Classic films and stories posters

English Department


The English major provides students with an in-depth understanding of diverse literary histories and their social and cultural contexts. Through open conversations about concepts, values and historic and contemporary issues, English majors explore literature as a central mode of human inquiry and expression, confronting the ethical and socio-political responsibilities integral to producing written discourse as practiced within academic, civic and professional communities. The program emphasizes writing as a fundamental means of learning and expression; close and creative reading of a culturally diverse range of texts; and critical thinking grounded in writing and reading. We offer an English minor and host the Film Studies minor.

English is a wide-ranging field of study. Historically, it gives attention to the great variety of texts that human culture has produced over centuries. Conceptually, it aims at developing deep abilities in reading and writing. The department reflects this in the variety of courses offered and in the sequential way in which we ask our majors to approach their study. That study begins with ENGL 201, The World of Texts, which introduces the student to the basic principles underlying the discipline. The 300 and 400 level courses presume the solid grounding in literary history and critical reading skills that our 200 level courses are designed to provide. In the student’s senior year, the major provides a distinct “capstone” experience through ENGL 450, the Integrative Seminar. In working through the variety of courses, students in English may expect to find themselves engaged in the reading of novels, short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, films and graphic novels, among other texts.

The deep literacy that one can achieve through careful work in the major prepares the student for a range of post-graduate opportunities. Not only does it give students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of literature and refine their interpretive techniques, but it also enables them to develop critical thinking and communication skills they can apply to good effect in any occupation. Naturally, one can pursue the discipline further, through graduate study in English. But the major in English can lead also to a wide range of professional opportunities. Bellarmine English graduates have gone on to success in publishing, as writers and editors; foreign relations, library science and nonprofits; business, finance and marketing; government and administration; arts and humanities; law and medicine; and teaching in high schools and universities.


Jennifer Barker, Ph.D, Chair (email) (website)
Jon Blandford, Ph.D (email) (website)
Charles Hatten, Ph.D (email) (website)
Conor Picken, Ph.D (email) (website)
Annette Powell, Ph.D (email) (website)
Frederick Smock, MA (email) (website)
Kathryn West, Ph.D (email) (website)
John Gatton, Ph.D (Emeritus) (email) (website)

Theatre Program

The vision of the Bellarmine University Theatre Program celebrates the creativity of the human spirit. As a vital part of an international liberal arts community, the Theatre Program concentrates on developing imaginative, knowledgeable, skilled and responsible artists, teachers, scholars, students and audience members for the future of the theatre. Within this creative community of artist-scholars, students are encouraged to cultivate critical thinking and develop their individual artistic passion through immersion in literature, new world views, cultural diversity, exposure to a wide variety of performance practices and their own practical creative exploration.

Please contact Megan Burnett (email) or Zackary Ross (email) for more information.

Film Studies Minor

Bellarmine’s Film Studies minor is designed to deepen student’s perception and discernment when it comes to visual storytelling and media literacy. Movies and television shows are some of the most important and powerful cultural forms of the last century, though they are often viewed uncritically. Film Studies courses will guide students away from the habits of mere consumption towards an attentive and analytic appreciation for the complex content and structure of filmmaking. The Film Studies minor situates films within an interdisciplinary context that will increase student’s ability to think critically and communicate clearly about the relationship between images, ideas, narrative, and sound. Courses also count towards the English major. See the catalog for more information. 

Study Abroad

Bellarmine offers a wide variety of study abroad options around the globe. Learn what opportunities are available to you below.

Contact Us

English Department
Bellarmine University
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205