Guided by the principle that the study of literature enables students to become better readers, writers, thinkers, and citizens of the world, the Department of English offers a rich curriculum in British, American, and world literatures, creative writing, cinema, and literary theory. Specific courses treat literary periods, genres, major authors, and literary and cultural topics. The department is home to the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, one of the oldest continuously-published poetry journals in the country, and the Garnet, a student-published magazine of poetry, prose, and photography. Hampden-Sydney English majors have enjoyed success in graduate programs, business, law, journalism, teaching, and public service. Our curriculum helps both majors and non-majors develop essential skills in analytic and abstract thinking, cultural analysis, and written communication-all in addition to a love of reading that extends well beyond graduation.

As part of our teaching, we want students to see us making literature an important part of our lives -- reading it because we love it, discussing it with colleagues, writing about it for peers, and generally sharing its richness. Thus through instruction and example, we hope that our students, too, will enjoy literature as an important part of their lives and will incorporate it into their thinking about the modern world and human possibility. 

Degree Offerings

It wasn’t just going to classes and learning about 18th Century British Literature. The professors really wanted to make everyone who was willing into a better writer. They definitely did that for me.

Clay Whittaker ’09, journalist

The Virginia Program at Oxford

The Virginia Program at Oxford is a Hampden-Sydney sponsored, interdisciplinary summer school program based in St. Anne's College, Oxford University. The six-week program examines the literature, history and society of late-16th and early-17th century England. Instruction follows the English system of higher education, which combines daily lectures by renowned, British scholars with small, weekly tutorials. 

VA Program at Oxford

Alumni who Majored in English

Robert Bodendorf '10, Professional Development Coordinator
Baker Donelson, Birmingham, AL       
I joined the Baker Donelson law firm's professional development department in May 2014 after earning my Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama.

Matthew Brady '05, Vice President for Development and Communications
Children's Hospital Foundation, Richmond, VA
I am the head of communications for Children's Hospital Foundation, which is the fundraising entity for Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. The majority of the Foundation's fundraising efforts are based around telling patient family stories, and my English degree from Hampden-Sydney has been put to great use in developing, writing, and editing those stories. 

Jarrod Ficklin '11, Feature Producer
Golf Channel, Orlando, FL
Being a Feature Producer, much like an English Major, requires a lot of versatility.  An English Major at H-SC needs to possess enough initiative to read and research and enough creativity to analyze and relay his thoughts on any given subject. As a Feature Producer, I am basically a writer/director/producer all-in-one.

Nathan Goodwyn '01, English teacher
Collegiate School, Richmond, VA
I teach students how to read carefully and write well. I also teach them how to think, how to prepare, and how to compete as athletes. I have found that being a middle school English teacher and coach requires one to be an independent thinker and close observer-- traits that the H-SC English department embodied as individuals and imparted upon me as a student.

Drew Prehmus '08, Financial Advisor
Prehmus Financial Partners, Atlanta, GA
"Hampden-Sydney taught me to dream big, ask for impossible things, and be comfortable hearing no." As a Financial Advisor, Drew helps people with investment and tax strategies and leads the firm's strategic planning and branding efforts. He earned his MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business. Prior to business school, he worked as the special assistant to President Christopher B. Howard at Hampden-Sydney. While at H-SC, he wrote a book and served as student body president.


Writing Contests

Submit your best poetry, short stories, or essays for this annual contest.

Writing Contests

The Poetry Review

The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, published annually, has been a respected journal in the world of poetry for forty years.

Poetry Review

Raphael Sydnor '01

"In anything in life, anything worth doing is worth doing 100%."

Raphael Sydnor '01

English Department

Nathaniel Perry, Chair
Associate Professor of English
Morton Hall, 015 | Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
(434) 223-6315

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