The department offers a range of courses for native speakers and advanced second language students, including remedial and preparatory courses in reading and writing; college-level composition and reading courses for transfer and associate degree students; and courses in creative writing and literature. The curriculum emphasizes the integration of reading and writing throughout its courses, reflecting the faculty's concern that students not divorce the study of language from the study of cultures nor lose sight of the uses or abuses of writing within a cultural context. The courses offered through the department meet general education and transfer requirements in English, critical thinking, literature, and humanities.
Students majoring in English at the lower-division level concentrate on learning how to interpret literature critically and imaginatively, and how to write prose that is clear, exact, and expressive. Thus the major is appropriate for students who desire or require the ability to be closely attentive to language and to its ramifications. Students anticipating careers in law, education, communications, governmental affairs, and business may find the English major especially helpful. The wide versatility of the English major makes it generally appropriate for students whose career inclinations may be uncertain or indefinite, since the abilities one masters as an English major may be applied to a wide range of contexts and circumstances. The major is also designed for transfer students intending upper division study in literature, criticism, or related fields.
English majors at Irvine Valley College may elect an emphasis either in literature or in writing. In both cases, students should complete both Writing 1 and Writing 2 in fulfillment of language and rationality requirements within the general education package. The faculty recommends that English majors do not select a literature course to meet the humanities requirement for general education, but explore related subjects in the humanities that may be of interest to them.