughout the world to meet with students—see if they'll be in your area!

Teach This

Interested in teaching? You can gain certification in English - Literature as a:

Calvin's teacher education program also contains education-specific course requirements that you must complete prior to certification. See course requirements for:

Professor Robert Keeley talks about the education program.

Learn More

Explore Calvin's teacher education program.

Contact Karen Saupe for more information about teacher certification in English

Read the teacher education guidebook for more detailed information about certification.

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