View English Department Directory

Study Skills

This in-depth study-skills course exposes students to study skills and upper level critical reading skills needed at Jesuit. This multi-faceted course covers outlining, note-taking, test taking, basic research and library skills, and critical reading skills for use in all disciplines.


This course, usually taken in conjunction with the Study Skills course, stresses the acquisition of a solid foundation in grammar and usage. Emphasis on vocabulary skills begins here and continues through the English program.

English I

This course is an intense study of the grammar, usage, and mechanics of the English language. The goal of the course is for the student to master writing of grammatically correct and stylistically strong sentences. Vocabulary and novel reading are also stressed.

English II

The primary emphasis of the English II course is the unified, coherent, and emphatic writing of the paragraph. This is balanced with a “genre” approach to literature in which the student is introduced to the craft of the short story writer, the poet, the dramatist, and the novelist. Usage and mechanics topics learned in English I and relevant to writing are reviewed throughout the year and accompany continued novel reading and vocabulary study.

English III

The primary focus in this course is on writing an essay. Outline, introduction, thesis statement, development, and conclusion are stressed along with the elements of unity, coherence, and emphasis. Style is stressed after basic structural and mechanical elements have been mastered.

The secondary focus of the course is the survey of American literature. Weekly vocabulary study and usage review are geared to improve writing and ACT/SAT preparation.

English IV

This course has a twofold emphasis: first, and most important, the writing of essays about literature (tone, comparison-contrast, character analysis, etc.) and the writing of a college-level research paper; second, a survey of British literature. Vocabulary study and usage review continue.

English V (Advanced Reading and Composition)

This course stresses the development and intensification of writing skills and critical reading skills beyond the high school level in conjunction with the study of world literature as well as 19th and 20th century British and American literature.

Advanced Placement English (Literature and Composition)

This course is a rigorous college-level English course emphasizing those writing and critical reading skills relevant to the national Advanced Placement Program, which offers high school students a chance to earn college credit in English while still in high school. Additionally, the course emphasizes those writing and critical reading skills relevant to the national Advanced Placement English test given each year in May. These skills include close and critical readings of prose and poetry, and intensive development of the student’s own writing skills, especially his style. The course also emphasizes the study of world literature and 19th and 20th century British and American literature.

Creative Writing (Elective)

This course is a one semester senior elective. The purpose of the course is to cultivate the creative writing potential of the student using a writing workshop model. Students examine and actively practice the craft of creative writing involved in a variety of disciplines: newspaper articles, character sketches, story plots, descriptive passages, critical analyses, poems, short stories, plays, magazine articles, and essays.

Introduction to Irish Literature (Elective)

Introduction to Irish Literature is a one-semester course open to both juniors and seniors. Students read and discuss Irish classics, beginning with the oldest Irish epic, the eighth-century Tain Bo Cuailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley) and continuing through the Medieval Period, the Anglo-Irish Period, the Gaelic Literary Revival, and into the Modern Period. Genres studied include folklore, the short story, the novel, drama, poetry, and, occasionally, film. Students will engage in independent research a number of times during the semester.