English & Modern Languages

Mission Statement

Through the study of literature and theory, students will become lifelong learners who are skilled in critical thinking and writing. They will be able to apply these skills in a number of settings, whether personal or professional


The objectives of the Department of English are:

  1. To produce students who can critically read texts in any genre and from a variety of historical/cultural contexts;
  2. To promote a multi-dimensional approach to writing with an articulation of ideas in clear, effective prose;
  3. To enable students to apply academic skills in the negotiation and understanding of social, cultural, business, and personal events;
  4. To produce students who can solve problems through effective and evaluative research;
  5. To have students gain a basic knowledge of genres and periods in British and American literature, along with an understanding of the limits periodization creates;
  6. To promote an ability to critique and analyze texts from various theoretical perspectives;
  7. To engender an understanding and experience of the power of language, with students increasing their curiosity and enthusiasm about ideas, writing, and reading;
  8. To enable students to understand the power of language to change systems and to use this power in a practical way in their personal and/or professional lives.

Honor Society and Memberships

Washington Adventist University has an active chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society. The purpose of the honor society is to recognize undergraduates, graduates, and scholars who have realized accomplishments in either linguistics or the literature of the English language. The society is open to all English majors and minors who have earned an overall grade point average of 3.25 or above and have completed successfully two literature courses with an English grade point average of 3.00 or above. The motto of the organization, “Sincerity, Truth, Design,” evidences the society’s commitment to excellence, a commitment consistent with the goals of the English Department and the college. The Department is also home to the college-wide Pre-Law Club and the English Club, both of which are open to all students on campus.

The English Department, which functions as one of the advisory departments for pre-law students, is a member of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors, Inc.

Student Placement for Writing Instruction

First-year students with scores above the 50th percentile for the verbal section of the SAT or ACT exam will be placed in First Year Composition (ENGL 101). All other students, including transfer students with 24 or fewer credits who do not have recent SAT or ACT scores, are required to take the English Placement Test. Based on their test results, students may be placed in English as a Second Language; Basic English (ENGL 050); or First Year Composition (ENGL 101). Depending on a student’s written language proficiency in English, ENGL 101A may be required for as long as the Department of English and Modern Languages deems necessary. Exceptions must be petitioned to and approved by both the director of first-year composition and the Academic Appeals Committee

Students whose level of English proficiency does not qualify them for ENGL 050, ENGL 101A, or ENGL 101 will need to receive further instruction in English elsewhere until they are capable of satisfying the requirements for any of these three classes.

English as a Second Language

Students whose native language is other than English, including any students who have not completed 4 years in an educational institution in which English is the language of instruction, may be placed in appropriate ESL courses according to examination results of the TOEFL or the Michigan Test for English Language Proficiency or IELTS (see Admissions section of the Bulletin for placement requirements).

External Degree

English majors and minors wishing to take an External Degree ENGL or LITR course must obtain the permission of both their advisor and the English Department faculty member who teaches the ENGL or LITR course the External Degree course would replace. Completion of courses by English majors and minors through the External Degree program is discouraged, and permission is granted solely at the discretion of the English Department faculty.
Read the Department of English section in the Academic bulletin.

Department Information

Brad Haas, Chair
Phone: 301-891-4594
E-mail: bhaas@wau.edu