Academic Programs

Academic Programs

English majors read, discuss, and write about literature, film, popular culture and the law from a variety of perspectives. In doing so, they build skills in critical reading and analysis, verbal presentation, argumentation, and persuasive writing. In John Jay’s unique English curriculum, students acquire a comprehensive and varied foundation in literary study, and then choose to pursue either the field of Literature in greater depth or an optional concentration in Literature and the Law. The major prepares students for a variety of careers and graduate work in law, public policy, business, education, writing, and government.

CoordinatorProfessor J. Paul Narkunas (212.237.8582,

The Humanities and Justice major offers students the opportunity to explore fundamental questions about justice from a humanistic, interdisciplinary perspective. Rooted in history, literature and philosophy, Humanities and Justice prepares students for basic inquiry and advanced research into issues of justice that lie behind social policy and criminal justice as well as broader problems of social morality and equity. Its courses are designed to help students develop the skills of careful reading, critical thinking and clear writing that are necessary for the pursuit of any professional career. This major provides an excellent preparation for law school and other professional programs, for graduate school in the humanities, and for careers in law, education, public policy and criminal justice.

Coordinator: Professor Allison Kavey (212.237.8819,, Department of History

In the Creative Writing Minor, students will practice the craft of writing in a workshop setting. Creative writing is distinguished from academic writing in its focus on emotional experience as the foundation for expression.  In the areas of fiction, poetry, personal narrative, screenwriting and autobiography, students will use the close review and critique of the workshop format to produce truer and more effective writing. 
Writing well empowers the writer and the reader.  The Creative Writing Minor will help students find their unique voices, shape their experiences, and refine their literary presentations. 

Minor Coordinator: Professor Adam Berlin, Department of English (212.237.8564, )

This interdisciplinary minor engages students in the study, critique, and production of media across a variety of platforms, with a special emphasis on digital content. Students can choose a flexible path of courses related to journalism, film and video, photography, social media and other forms of communication, with digital and information literacy threaded throughout the curriculum. In today’s world, media is power.  Learn how to analyze and harness that power in a manner that engages, informs, and advances justice.

Minor Coordinators: Professors Alexa Capeloto (646.557.4546, acapeloto@jjay.cuny.eduand Devin Harner (646.557.4604,, Department of English

Students who have found their required English and Literature courses exciting may continue their exploration of texts (including films and other genres in popular culture) and develop their voices in a variety of written forms in the English minor. The minor offers students the opportunity to broaden their experience of literary study, improve their critical thinking skills, and advance their skills in analytical, expository and/or creative writing.

Minor CoordinatorProfessor Helen Kapstein, Department of English (212.237.8591,

Film Studies engages students in the study of film from theoretical, historical and critical perspectives. A Film Studies minor thus provides coursework exploring the history and development of film as an art form, a cultural experience, a major medium of communication and a powerful social force that both impacts and reflects social and political justice. Students develop critical skills through analyzing individual films, major film movements and genres, cinematic form and style, and the national and international cultural contexts in which films emerge and are exhibited.

Minor Coordinator: Professor Jay Walitalo, Department of English (212.484.1192,

This minor examines U.S. Latinx authors writing in English and focuses on the four major U.S. Latinx groups – Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican – as well as other significant U.S. Latinx populations – Colombian, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan. While applying literary criticism and taking an interdisciplinary approach, which may also include the study of music, religion, politics, film, and the visual arts, this minor provides a well–rounded understanding of the cultural elements that contribute to U.S. Latinx Literature. In addition, this minor will enable students to develop the critical reading and writing skills essential for graduate study and careers in the law, education, public policy, writing, and government. Among the broad issues this minor will address include the following: diaspora; bilingual aesthetics; street literature; criminal and social justice; border narratives, citizenship, and the law; experiences of exile; Afro–Latinidad; Latina feminisms; queer identities; orality; and ethnicity.

Minor Coordinators: Professors Richard Perez, English Department, (646.557.4408, and Belinda Rincón, English and Latin American and Latina/o Studies Departments, (212.237.8750,

The minor in Writing and Rhetoric provides students with a theoretical understanding of rhetorical principles as they apply them to academic, public, and professional writing situations.  Students learn to write for diverse audiences and purposes, and across multiple genres, styles, and designs. The minor teaches students to meet the expectations and requirements for producing texts with impact across varied writing contexts, including creative non-fiction, law, business, and discipline-specific academic writing; as such, the minor prepares students for the advanced writing required in upper-level college courses and in their professional careers beyond graduation.

Minor Coordinator: Professor Tim McCormack, Department of English (646.557.4654,