Learning Outcomes

As part of the English Department's commitment to providing a high-quality education to our students, we offer specific learning outcomes for our B.A. degree programs. We assess these outcomes each semester through a multiple-choice disciplinary knowledge test, an exit survey, and student portfolios.


Program Outcomes for the BA in English (Students Entering Before Fall 2021)

  • Outcome 1: Diverse Genres. Graduating seniors will use the conventions of diverse textual genres (e.g., the nonfiction essay, poetry, proposals, autobiography, novel, memoir, film, plays, editorials, and so forth) in their own work and will explain and evaluate the use of these conventions in the work of other writers.
  • Outcome 2: Literary/Rhetorical Strategies. Graduating seniors will identify, employ, and interpret the literary and rhetorical methods and strategies that inform English as a discipline in their reading and writing of texts.
  • Outcome 3: Theoretical Terms, Concepts. Graduating seniors will define, apply, and integrate theoretical terms, concepts, and perspectives important to English as a discipline in their own work and will identify and analyze them in the work of other writers.
  • Outcome 4: Information Literacy. Graduating seniors will demonstrate the ability to find, select, assess, and analyze information sources, both print and electronic, and to credit, integrate, and synthesize those sources in their own work.
  • Outcome 5: Writing Skills. Graduating seniors will construct clear, grammatical sentences and produce well-organized texts that exhibit an attention to audience, genre, and purpose and that follow the conventions of logical argumentation.

Program Outcomes for the BA in English (Students Entering Fall 2021 or Later)

  • Outcome 1: Major Concepts. Students will identify and differentiate between major concepts, movements, theoretical perspectives, and methods informing the disciplines of English.
  • Outcome 2: Genre Conventions. Students will identify genre conventions and describe how the conventions are shaped by diverse historical, cultural, geographic, and social contexts.
  • Outcome 3: Methods and Interpretive Practices. Students will synthesize the perspectives, methods, and interpretive practices (especially rhetorical, literary, and linguistic) of the discipline of English and produce theoretically and historically informed texts.
  • Outcome 4: Ethical Citizenship. Students will: recognize discourses and systems of power, justice, domination, oppression and difference (for example, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and language); analyze the workings of power and identify opportunities to achieve a more just and sustainable society; compose texts that express the principles of ethical citizenship, civic responsibilities, and social and emotional intelligence.
  • Outcome 5: Information and Digital Literacy. Students will practice information and digital literacies by finding, selecting, assessing, and analyzing information sources, as well as synthesizing and integrating those sources into their own work, crediting them as appropriate for the writing situation.
  • Outcome 6: Rhetorical Agility. Students will demonstrate rhetorical agility, composing texts in diverse genres that respond with clarity and precision to a variety of purposes, audiences, and settings.


Knowledge and Skill Sets

Based on the English Department's mission and goals, the following knowledge and skills sets are central objectives of the undergraduate BA in English. Students will demonstrate the following items in each category.

Content/Knowledge Objectives

  • Knowledge of the basic concepts, theories, and perspectives important to English studies, including rhetorical, interpretive, historical, cultural, social approaches to language and texts.
  • An understanding of the ways in which texts can reflect or shape the representation of historical and cultural circumstances.
  • Knowledge of creative and critical conventions of written discourses.
  • An understanding of language use and mechanics.
  • An ability to recognize rhetorical and generic traditions and innovations.

Critical and Analytical Objectives

  • The ability to apply various types of criticism in their reading of texts and writing of texts.
  • Knowledge of the conventions of particular textual genres by employing them in their own work and explaining them in other writers' work.
  • The ability to use theoretical terms and perspectives important in English Studies.
  • The ability to analyze the ways in which written texts both reflect and help to construct such social categories as race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Written Communication Objectives

  • The ability to write clear, grammatical sentences and well-organized texts that reflect an attention to audience and genre.
  • The ability to construct and develop a thesis.
  • The ability to adhere to the conventions of logical argumentation.
  • Attention to appropriate language use and mechanics.
  • The ability to support analysis with textual evidence.
  • The ability to convey an ethos appropriate to the purpose and genre of texts they compose.
  • The ability to present information in visually effective ways.

Information Literacy Objectives

  • The ability to evaluate information sources and employ those sources professionally in their own work.
  • The ability to identify the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs scholarly, current vs historical).
  • The ability to construct a search strategy using appropriate commands for the information retrieval system selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity for search engines; internal organizational features such as indexes for books).
  • The ability to differentiate between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline.
  • The ability to evaluate information and its sources critically and to incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • The ability to summarize the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  • An understanding of the many of the ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology. Specifically, they will demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material.