English Minor

The English minor at Berklee provides students the opportunity for intensive study of English language and literature, creative writing, and/or performance poetry. Students are immersed in a wide range of texts as they explore diverse artistic voices from many cultures and time periods. Students explore genre and audience as they apply critical thinking and aesthetic concepts that enhance their understanding of themselves as artists and as individuals. Through a minor in English, students gain an artistic, philosophical, cultural, and historical context for the art and music they are studying. The minor enables students to attain an informed artistic and cultural perspective. At Berklee, the English minor offers three tracks. Students may focus primarily on the study of English literature, on creative writing, or on spoken word/poetry slam/performance poetry.

Literature Track

The English minor in literature enables students to enhance their analytical reading, critical thinking, and interpretation skills. Students apply critical, logical, and creative thinking. They analyze texts, as well as debate, reflect, develop ideas, pose questions, and solve problems. Students also participate in the arts they study, writing poems, stories, plays, and picture books. Students relate the study of literature to the study of music, as they explore various literary genres, including fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and drama. Further, the minor recognizes the importance of the changing technological and informational environment students use to appropriate the arts and addresses themes and trends through written, spoken, and digital communications.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a minor in English, literature track, students will:

  • Apply critical, logical, and creative thinking to analyze literature and related arts
  • Evaluate major themes, trends, and key terminology in the discipline, including plot, point of view, symbolism, character, imagery, theme, setting, and rhetorical structure
  • Connect the study of literature with the study of music
  • Employ speaking and writing to reflect, develop ideas, pose questions, solve problems, analyze arguments, and recognize faulty logic
  • Extend aesthetic and critical knowledge to the production of creative writing and performance
  • Connect cultural, historical, philosophical, and aesthetic context to literature and related arts
  • Listen to diverse artistic voices from different groups and time periods
  • Discover the interconnections between literature and other arts such as music, film, graphic art, and drama
  • Explore various literary genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama

Required Course

  • LENG-201 Literature (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose three from the following)

  • LENG-318 Studies in Poetry and Lyric (3 credits)
  • LENG-319 Fiction and Film (3 credits)
  • LENG-321 Modern Drama and Film (3 credits)
  • LSOC-341 Irish and Celtic Culture, Film, and Music (3 credits)
  • LENG-352 Music and Literature for Children (3 credits)
  • LENG-391 Children's Literature: Multicultural Perspectives (3 credits)

Creative Writing Track

The English minor in creative writing provides students with intensive writing workshops in various genres: fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, creative nonfiction, performance poetry (slam/spoken word), and music criticism. Students explore the craft of creative writing, including narrative design, point of view, voice, character construction, dialogue, the poetic line, rhythm, and imagery. Through writing exercises and projects, students explore ways that writers catch and sustain their readers' attention. As models for creative writing, students read selected works by great authors. However, the primary emphasis is on shaping original works. All creative writing workshops are highly interactive, including peer editing and small-group work. Students explore publishing and performing their work as well.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a minor in English, creative writing track, students will:

  • Evaluate themes and literary elements of various genres: fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, creative nonfiction, performance poetry (slam/spoken word), and music criticism
  • Evaluate literature through social, cultural, and historical contexts
  • Apply the craft of creative writing, including narrative design, point of view, voice, character construction, dialogue, the poetic line, rhythm, and imagery
  • Assess the ways that literature shapes conceptions of self and the world
  • Evaluate excellence in creative writing
  • Respond critically to others' and one's own writing
  • Write analytically and creatively
  • Revise original work
  • Create, deliver and present oral and written work
  • Connect the study of literature with the study of music

Required Course

  • LENG-201 Literature (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose three from the following)

  • LENG-351 Music Criticism, Reviewing, and Blogging (3 credits)
  • LENG-337 Telling True Stories (3 credits)
  • LENG-331 Creative Writing: Poetry 1 (3 credits)
  • LENG-431 Creative Writing: Poetry 2 (3 credits)
  • LENG-335 Fiction Writing Workshop (3 credits)
  • LENG-336 Scriptwriting for Theater, TV, and Film (3 credits)
  • LENG-450 Poetry Jam and Slam (3 credits)
  • LENG-452 Poetry Jam and Slam 2: Advanced Workshop (3 credits)
  • LENG-460 Flo'ology: Spoken Word and Improvisation (3 credits)
  • LENG-P490 FUSION Magazine Seminar and Practicum (3 credits)

Poetry/Spoken Word/Slam Track

The English minor in poetry/spoken word/slam immerses students in the modern performance poetry movement, which includes myriad and diverse artistic voices. Through poetry, theater, and musical exercises, students establish their own poetic voices and the most powerful ways to express themselves to an audience. Students also develop their art through analytical writing, oral presentation, research, and participation in the Berklee Poetry Club. Students explore the history of performance poetry, from the ancient competitions of Greece to the modern forms of slam poetry, performance art, rap, and spoken word. Students participate in the active dialog between the traditional world of poetry and the more recent phenomenon of slam poetry and other kinds of poetic performance. The poetic, theatrical, and musical talent from Boston and beyond comes to the classroom, in the form of guest lecturers and performers, and students contribute to the local poetic and theatrical community, inside and outside of the classroom. The English minor in performance poetry helps students enhance performance skills while also gaining philosophical, cultural, and historical contexts for the art they are studying. Students gain an increased confidence in their own voice, and an informed artistic and cultural perspective.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a minor in English: poetry/spoken word/slam track, students will:

  • Evaluate the role of performance poetry in society, as it pertains to the personal, cultural, and political
  • Develop an individual, creative voice, as expressed through word and music
  • Distinguish among the different styles, genres, themes, trends, and key terminology of performance poetry and traditional poetry, both in terms of poetic form and performance style
  • Synthesize linguistic, musical, and performance aesthetics
  • Explore the artistry of words
  • Create their own poetry compositions
  • Explore poetry from different times, and diverse voices and traditions
  • Apply theatrical and oratorical skills for stage performance
  • Examine the thriving poetry scene in Boston.
  • Apply critical, logical, and creative thinking to analyze their own and others' art

Required Courses

  • LENG-450 Poetry Jam and Slam (3 credits)
  • LENG-452 Poetry Jam and Slam 2: Advanced Workshop (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose two from the following)

  • LENG-318 Studies in Poetry and Lyric (3 credits)
  • LENG-325 Theater Workshop (3 credits)
  • LENG-331 Creative Writing: Poetry 1 (3 credits)
  • LENG-431 Creative Writing: Poetry 2 (3 credits)
  • LENG-460 Flo'ology: Spoken Word and Improvisation (3 credits)

4 courses required for completion of the minor.

For more information, contact:

Liberal Arts Department
7 Haviland, Room 334
617 747-2552
Chair: Simone Pilon, spilon@berklee.edu

Liberal Arts Project Manager: Chris Jo, cjo@berklee.edu