During the freshman year, Wofford students take a "Seminar in Literature and Composition" which focuses on a literary figure, genre, nationality, or period. Seminars range from "F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age" to "American Ethnic Fiction" to "D.H. Lawrence." During the sophomore year, Wofford students take either "Introduction to Literary Study" or one of the three surveys: "English Literature to 1800," "English Literature since 1800," or "American Literature." The emphasis in freshman seminars and sophomore courses is on close reading for understanding and appreciation as well as the development of writing skills.
For those who want to major in or to take courses for elective credit in English, the department offers a varied and comprehensive selection. Included are courses from the principal periods of English and American literary history, courses in major English and American authors, courses in world literature, courses in literary criticism, grammar and history of the language, creative writing, communications, and film.
The Wofford College Writers Series brings four or five successful writers to the campus every year for public readings and close association and interaction with students. The writers who have visited the campus are of international, national, and regional fame, and they have helped students assess their own aspirations and abilities as creative writers and critics of literature. The department also offers January Interim projects in such innovative activities as a Literary Tour of Ireland, Comparative Cinema, and Images of Women in Twentieth-Century Literature. Also, approximately every other year, the College awards the Ben Wofford Prize to a book-length work by a student; usually these are novellas written in the Novella Workshop, but the prize has also gone to a collection of poetry and to books of non-fiction prose. The prize includes publication of the book. The department also oversees student publications (the newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine) and the Helmus Creative Writing Contest.