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

An English education at H-SC is a transformative opportunity to work with caring, academically-stimulating people in the pursuit of a greater understanding of not only literature, but also ourselves.

Dalton Hall '19

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. 

"The Virginia Program at Oxford taught me how to think on my feet, both in and out of the classroom. The work is hard, but the experience is unforgettable." — Max Dash '18

Summer Programs

Alumni who Majored in English

Max Dash '18, NBA Content Marketing Intern
Glen Allen, Virginia
Max acquired a fall 2018 internship with Turner Broadcasting System. Before graduating form Hampden-Sydney he was a Web Content Writer for the English department.

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. 

I sort of stumbled into a marketing and PR position at a hospital in Florida between my Junior and Senior years at H-SC. I found that I enjoyed that field, so I continued to look for similar jobs both because I enjoyed it and because it was an area in which I had experience. I was hired by my current employer in 2008 as a Website Content Coordinator and worked my way up over the years to attain my current position in 2015.

Honestly, I feel like I can speak most to students who might not have a clear career path in mind. (My decision to major in both English and Biology was an early sign I had no idea what I would do!) I always loved creative writing and design, and I was fortunate to find a niche that lets me continue to do those things. I think H-SC gave me some great foundational skills, particularly in communication, that prepared me for any number of jobs.

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. I get to travel often, research stories, hire film crews, direct the photographers on site, and then creatively write and produce featured elements for coverage of the biggest golf tournaments in the world.  Before taking the job at Golf Channel, I used the same resourceful skills I gained as an English Major as an Associate Producer for ESPN in Bristol, CT, winning 3 Sports Emmys as a part of College Gameday.

Watch Writer/Producer Jarrod Ficklin's latest video Fate & Friendship: Jon Dechambeau & Ron Bankofier, a story of fate and friendship about how winning a golf tournament helped save Bryson Dechambeau's father's life.

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.

Walter F. McCoy III, '13, Pharmacy Technician, Event Coordinator
Roanoke, VA
As a student at Hampden-Sydney College, I kept myself involved academically and socially. On top of a full schedule of classes each semester, I also managed the Animation Society and Jongleurs student organizations, and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Tau Delta, and Alpha Psi Omega. My primary academic foci at H-SC were on "presentational" literary forms, such as film and drama, and on the representation of gender in literature and media. I used my English, Creative Writing, and Theatre studies to pursue a career in education, but after two years of teaching, I decided to switch paths. I now dabble between my job as a nationally certified Pharmacy Technician in Roanoke, VA and in my position as a Teen Event Coordinator with the Roanoke County Library System.

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.

Internships and Opportunities

English Internships

Drew Dickerson '17
Internship at Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce 

"As an intern, I promoted various businesses around Farmville. Whenever we got a new member, I would write up a press release welcoming them to the Chamber. I was involved in the preparation ofa wine-tasting event held at Longwood where business could come and network with people of Farmville. I think my experience as an English major helped me in communicating with these businesses and writing about them. It was a combination of research and writing, something that majoring in English has taught me well."

Campus Jobs

Chris Morales '17
Editor and Chief: The Garnet Literary Magazine

As Editor and Chief of the Hampden-Sydney literary magazine, Chris Morales is responsible for overseeing the staff and the process of creating a magazine. As an English major, Chris has learned important skills that have enabled him to succeed in his work at The Garnet.

"There's more to the job than just putting a magazine together. It's important to reach out to the college community to encourage students to submit their best artistic work. My experience as an English major has assisted me in figuring out and organizing the submissions as well as deciding what order they will go in the magazine. As a leader, you have to know how to communicate with other students. I am in charge of the staff and I oversee and organize staff meetings. "

The Virginia Program at Oxford

Max Dash '18
"The Virginia Program at Oxford taught me how to think on my feet, both in and out of the classroom. The work is hard, but the experience is unforgettable."

At Oxford, the classroom model is set up in a tutorial format: "Different tutorial groups studied different texts depending on the tutor. In my English tutorial, we studied Thomas More's Utopia, Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and the poetry of Andrew Marvell and John Donne."

Andrew Madison '17
"Studying the Renaissance time period in England is as key to understanding modern society as the English Civil War is to understanding both English and American history. Being in the ancient landscape of England yields wondrous amounts of  imaginative fuel and made studying works by Milton, Shakespeare, Johnson, and Sir Philip Sydney more enjoyable. The lecturers at Oxford carry with them knowledge and experience as educators at the most prestigious universities in Great Britain.

"The architecture in Oxford is wonderful. Gothic churches with beautifully decorated interiors adorn the city. History is literally around every corner, and once you see the gigantic beech tree on Trinity College's campus lawn, you realize just how young the United States is as a nation. This trip made me think about how we got to where we are now from the past and what my motivation was as an English major. It inspired me to try my hand at poetry, a decision which I have come to stand behind with immense happiness."

Sigma Tau Delta

English honor society

An international honorary society in English, Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 and chartered at Hampden-Sydney in 1990. It recognizes excellence and encourages further achievement in English language and literature studies, and it seeks to foster creative and critical writing. A member must have a B or greater average in at least three English courses, one of which can be a creative writing course, and a GPA of 3.0 or better. National website: Sigma Tau Delta


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

Joey Kelly '22

Senior Joey Kelly is uniquely himself and, with the help of his transformative and well-rounded academic experience at Hampden-Sydney, is not afraid to challenge his own or others' perspectives.

Joey Kelly '22

English Department

Dr. Abigail T. Horne, Chair
Associate Professor of English
Morton Hall, 020 | Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
(434) 223-6247

English Department Professors
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