glasses on top of open book


Students who study in the Yeshiva College English Department gain direct, intimate access to other cultures and time periods, through encounters with works from classical Greece, medieval Europe, and Victorian Britain to U.S. and world literature of the present. At the same time, students develop both analytically and creatively as writers and thinkers, learning to express themselves with clarity and power. In engaging us with a range of forms — poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, film, as well as the genres of the Internet age — English courses enlarge our vision of the complexity and richness of human achievements and how we might contribute to them ourselves.

These are strengths prized in a wide variety of professions. As a number of articles in the mainstream press and more specialized publications have recently argued, skills developed in literature and writing courses yield advantages not only in the fields of teaching, publishing, and journalism but also in any profession in which critical thinking, analysis, and the ability to communicate effectively are vital. YC English majors have gone on to such careers as business, medicine, and law as well as television production, filmmaking, and urban planning.

While at YC, English majors join a community. From their initial work together in Interpreting Texts, our gateway course, each cohort of majors embarks on a shared intellectual journey that culminates in the Senior Colloquium, a yearlong discussion in which students join with English Department faculty members to learn from each other. Whether you pursue an English major or minor or our Writing minor, you will come together with faculty and other students over text as a source of lifelong intellectual engagement, and of surprise and wonder.

Please click here for the mission of and goals for the Writing Minor and here for information about our new Media Studies Minor.

Mission Statement:

The English Department’s mission is to teach the forms, traditions, theories, and practices foundational to contemporary literary studies, as well as the skills and habits of mind necessary for interpreting, analyzing, and creating texts; to develop “a disposition, a habit, a way of being in the world of words” (Derek Attridge).

In mentoring sophisticated readers of text and of culture—from classical Greece to medieval Europe to the U.S. of the Internet era; from Victorian Britain to the postcolonial Caribbean—we seek to enlarge students’ understanding of themselves and of those who are different from them, to broaden their sense of intellectual citizenship. And in training them as writers, the Department seeks to develop students’ creative as well as analytical skills, and their ability to express themselves with clarity and power in a complex modern world.

Student Learning Goals:

  • Hone reasoned and compelling critical analysis skills 
  • Learn a wide range of literary traditions and forms, and build awareness of the changing contexts of literary production.
  • Reflect meaningfully upon their own cultural histories and values, as well as the cultures and values of others.
  • Connect with others effectively through written and verbal communication. 

For more information about the English Department at Yeshiva College, please contact Professor Rachel Mesch at or  212.960-5400 ext. 6868.