English Department

English Department

"think inside the book"


English majors focus their studies on one of three emphases: Literary Studies, Film and Media Studies, or Creative Writing. Regardless of their emphasis, all students acquire a breadth of knowledge about British and American literature and enjoy opportunities to conduct research; compose analytical and interpretive essays; study literary theory, film, and global literature; and participate in creative writing workshops. 

We also provide extracurricular literary and learning events for the entire community through the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation, the Drake lecture series, Odyssey Professorships, and other programs. Many of our students study or otherwise travel abroad. We also help students enrich their Hendrix experience by pursuing internships, attending academic conferences, engaging in independent research, and working on college and local publications. 

Our graduates go on to careers in fields like publishing, law, teaching, and public service. We regularly place students in some of the top literature, film, and creative writing programs in the country, including Harvard, Chicago, UCSB, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Emory University, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Southern California.

To get a flavor of our outstanding community, please find us on


Search for "English at Hendrix," or head to facebook.com/englishathendrix for updates about all our events.

Here's what our students say about us:

I didn’t want to major in English, but I kept finding that my English classes were the ones I enjoyed learning in the most. I decided to major in English because I felt like I was being pushed and challenged in these classes, and I wanted to see how far I could go. The professors in the department do a really good job of making us think about how the literature we are studying is relevant in life outside of an academic setting.

I came to college not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but I was considering English because I loved reading and writing in high school. Then after taking a literature class at Hendrix I became more inspired to pursue a degree in English. I was inspired by the professor and my fellow students, as well as the material. Taking my first class in my chosen emphasis made me positive that I wanted to study English. I also appreciate how it is so easy to connect the study of literature to other disciplines and interests of mine, like gender studies, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

I think the English department (and maybe I'm just biased) has some of the most talented, attentive professors at Hendrix. I've always felt, in any English class I've taken, that the professor has been interested in me and my success. I've also always felt welcome to ask questions outside of class, to ask for guidance when I feel confused about something, and to just generally speak with my professors about anything I might need to talk about. I haven't experienced that type of comfort and openness in other departments.

All my teachers have been wonderfully encouraging and supportive inside and outside the classroom.

I've always loved reading and thinking about why people act the way they do, what motivates people. Studying English literature seemed look a good way to combine those two loves. Plus, I've had some super awesome professors in the English departments, and they were part of my decision to stick with the English major. The professors are definitely the strong point of the program. Almost every professor I had really encouraged the kind of thinking and writing that helped in my later classes. Plus, every professor was so passionate for the literature that it really made me feel passionate about the literature as well, even if the topic wasn't necessarily my first choice. Compared to other departments, the English department faculty members are so available and always there to discuss an idea and read through another draft — it really felt more like collaborative work than super strict professor-student dynamic. I think this kind of open atmosphere then in turn contributed to better work. The professors really make this program.

The courses are great. All of the department does an excellent job at teaching the courses. The department is awesome.

I did not have a bad class with this department. The professors are all great and knowledgeable and want to help make us all better writers. 

I think that the English Department is easily one of the best on campus and the professors in the department are supportive in a number of ways. The professors are all very knowledgeable and skilled, and, at least from my perspective, that makes taking classes in the department very enjoyable. You start to enjoy a professor's particular teaching style and want to take more classes with them in the future. Keep hiring smart, young and thoughtful faculty.

All of the classes are phenomenal. I never had a class that I thought was lacking.

I also liked how the English Department was very active in generating Odyssey projects for students to become involved with. I felt this set it apart from the other majors as well. I rarely heard students from other majors talking about Odyssey opportunities provided by their department.

I really enjoyed the research trips to archives. I was lucky enough to go on two different research trips: one with a class and then one with a smaller group of people. In particular, I learned a lot on the second research trip because it was more independent; I could explore the parts of the archives that interested me the most and spend as much time as I wanted with a particular document. Really, the second, smaller trip felt more like learning for the sake of learning, which was wonderful, and as a result I feel like I learned a lot more than on the first trip. They were also great opportunities to incorporate primary text documents into my essays; because we usually work more with the text than the larger culture/lives in which these texts were written, I felt like my research and writing skills really grew through these experiences.


We publicly affirm and celebrate Hendrix College’s Statement of Purpose and our recently-adopted Diversity Statement as the guiding principles by which we teach, advise, and serve as English Department faculty at Hendrix College. We strive to create and sustain an inclusive, welcoming, and diverse community—of students and faculty, alumni and friends—who values engagement with literature, film, and media as a practice of reading and making with discernment, of acting with empathy and benevolence, of building a respectful dialogue with texts, images, and each other.

Given our rigorous study of the histories and theories of artistic expression and textual analysis; given our vast appreciation for language’s power to make and unmake a community; given our passionate interest in how literature, film, and media can challenge and give rise to our socio-political realities; given our active practice of writing and reading as way of cultivating “empathy, creativity, self-understanding, rigorous inquiry, informed deliberation, and active learning…toward the development of the whole person,” we want to remind our community of students, alumni, friends, and family that our own departmental commitment “to diversity, inclusion, justice, and sustainable living” heartily matches that of the College’s Statement of Purpose (quoted here).

As offered by Hendrix College’s Diversity Statement, we affirm our college community’s commitment to “a diverse learning environment enriched by the race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socioeconomic status, ability, culture, political philosophies, geographical backgrounds, and intellectual perspectives of its students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  We believe diversity makes the whole richer, and that participating in a dynamically inclusive community provides a framework for successful leadership and engaged citizenship in the 21st century.”

As a department within Hendrix College, our adherence to our institution’s abiding principles is expected and unremarkable, but we would rather risk an overemphasis than a silence perceived as indifference. We affirm our commitment to being a community that welcomes, celebrates, and works through and across difference.

Faculty contact: Alex Vernon