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Program Overview

Watch the video below to hear about the vibrant offerings of the English Department in each of our concentrations. Listen to other students discuss how following their passion for reading and writing and learning marketable skills have created opportunities for them beyond the classroom.

Fairfield University’s English Major

The Department of English offers a flexible and challenging curriculum, allowing students to experience a wide range of approaches to literature and writing. The major provides a solid core of literary courses, in Literary studies while also allowing each student the opportunity to create an individualized program that reflects their interests and passions literature, writing, and cultural studies. 

Throughout the major, students are taught to appreciate the importance of reading and writing, and the power of language. By being able to read critically and write clearly and persuasively, students build the skills that are essential to succeed in today’s global job and ever-changing market.

Here, you develop your analytic and organizational skills through understanding literature and personal writing. You acquire skills in close reading, textual analysis, rhetoric and argumentation, preparing you for a career where strong writing skills are a necessity.

Within the English major, concentrations are available in Literature, Creative Writing, English Studies, Professional Writing, and Teacher Education. Students can also minor in English by taking 15 credit hours of courses (12 hours beyond the required Magis Core literature course) selected from among any of our subject areas.

Requirements & Curriculum

Required Courses

One (1) 1000-level Literature course
At least one (1) 3000-level Literature course
At least two (2) "Before 1800" Literature courses
At least one (1) "After 1800" Literature course
One (1) 15-credit English Concentration
(Concentrations include:
Creative Writing
English Studies
Professional Writing
Teacher Education)

Five (5) English courses of your choosing including any ONE core literature course (ENGL 1010-1799) and any FOUR courses ENGL 1800 and above. 

Journalism Editing and Design
World of Publishing
Three (3) pre-approved (or advisor-approved) English courses

A detailed list of course requirements, offerings, and more can be viewed in the University’s course catalog.

Stag Spotlight

Alan Pelaez Lopez headshot

Alan Pelaez Lopez

Class of '15

Get to Know Alan

Undergrad Degree: English (professional writing) and Sociology
Hometown: Atizapan de Zaragoza, MX
Extracurricular Activities: Students for Social Justice, Spanish American Latino Student Association, Muslim Student Association 

Describe a project done through the English program of which you are particularly proud.

As an English major, I had the most wonderful experience when I was accepted to attend UC Berkeley for the summer of 2014 to be a part of Voices of Our Nation, the only multi-genre writing workshop for people of color. I was one of 140 that were accepted with an application pool of over 600. The faculty included Randall Kenan, Junot Diaz, Staceyann Chin, etc. I was able to workshop my poetry with other writers, and gain skills to ultimately publish my own selection of poems. Each day, we read about 50 pages of each other’s work and shared critical comments, experiences, and a lot of heart.  

Describe the ways that the university’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence in your academic and personal experience while at Fairfield.

My first day at Fairfield, I had no idea what a Jesuit was, but as I spent more time on campus and with friends, I was able to see the mission as one of social justice. The mission has helped my personal experience as it has allowed me to share my story and heal with others. For the past two years, I have been able to attend the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Family Teach in, where I have met other activist that focus on international human rights, poverty eradication, Palestinian solidarity, etc. Without these experiences, I don’t think I would have enjoyed Fairfield as I do now.

Danielle (Tullo) La Testa ‘15 headshot

Danielle (Tullo) La Testa ‘15

Class of '15

Get to Know Danielle

Undergrad Degree: English and Creative Writing
Hometown: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Name of employer: Cosmopolitan.com

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

I always loved writing but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it until my junior year, when I co-founded Her Campus Fairfield and developed a passion for digital media. My involvement in Her Campus Fairfield lead to getting an internship at Cosmopolitan.com going into senior year, and after a summer of learning from incredible editors, I knew that was where I had to be.

I freelanced for Cosmopolitan.com at the end of my senior year as the Weekend Social Editor and Production Assistant. Immediately after graduation, I started as Editorial Assistant and recently became the Associate Lifestyle Editor, where I focus on all of the food trends you’re obsessed with!

What advice do you have for students who want to write? Any insight into what could set them apart from the pack?

Keep writing and keep reading! Have a favorite blogger and learn their style to develop your own. Most importantly, have your own voice. That will set you apart!

How can students start to prepare themselves for a career in writing?

Besides writing regularly, you should be reading nonstop. The more you’re reading, the better your writing will be. I always had writers who I adored and learned from, and ones that I was like eh, I don’t know if that’s the type of writer I want to be. Of course, you should write for every campus publication you can write for and take your class assignments super seriously. I know you want to do well on assignments, but don’t do it just to get it done. I took a feature writing class my junior year that really helped me sharpen my voice. In this specific class we’d get assignments where I had to cover news and profile people. Instead of just doing things locally I pushed myself-- instead of profiling a friend of mine or a professor (easy) I tracked down a man who was going viral at the time for an essay he wrote. He lived in Tennessee and I had to stalk on Facebook and convince him to talk to a college student in Connecticut, but it made me a better researched and writer. Don’t feel like you only can become a better writer outside of the classroom (sounds cheesy, I know, I know). Take advantage of all the assignment you get and use them to become a better writer!

Where do you get your inspiration for your pitches that you send to your editor?

Every day/night when I’m looking at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (remember I’m focusing on food), I’m seeing what people are talking about. Is this a food trend our readers care about? Is this something that will excite them and make them want to share it with their friends? Would one of my friends tag me in this if they saw it? That’s really where I get my inspiration and is what I’m thinking when I’m filtering through the news and news feed.

Are there any technological skills emerging writers should pick up?

Emerging writers should really learn any video program possible. News videos are becoming huge, and if you’re able to write the copy for a news video and produce it with text and image, you will become SO incredibly valuable!

Are there any books/writers you’d recommend as a source for journalism students to use, that maybe you used for inspiration when you were in college?

I started working for my boss when I was wrapping up my senior year, and she had me read “On Writing Well.” I definitely recommend it! As for writers, it’s really up to you and what your interests are. Are you interested in hard news? In food? In fashion? You should find someone who writes what you’re interested in and read them obsessively.

Ali Famigletti headshot

Ali Famigletti

Class of '14

Get to Know Ali

Undergrad Degree: English (concentration in teacher education) and Italian
Hometown: Lynbrook, New York
Extracurricular Activities: RA for Gonzaga; Peer Mediation Club Leadership Member; Studied abroad in Florence, Italy
Honors and Awards: Magis Scholarship, Alpha Mu Gamma: Foreign Language Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta: International English Honor Society, English Department Award in Creative Non-Fiction 2013
Currently: Enrolled for a Master's in Italian with Middlebury College Language Schools. The program features a 6 week intensive summer session in Oakland, California on Mills College Campus and an academic year abroad in Florence, Italy

Why did you choose to study your major at Fairfield University?

I came into Fairfield with a declared major in English. I chose to study English because it was (and is) my passion. Fairfield’s wide variety of course offerings in English challenged me to engage with ideas I never considered before. They also enhanced my reading, writing, and oral skills which have become crucial to my progress in and out of the classroom. My grasp of the English language and my passion for sharing the human experience developed profoundly with the inspirational guidance of my amazing professors.

In my second semester as a first-year student, I added Italian as my double major because it was (and is), my second passion. I chose to take classes in Italian as part of the core-language requirement. These classes showed me that studying a second language would be imperative to my success after college and to my growth as an individual through cultural enrichment. I achieved an advanced level of facility in the Italian language and deepened my immense appreciation for what I consider to be one of the most authentic and resonant cultures in the world.  

How have you been inspired in pursuit of your academic interests?

The members of the English and Italian departments at Fairfield have been essential to my success as a student and my personal growth these past four years.  When I expressed that I wanted to study abroad in Florence, Italy during the spring semester of my junior year, my multiple advisors were extremely supportive and encouraged me to do something outside of my comfort zone. With their guidance, I opted to partake in an academic internship as an ELTA (English Language Teaching Assistant) in two elementary schools outside of Florence. As an ELTA, I used my English major skills to help 3rd and 5th grade Italian students learn English. As a student of Italian language and culture, I used my Italian major skills to navigate around the city of Florence the country of Italy. This experience was the ultimate fusion of my academic interests and personal goals. I was completely inspired to continue working in both of these fields after experiencing them first hand last spring. After graduation, I will return to Florence to work for Fairfield University as the Program Assistant for the Fairfield Florence program. Four years ago, I would never have dreamed that this opportunity was possible. Today, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

Kate Hoffman headshot

Kate Hoffman

Class of '14

Get to Know Kate

Undergrad Degree: English
Hometown: Queens, New York
Name of employer: New York City Department of Education (High school special education teacher, currently teaching 10th and 11th grade English)

How did Fairfield’s liberal arts education prepare you for your future?

The diversity of Fairfield’s liberal arts education has helped me throughout my career immensely. As a teacher I wear many hats, some expected and others often unexpected. It wasn’t until I began teaching that I realized how valuable my liberal arts education was. Being able to have a concrete foundation in an array of areas (English; sociology; communication; women, gender, & sexuality studies (WGS)) has been a lifesaver during some of my lessons. 

Describe the ways that the university’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence on your life

The courses I took during at Fairfield particularly in the English Department and WGS program aided in the solidification of my beliefs. I was able to discover, explore and question the bigger picture while being based in the four Jesuit values. When I first came to Fairfield I had never heard of the Jesuit values but during my time at Fairfield I found myself trying to live out each value. As I have moved on I notice myself trying to practice the values daily, particularly men and women for others. As a special education teacher, I have chosen to spend the rest of my career carrying out these values personally. 

Laura Johnson headshot

Laura Johnson

Class of '14

Get to Know Laura

Undergrad Degree: English (Literature & Cultural Studies and Teacher Education), Spanish minor
Hometown: Bristol, CT
Extracurricular Activities: As a Fairfield undergrad: Service Learning Associate, Spanish Peer Tutor, Mercy Learning Center Volunteer, Ignatian Residential College Alumni Mentor, Lector in Campus Ministry;
Professional: Substitute Teacher for Bristol Public Schools, Volunteer for the Literacy Volunteers of Central CT & Central CT Family Literacy Center, Waitress at Confetti Restaurant in Plainville; Personal: Playing the Piano, Writing, Reading, & taking Zumba classes 

Describe a project done through the English program of which you are particularly proud

A project that I am particularly proud of accomplishing as an undergraduate at Fairfield was an Independent Study that doubled as my Senior Honors Project for the university’s Honors Program. Entitled “Educate a woman…Educate a family: A Case Study of Early Childhood Education at Mercy Learning Center”, referencing the organization’s motto, the project started with a literature review covering the topics of adult literacy, family literacy, and early childhood education, including research either specific to Bridgeport and the Connecticut area or applicable given the demographic of Mercy Learning Center’s population. This portion led up to a case study including observational data of Mercy Learning Center’s Early Childhood Education program and data gathered from personal interviews of staff from the Child Care, Family Literacy, and Volunteer Enrichment sectors of the program. As someone who is very passionate about the issue of adult literacy and the importance of giving all children the same access to education, it was very fulfilling to compose a thesis paper on the subject that conveyed its importance in our society and to be able to showcase such an extraordinary model for achieving family literacy as Mercy Learning Center. It was also incredibly beneficial for me to gain experience conducting research in the field of English and learning how it could be woven into a research article. I was privileged to complete this project under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Betsy Bowen and had a chance to present the findings at the university’s Research and Creative Arts Symposium this past April. At Dr. Bowen’s suggestion, I also just recently submitted a shorter version of the paper to the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research for possible publication.  

Maria Mazzaro headshot

Maria Mazzaro

Class of '14

Get to Know Maria

Undergrad Degree: English and Music
Hometown: New York City, NY
Extracurricular Activities: Writing, singing, reading 
Job Title: Editorial assistant at OPERA NEWS Magazine

How did you select your major/minor?

While at Fairfield, I pursued a double major in English (with a concentration in Creative Writing) and Classical Music. These were my two passions, and, when I was applying to schools, I had trouble deciding on field I should pursue. Thanks to Fairfield, I didn’t have to choose. 

Now, I currently work as the editorial assistant at OPERA NEWS Magazine, a division of The Metropolitan Opera Guild in Lincoln Center, New York City. This is the perfect marriage of my academic areas of study. One of my favorite tasks of my job is generating the content for my own section of the monthly publication, but I also love working with the elite of today’s opera and classical music artists. 

Describe the ways that the university’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence in your academic and personal experience while at Fairfield.

Fairfield and its Jesuit, liberal arts values helped me as an undergraduate cultivate both my crafts: opera and writing. Now, I have both of my passions united into one ideal career around perhaps the most prestigious opera house in the world. I truly believe that I could not have achieved this dream without Fairfield - especially not without the dedication and guidance I received from the English and Music faculty, who were beside me every single step of the way.

Stephanie Webster headshot

Stephanie Webster

Class of '14

Get to Know Stephanie

Undergrad/grad Degree (plus any area of concentration): Double major in Psychology and English with a concentration in Teacher Education, and an Education minor.
Current hometown: Oakville, CT
Name of employer: Southington Board of Education
Job title & brief description of duties: I am an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist.  I work with preschoolers and elementary-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other unique learning needs.  As an ABA Therapist, I implement behavior analytic techniques to teach a wide range of skills to the students.

How and why did you select your major/minor? And how did that contribute to your professional and personal life?

I always loved English and I applied to Fairfield as an English major.  I took General Psych during my Freshman year and fell in love with the discipline, leading to my choice to double major.  After taking an Education class for my Residential College in my Sophomore year, I decided to continue studying Education through my English Concentration and as a minor.  I feel that my career path is a perfect marriage of psychology and education.  Applied Behavior Analysis began as a psychological concept that grew into its own scientific discipline - one that is frequently used in the education of individuals with autism.  

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

During my senior year I did an internship at an autism and ABA center in Wilton, CT, The Center for Growth and Development.  Within my first few minutes at the Center I fell in love with ABA and I knew that I had found the right path for me.  I began spending over twenty hours a week at the Center learning as much as I can from the amazing people who work there.  I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, while working as an ABA Therapist at a public school.  My work and studies show me everyday that all people are teachable, at their own pace and in their own way.  Behavior is something that can be figured out, defined, and changed in order to teach new skills or reduce problematic behaviors.  Everyday I am so appreciative of the opportunity to help students grow and learn, and to take part in the fascinating discipline of ABA.  

How did Fairfield’s Jesuit education (courses, core curriculum, extracurricular, internships, research, community, service learning, etc.) prepare you for your future?

Without the outstanding education and opportunities I had as a Fairfield student, I don’t believe I would have found this career path.  I really grew to understand and love the Jesuit values as I learned more about them in my education classes, and I continue to use them as guiding factors in my life.  Fairfield helped instill in me the belief that helping others in any and all ways possible is the most important thing a person could do.  I struggled towards the end of my time at Fairfield about what I would do next, but with my amazing internship, supportive professors, and diverse courses of study, I found a career that is challenging, fulfilling, meaningful, and gives me the opportunity to help other people every day. 

More About English

CT Writing Project

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CT Writing Project

The Connecticut Writing Project/Fairfield University, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, is dedicated to improving students' writing abilities by strengthening the teaching and learning of writing, providing professional development programs for classroom teachers, and expanding the professional roles of teachers. Using the model of teachers teaching teachers, CWP/Fairfield offers a rich assortment of programs including nationally-recognized speakers, institutes for urban teachers, young writers institutes and writers retreats.

Learn More About the CT Writing Project

Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose

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Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose

Poetry for Peace

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Poetry for Peace

Poetry for Peace is a cross-district poetry contest open to all Bridgeport and Fairfield K-8th grade students. The contest is sponsored annually by Fairfield University, with a call for submissions of poetry written in response to the question “What does peace mean to me?” 

Begun in 2008 as an outgrowth of a Humanities Institute series coordinated by Dr. Nels Pearson (English), the contest draws over 1000 submissions each year, and nearly 100 winners are selected. Poems are solicited in September, and winners are invited to read their poetry at a January celebration, coinciding with the University’s Martin Luther King commemoration events. 

Poetry for Peace is sponsored by the Humanities Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Writing Center, the Office of Service Learning, the English Department, the Connecticut Writing Project, and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Poetry for Peace: 2015-2016 January 29, 2016 at the Quick Center for the Arts
Poetry for Peace: 2014-2015 Co-Chairs: Profs. Elizabeth Boquet and Carol Ann Davis
Poetry for Peace through the years 2013-2014 Co-Chairs: Profs. Peter Bayers and Elizabeth Boquet
2012-2013 Co-Chairs: Profs. Peter Bayers and Jerelyn Johnson
2010-2011 Co-Chairs: Profs. Nels Pearson and Jerelyn Johnson
2009-2010 Co-Chairs: Profs. Nels Pearson and Jerelyn Johnson

For more information, please email us.

Life After Fairfield

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Life After Fairfield

School of Communication, Arts, and Media Alumni Panel

Once a year, the College of Arts and Sciences’ invites alumni from each of the School of Communication, Arts, and Media’s four departments (Communication, Visual and Performing Arts, English, and Modern Languages and Literatures) to participate in an interactive panel discussion. From public relations professionals to digital managing editors, the panelists represent a wide breadth of careers and share their professional advice and personal journeys with current students.

Learn how Fairfield's Career Services can support your post-graduate goals, and how our tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Visit the Career Center


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English internships are designed to provide you with on-the-job training in areas related to the English major and minor. An internship provides a continuous period of on-the-job experience in professional settings, accompanied by on-campus workshops and assignments related to workplace writing. These experiences can provide you with new skills and insights, new ways to think about your classes, a collection of writing samples, professional references, three academic credits toward your English major or minor, and perhaps contacts for future employment.

Internship opportunities are available in journalism, public relations, business writing, publishing, and other areas. Several of our internships support community projects related to social justice initiatives. You are not limited to the internships listed below; you are encouraged to propose an internship that fits your needs and interest.

In an internship, you will:

  • Use the knowledge and skills you have gained in English courses in a professional setting
  • Develop the “soft skills” needed in the workplace
  • Have opportunities for reflection, critique, and social engagement
  • Engage with government, non-profit, and private sector entities on behalf of the Department of English and the University.

Internship Requirements

  • Be a senior or junior English major or minor
  • Have at least a 2.8 overall Quality Point Average
  • Have the Internship Application Form (Independent Study Form) approved by the faculty advisor and by the Chair of the Department

Internships in the Fairfield Area

  • City of Bridgeport Internship Program, Bridgeport CT
  • Center for Women and Families, Bridgeport CT
  • Connecticut Post, Bridgeport CT
  • Images and Details, New Canaan
  • Moffly Media, Westport CT
  • Morris Media, Ridgefield CT
  • New Haven Register, New Haven CT
  • Prosek Partners, Fairfield CT
  • Webster Bank Arena/Harbor Yard, Bridgeport CT
  • WWE, Stamford CT

Internships in New York City

  • Hearst Publications (Cosmopolitan, O Magazine, Esquire, Redbook)
  • Overlook Press
  • Rizzoli Publications

For additional opportunities, check Ed2010 (magazine internships), bookjobs.com (publishing), and mediabistro (social media internships).

Summer Internships

A limited number of students may choose to do internships for credit during the summer. Additional tuition is charged.

For more information about our internship program, please contact Dr. Emily Orlando, Internship Coordinator, Department of English.

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Four Students sitting together talking to each other in common srrea 

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Fairfield is dedicated to diversity and inclusion; to radical hospitality in service of racial, social, and economic justice.

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Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose is an annual national literary journal seeking works from writers during its fall reading period of August 1-October 15 each year. We publish fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction of both contest winners and other writers every May. The literary journal is produced by the faculty in the Department of English at Fairfield University, and Fairfield undergraduate students gain hands-on experience in helping to edit and produce the journal by taking ENGL 3140: World of Publishing.

The Inkwell

‌The Inkwell is Fairfield's undergraduate literary magazine, written and edited by University students. Submissions in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry are developed and submitted by the student body. Open, bi-weekly meetings function as a forum for content creation and peer review. Editing and layout are performed by the magazine's undergraduate staff. Two editions are published per semester.


CauseWayLit is an online literary magazine sponsored by Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing and run by the graduate students of the program. We publish fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, visual art, craft essays, writing exercises, and audio works, and focus each issue on an aspect of the writing craft we wish to learn more about. Our issues are published twice a year, in July and December, during our residencies at Enders Island.

The Mirror

A weekly newspaper reflecting Fairfield culture since 1977, The Mirror aims to project an independent and accurate student perspective with professional journalistic integrity. The Mirror strives to be the primary and most extensive provider of newsworthy content for the Fairfield student body and surrounding community.

Now What?

‌Now What? a Creative Writer's Guide to Success After the MFA is a comprehensive resource to help aspiring authors thrive professionally, financially, creatively and even spiritually, while they continue pursuing their craft.  It’s an invaluable resource for any serious writer, and would make for a thoughtful gift for the aspiring writers in your life.


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The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the passionate members of our English Department.

Meet the English Program Faculty

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