Our department balances the study of traditional fields of English and American literature with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work, which involves contemporary fields of Africana studies, postcolonial studies, cinema studies, comparative literature, creative writing, and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies.


Our faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. They are committed to undergraduate education and teach everything from first-year seminars to advanced courses.

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Department Overview

The English department is one of the most popular academic programs at Oberlin, as measured both by the number of majors and by the many non-majors who enroll in our courses. The department aims to meet the needs of students with different academic goals—from those seeking a foundation for postgraduate work or study in English and related fields, to those who want a humanistic base for reading, thinking, and writing in a liberal arts environment.

The English department is widely known for excellent teaching from a variety of perspectives. We are committed to engaging our students with the best that has been written, from the traditional canon of English literature to the marginalized and experimental. The diversity of our program encourages students to define their own intellectual priorities and to think for themselves.

About 15 percent of our majors become college professors or high school teachers. Oberlin graduates currently teach in the English departments of such schools as Swarthmore, Williams, Vassar, Emory, Northwestern, the University of Colorado, Bryn Mawr, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Davis, the University of Iowa, and New York University, as well as Oberlin.

Many others have used the BA degree as a springboard to graduate work, such as business studies at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University or law at the University of Michigan. Alumni also have gone directly into the fields of journalism, electronic communications and software, public relations, publishing, and various aspects of the performing and creative arts.

No matter what the career path, Oberlin English majors develop the creative and intellectual discipline, informed curiosity, cultural understanding, and communication skills to position them for success after college.

English News

Pens and Needles

December 7, 2020

Students in Associate Professor Danielle Skeehan’s Early American Media and Identity course aren’t just bringing laptops and books to class. Required materials include Band-Aids, scissors, needle threaders, and kitchen sponges.
Students write with quill pens in class.

This Week in Photos: Beautiful Artistry

November 19, 2020

A display of artwork by Studio Art seniors is shown to President Carmen Twillie Ambar. Her walk through Robert D. Baron ’64 Art Gallery was accented by sculptures and vibrant multimedia pieces. This visit is just one of the images featured in this week’s photo series.
Two women stand in the middle of an art exhibit.

Winter Term: The Art of the Artist Book

September 15, 2020

After spending a month researching artist books and creating a book of her own, Marie Romanelli ’21 is officially hooked on the craft, both as an artist and as a short-form poet.
A girl poses next to her art book

English Facilities

Rice Hall

Rice Hall holds faculty and academic department offices for the social sciences and the humanities.
Rice Hall