Student Group

English: Writing & Rhetoric

Bachelor of Arts
  • 120 Credits
  • School of Liberal Arts
  • Bronx
  • Online
  • Westchester
English Majors

English Writing & Rhetoric Overview

The concentration in English Writing & Rhetoric is for students interested in devoting a portion of their studies (12 credits) to courses that develop their writing for personal, academic, and professional goals, and that explore how rhetoric, literacy, and languages shape our lived experiences.

Overall, the English major concentration in writing & rhetoric attunes students to the power and mystery of the written word; develops students’ skills of critical thinking, interpretation, and self-expression; and teaches students to communicate effectively, responsibly, and creatively in a multicultural and multimodal world. This preparation has the potential to translate to success in a wide variety of careers, and to a meaningful, fulfilling life.

English opportunities

Career Opportunities

Representative career opportunities include law, medicine, arts and entertainment, public relations, public information, writing, editing, publishing, sales, marketing, advertising, management and personnel relations, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, federal, state, or local government, teaching, and administration.


70% of Students

with humanities degrees have

deeper interest in their work over business & social sciences students

5 Year BA & MS

English Undergraduates can

enroll towards earning an English teaching degree.

120 Credits

Total Credits to Earn Your Degree

Classes in creative writing, world literature & media and technoculture

Want More Info?

We'd like to hear from you! Get more information.


The Mercy Advantage

•  SAT & ACT optional

•  RED HYACINTH — student run journal

•  Some courses completely online

•  Nationally recognized PACT program

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, faculty are always ready to help students with questions about what courses to take, the sequencing of courses, and career opportunities, including internships and cooperative education.

The English major is one of the most versatile degrees you can earn with the potential to lead to dozens of different careers paths. For ideas, inspiration and more information on what awaits our graduates, please visit our Mercy English blog.

Full-time students can complete the 120-credit degree program in four years.

Yes. Many of our major courses are taught online on a rotating basis.

Any student can declare English as their major or minor, especially students who enjoy reading, writing, self-expression, and exploring ideas.

Faculty banner

Program Outcomes


Produce writing in a variety of rhetorical modes using appropriate grammatical and stylistic conventions


Read literary texts closely and analytically


Employ logic, creativity, originality, and interpretive skills in oral, written, and/or online discussions


Demonstrate a working knowledge of English literary genres and traditions as well as the devices, concepts, and contexts associated with them


Conduct academic research by evaluating sources and utilizing correct citation methods

Program Details & Curriculum

General Liberal Arts and Sciences

General Education Requirements: 60 Credits
Major Concentration—English: 36 Credits
Open Electives: 24 Credits

Total: 120 Credits

Students of English of any concentration must complete:

  • ENGL 195 - Intro to English Studies 
  • ENGL 400 - Seminar in Literary Research & Writing

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog.

The concentration in English Writing & Rhetoric is for students interested in devoting a portion of their studies (12 credits) to courses that develop their writing for personal, academic, and professional goals, and that explore how rhetoric, literacy, and languages shape our lived experiences. For more about the English major, refer to the primary catalog listing for the English B.A. degree. 

Students who choose the major concentration in English Writing & Rhetoric must complete the following two core courses (6 credits):

  • ENGL 195 - Intro to English Studies
  • ENGL 400 - Seminar in Literary Research

Students must also complete one course (3 credits) from the following category:
Building Foundations: Literary Surveys

  • ENGL 205 - Survey English Lit I
  • ENGL 206 - Survey English Lit II
  • ENGL 207 - American Lit Survey I
  • ENGL 208 - Amer Lit Sur II 1865-Present

Students must complete four courses (12 credits) from the following group to meet the concentration requirement:*
Developing Your Voice: Writing, Rhetoric, & Style

  • ENGL 209 - Writing for the Professions
  • ENGL 210 - Cultural Rhetorics
  • ENGL 219 - Creative Writing: Nonfiction
  • ENGL 304 - Mod Engl Writing with Style
  • ENGL 306 - Secret Life Words & Sentences

*Up to two of these courses can apply to the concentration:

  • MEDA 134 - The Feature Article I
  • MEDA 154 - Promotional Writing
  • MEDA 345 - Writing for Digital Media
  • COMM 249 - Persuasion

Students must take one course (3 credits) from the following group:
Expanding Foundations: Literary Histories

  • ENGL 225 - Classical Literature
  • ENGL 275 - Modern American Fiction
  • ENGL 276 - Contemporary American Lit
  • ENGL 300 - Medieval Literature
  • ENGL 305 - Chaucer
  • ENGL 310 - Renaissance Poetry & Prose
  • ENGL 315 - Shakespeare
  • ENGL 316 - Shakespeare’s Tragedies
  • ENGL 318 - Explorers and Exiles in Paris
  • ENGL 325 - The 17th Century: Poetry/Prose
  • ENGL 330 - The Eighteenth Century
  • ENGL 335 - The Major English Romantics
  • ENGL 340 - The Major Victorians
  • ENGL 353 - African-American Literature
  • ENGL 365 - American Romanticism
  • ENGL 370 - American Realism
  • ENGL 385 - Masterpieces of European Lit

And students must take one course (3 credits) from the following group:
Gaining Perspective: Culture, Identity, & Difference

  • ENGL 214 - Cyberpunk/Technoculture
  • ENGL 224 - LGTBQ+ Experiences & Lit
  • ENGL 234 - Literature by Women
  • ENGL 236 - Hip Hop Literature & Culture
  • ENGL 239 - American Studies I
  • ENGL 240 - Literature to Film
  • ENGL 257 - Latin American Literature
  • ENGL 267 - Caribbean Literature
  • ENGL 268 - Harlem Renaissance
  • ENGL 269 - Hispanic Latino Lit

Additionally, students have three major elective courses (9 credits) to complete. Students can take any Mercy College English course ranging from ENGL 201 through ENGL 399 as a major elective, and so all of the courses listed above (other than 195 and 400) are eligible. Below are elective groups from which students can also draw major electives.

Exploring Further: Genre Studies & Textual Transformations

  • ENGL 212 - Science Fiction
  • ENGL 220 - The Short Story
  • ENGL 223 - Murder, Mystery, & Suspense
  • ENGL 235 - True Stories:Memoir,Essay& Bio
  • ENGL 249 - American Gothic
  • ENGL 271 - Modrn British Novel:1900-Prsnt
  • ENGL 280 - History of Drama
  • ENGL 281 - Modern Drama
  • ENGL 285 - Modern Poetry
  • ENGL 301 - Utopian Literature

Crossing Borders & Disciplines

  • ENGL 215 - Literature and Medicine
  • ENGL 222 - The Graphic Novel
  • ENGL 230 - The Bible as Literature
  • ENGL 238 - Sport Literature
  • ENGL 242 - Literature and Psychology
  • ENGL 259 - Oral Performance of Literature
  • ENGL 263 - Black Atlantic:Lit/History
  • ENGL 290 - World Lit-Beyond Borders

Developing Your Voice: Creative Writing

  • ENGL 217 - Creative Writing : Fiction
  • ENGL 218 - Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENGL 265 - Introduction to Playwriting
  • ENGL 319 - Advanced Creative Writing

Foreign language requirement: English majors must complete 6 credits of a foreign language. The 6 credits do not have to be in the same language, but it is recommended that they be. 3 of these credits will come from the student’s Gen Ed Language & Cultural Perspectives disciplinary group requirement; the other 3 will be drawn from either the student’s Gen Ed Liberal Arts Electives or from Open Electives.

ENGL 195 should be taken as soon as possible, preferably in the semester immediately following completion of ENGL 112 or ENGL/HONR 192. Transfer students should ideally take ENGL 195 in the first semester upon transferring in.

ENGL 400 is the capstone course, meaning the final course in the English major. It should be taken in the final semester of the program, or at least in the penultimate semester if a student foresees scheduling conflicts for the final semester.

ENGL 294 Major Authors and ENGL 295 Special Topics are generic course codes under which can run a number of new or experimental courses. ENGL 397 Independent Study is a course code by which a student might, in rare and special circumstances, pursue a unique course of study. Courses running by these codes will default to working as major electives. If a course running by one these codes makes sense as a substitution for a category requirement, though, students can request of the Program Director that a substitution be allowed to let the course count for the category requirement.

The English program highly recommends that English majors earn a minor to complement their English major. Students can earn a minor in another field such as Media Studies, History, Design & Animation, or Communication Studies (to name just a few) by completing 15 credits in that field. English majors have a total of 42 non-major elective credits to spend (24 Open Elective credits plus 18 General Education Liberal Arts & Sciences Elective credits) and so have ample opportunity to earn a minor. To learn more, speak with your PACT mentor or contact the English Program Director.

ENGL 380 Workplace Experience I, and ENGL 381 Workplace Experience II, are internship codes that allow students to complete internship experience. Such internship credits count as Open Elective credits. Students interested in seeking internship opportunities should speak with the Mercy College Office of Career & Professional Development, the Chair of the Department of Literature and Language, and/or the Director of Undergraduate English.

The English major has an 18 credit residency requirement.

Full-Time Faculty

Part-Time Faculty

Faculty Emeritae/i

Additional Staff