"What does it mean to study English at college?" It is the question that resonates through  English department at college--with professors, students, and parents of students majoring in English. The English Department at SNU strives to answer this question by making students study  the nature and structure of English and  explore a wide variety of literary works written in English including Irish literature and the Third World literature.  In the process, we hope that our students learn not only English as language and discipline but also English as close and complex interactions between  language,  literature, culture, and history.

At the heart of all literary study  including English study lies a simple yet fundamental recognition that language is both the most important tool to express human thought and the most important constituent of human reality. Thus, we  help our students to develop skills in communication by teaching English as tool and to develop skills in analysis  by teaching English as opportunity to delve into life with a sense of mystery and wonder.  The primary goal of our education  is to teach students to think and write critically, to weigh and appreciate human values, and to communicate ideas well. At the same time, our education affords them an opportunity  to train the eye to see the sense of beauty of the English speaking people and informs them of the heritage of the cultures of the people who use English as their own language.

The undergraduate and graduate programs of  the English Department at SNU are structured  to  help  students to develop  their communication skills through English and the critical skills required to analyze and understand various and complicated literary texts.  For undergraduates, our department offers a wide array of introductory British and American literature courses that allow students to develop fundamental writing skills,  powers of argument and analysis, and a historical perspective  on the everlasting human experience over time.   We expect that this program will deepen our students' insights into not only their own experience but also the collective experience of the  society to which they belong and thus help students find a way to further study in law, history, psychology, economics, business, or education as well as in English. Also, the students who are going to find a living in a non-academic world are expected to learn a way of confronting the unpredictable reality of the worldly routines.

The Department of English at SNU offers a higher level of innovative scholarly courses  leading to the degrees of M.A. and Ph.D., which are diverged into two channels of "linguistics" and "literature." Here our primary concern is the place of English language and literature in the world culture not only as a passive reflector but also as an active molder of world culture. We initiates our students into the captivating familiar topics of British and American literature such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Romanticism, Victorian Literature, modern and contemporary British and American literature;  we reread and reevaluate them with thoroughness together with students.  Further, we  are active participants in school-wide interdisciplinary research  and  cooperative programs such as Comparative Literature and Performing Arts; and we are passionate contributors to the research and theoretical development of Feminism, Postmodernism, Cultural Study, and other current topics. We host colloquia 2-3 times a year featuring rising scholars to discuss current issues in English studies. English Studies, which is designed for graduate and research students' critical proficiency, is published yearly in February.

One aspect that cannot go without mention in an overview of our department is the fact that we are engaging in a large portion of the liberal arts education of our university.  From the very beginning of our university, the English department has been an important force in the SNU's mission of liberal arts education. Nearly 30 prominent faculty of our department  cover a wide rangeof scholarly interests that span almost all eras and topics important to an understanding of language, literature, history, psychology, philosophy, education, and others.  Nearly all the faculty members actively participate in the advancement of the College English program, the Core Liberal Arts Curriculum, and the General Liberal Arts Curriculum, which provide students with the basics of liberal arts training.  Most of incoming freshmen take College English as  mandatory course, while many students take several liberal arts courses provided by our department as selective one.