Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.
– Agatha Christie
The Heidelberg University Department of English offers two concentrations in our English major program: writing and literature. Both tracks share courses, but the writing track allows students to learn and practice various types of writing. While some students focus on either fiction or poetry, the English curriculum provides students with a broad range of writing skills in academic, technical, and creative writing. Aside from general courses like Composition, Literary Genres, and Intermediate Writing, courses such as Introduction to Literary Theory, Technical Writing, Advanced Poetry Writing, Advanced Fiction Writing, Introduction to Linguistics, and Introduction to Journalism (just to name a few) are offered. Many of these courses utilize a workshop approach through which students critique each other’s work and benefit from each other’s ideas.
Majors with junior or senior status may work with a faculty member individually through an independent study in order to focus on a specific type of writing—past topics have included short story seminars, writing for children, sports writing, magical realism, and poetry anthologies. The student and faculty member develop the course goals and learning outcomes of this course. Independent studies are intended to provide the student with a more challenging focus on an area of his or her interest.
The writing capstone for seniors emphasizes the necessity of being able to produce work in all of the genres that English courses cover. The students’ previously-written materials are workshopped and further revised in order to create a final portfolio that is then reviewed by the English Department faculty. A final writing project is also assigned for this course; students have the freedom to focus on any topic through academic pieces, short stories, film scripts, technical writing, public relations-oriented projects, etc. In addition, students apply for positions on the Morpheus Literary Magazine and then work as an editorial staff to create an online issue. The publication contains prize-winning submissions from the Morpheus Writing Contest (which the students also plan and coordinate). Other students interview Heidelberg alumni and add articles for the “Jobs for English Majors” portion of the department website.