The English program is about learning to love to read and write.
It is also about mastering the poetics of media and culture. We seek to produce introspective and informed young women who can express their views effectively. While establishing a firm foundation of reading and writing skills, our courses expose students to a broad range of works in traditional print literature. Students are also trained in critical analysis from the perspective of psychology, philosophy, history – any discipline that uses interpretive texts.
The literature component draws from classics and new world literature, especially works by and about minorities. We also capitalize on our all-girl status by choosing many books by and about women. Active participation through discussion is a main focus. A variety of writing assignments ensures that each student will have the skills needed for college and later life. Although assignments stress expository writing and clear, informed analysis, informal writing assignments are included in our core courses, the sophomore poetry workshop, and the senior electives. Our four-year study of vocabulary serves students on SATs while enhancing their broader verbal ability. We offer special instruction to Honors students, for whom the desire to learn exceeds course requirements, as well as intensive preparation for Advanced Placement.
The Writers’ Club publishes a literary magazine of student work, and each spring, in addition to a workshop led by our poet-in-residence Janet McNally, the Elizabeth McNulty Wilkinson '25 fund enables us to invite a nationally recognized poet to work with sophomore classes and present to the school.
Departmental requirements: 4 years
English Department Head:
Includes electives, though not all elective courses are offered each year or trimester. Students may also enroll in additional electives and AP's offered through SEM's membership in the Online School for Girls.
- AP English Literature
- West African Literature
- The Brontes
- Creative Non-Fiction
- Femininity and Literature
- Medieval Romance Literature
- Introduction to Critical Theory: Queer Theory
- Science Fiction and Society
- Short Story
- Shakespeare and History
- Existential Literature
- Ghosts in Literature
- New Weird Literature
- Harlem Renaissance Literature
- Introduction to Moral Philosophy
- Reel Narrative I
- Reel Narrative II
- Greek Drama
- Reading and Writing Punk Lit