What does it mean to study literature today? Students who major in English learn about the contemporary and historical significance of literature and related cultural forms. In UCSB’s English major this can mean analyzing Old English texts like Beowulf or studying the latest developments in digital humanities; it can mean bringing a play by Shakespeare to life or engaging with graphic novels or avant-garde poetry. English majors at UCSB learn to think and write critically about the many cultural forms - manuscripts, printed books, film, digital media - that shape the modern world. They develop media literacy and skills in textual analysis, they are encouraged to be intellectually creative, and they are taught to communicate ideas effectively and elegantly.
The English Department faculty includes prominent scholars at the forefront of current literary studies who are interested in introducing students to significant areas of contemporary research. The department offers courses covering a range of historical periods, national and global literatures written in English, and a wide variety of digital media and film. The English Department also offers seven major specializations in a wide range of fields that allow students to further pursue their interests in a specific area of literary studies.