About Us

English has long been one of the most prestigious departments at the University, and it consistently ranks among the top departments in the nation. With more than sixty faculty members, the department offers students the opportunity to study closely with renowned scholars and teachers with diverse interests and areas of expertise. Professors specialize in every facet of literary endeavor, from historical periods of literature, to literary theory, to digital humanities, to the practice of writing, to interdisciplinary studies. English faculty have published hundreds of influential books, edited many of the most important editions and collections of literary works, and garnered awards including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” and numerous Guggenheim Fellowships, N. E. H. Fellowships, and elections to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

 

The department studies British, American, and global Anglophone literatures from the Anglo-Saxon era to the present day, and imparts methods of critical reading and writing. All English majors receive a firm grounding in the history of literatures in English, an expansive vision that links cultural heritage to urgent contemporary concerns. Majors become proficient at the analysis and interpretation of texts, and learn to express themselves in writing with precision, elegance, and persuasion. In addition to reading books beloved through the generations, the study of English enables students to grapple with questions of existence, beauty, desire, and power that are fundamental to the human condition.

 

The UVa English major delivers an esteemed and distinctive preparation for a wide range of careers and professions. Upon graduation, majors regularly and successfully enter careers in business, government, the media, the arts, teaching, and administration; many go on to graduate study in law, business, medicine, creative writing, and humanities doctoral programs. Recruiters in many fields identify the strengths for which UVa English graduates are known—critical reading and writing prowess—as highly coveted and increasingly rare in today’s emerging workforce.

 

The English Department teaches texts that reflect and permit study of a wide range of voices. In order to do what we do well, we must be a place in which all students—the student who feels endangered because of threats based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, immigration status, body type; the student who has felt unwelcome because of unpopular political views; the student who is feeling isolated; the student who believes in the enabling properties of literature and language, the student who fears power that has been associated with literature and language, the student who is unsure what literature and language mean in a time like ours—feel welcome. All such students, indeed all UVa students, are welcome in our department and in our classrooms.

 

To learn more about our programs, click on the following links:

Undergraduate Program and the English Major

MA and PhD Programs

Creative Writing

Academic and Professional Writing

 

For more information on our faculty, click here:

English Department Faculty

 

DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATION

Stephen Arata, Chair – sda2e@virginia.edu

Lisa Russ Spaar, Director of Creative Writing – lrs9e@virginia.edu

James Seitz, Director of Academic and Professional Writing – jes4bd@virginia.edu

Jennifer Greeson, Associate Chair – jrg6k@virginia.edu

Victoria Olwell, Director of Graduate Studies – vjo2f@virginia.edu

Mrinalini Chakravorty, Director of Undergraduate Studies – mc5je@virginia.edu

Andrew Stauffer, Graduate Admissions Director – ams4k@virginia.edu

 

DEPARTMENT STAFF

Stacey Trader, Administrative Supervisor – slt5v@virginia.edu

Randy Swift, Graduate Program Administrator - rcs2e@virginia.edu

Carl Stukenborg, Undergraduate Program Administrator – cjs3cu@virginia.edu

Sarah Arrington, Financial Assistant – sdc6n@virginia.edu

Barbara Moriarty, Administrative Assistant - bam9s@virginia.edu

Colette Dabney, Administrative Assistant - cdt4u@virginia.edu