Loyola University Maryland

Department of English

Core Requirements

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All students at Loyola, regardless of their major, must take two English courses as part of the core curriculum. The requirements are as follows:

The First Core Course: EN 101 Understanding Literature

All students, except those in Loyola's honors program, begin their study with a course in poetry and short fiction, EN 101 Understanding Literature. Ideally, this course should be taken in the freshman year or in the first semester of the sophomore year.

EN 101 is an introduction to the serious, college-level study of literature. It seeks to give students an understanding of imaginative writing, means for reading this writing perceptively, and basic principles for making interpretive judgments. While there is no common text for EN 101, all instructors share the goal of bringing students to an enriched awareness of the power and beauty of our language and of its potential as an expressive and persuasive tool. The course is, therefore, writing intensive, and seeks to teach students to develop their writing skills with particular attention to the crafting of analytical argument.

Instructors are free to organize the class as they wish, but the department insists on three general guidelines. First, since as a general rule students need more help understanding poetry than prose, at least half of the time in the classroom is used to discuss, analyze, and interpret poems. Second, students produce 12-15 pages of considered writing during the semester. (This excludes tests, quizzes, first drafts, etc.) Students write several essays in which they analyze select works of poetry, fiction, and/or drama. Instructors guide students in constructing effective arguments that develop clear theses through a series of assertions supported by carefully selected evidence from the text. Some class time is devoted to discussion of rhetorical approaches, organizational principles and methods, and grammar. Third, students learn important literary terms and master such critical concepts as speaker, voice, and point of view; characterization; conflict and plot; tone and irony; figurative language; symbol; diction; sound; form; and theme and meaning.

The Second Core Course: The 200-level Major Writers Course

Upon completing EN 101, students may choose from several 200-level classes in English or American literature or the classics in translation. Courses at the 200- level focus on major writers (Shakespeare, major British writers or American writers, Greek and Latin literature in translation). The focus of these classes is on reading longer texts and placing them in their in historical or cultural contexts and involves the preparation of a research paper as well as other forms of analytical writing.

See course descriptions for recent and forthcoming offerings of 200-level courses.

Why Two Core Courses?

EN 101 emphasizes the development of analytical skills, whereas EN 200 courses are oriented toward historical appreciation of literature and research methods. Together, the courses train the student to read accurately, responsively, and imaginatively; to think logically and critically; to write clearly and forcefully; and to enjoy the potential for creative play afforded by our rich and complex language. Both courses cultivate the habits of critical inquiry, serious reflection, aesthetic appreciation, and considered response.

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