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Languages, Literature and Composition

The Division of Languages, Literature and Composition offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Spanish, as well as minors in African American StudiesEnglish, French, Spanish, German studies, Film studies, Creative Writing, Global studies, and Spanish Translation/interpreting. All degree programs are designed with small classes and one-on-one guidance from instructors and advisers to help students develop the skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, research, and analysis that are essential to 21st-Century careers. Find examples of excellent student projects and publications in the English Literary File and in the Upstate Research Journal. Our award-winning faculty members are published authors, leaders of national and regional organizations, working translators and interpreters, and global travelers committed to opening up a world of opportunity for our students. For more about our faculty members, go to the Meet Our Faculty Web page.

Careers and Graduate School

Languages, Literature and Composition programs prepare students for careers in law, professional/technical/creative writing, editing, publishing, translation and interpreting, library science, researching, business and non-profit administration, intelligence and military analysis, public relations, the film and popular culture industry, community outreach, as well as teaching both in the US and abroad. Our graduates have gone on to complete masters degrees, doctorates, law degrees, and even pharmacy degrees at American University, Brandeis, Brock University, Clemson University, John Marshall Law School, the Medical University of South Carolina, Mercer University School of Law, Ohio State University, Tufts University, the University of Kentucky, UNC Wilmington, the University of South Carolina, Winthrop University, and many more. Our alumni are working around the world as authors, bloggers, editors, film makers, lawyers, journalists, business owners and executives, librarians, freelancers, marketing and advertising coordinators, media producers, military officers, professors, sports writers, teachers, public relations directors, Peace Corps volunteers, civil volunteers with Americorps and Teach for America, and more every day. They live and work in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, China, the UK, and throughout the US. 

What Can a Minor Do for You?

Our minors allow students to combine their interest in language and culture with a major in business, health care, engineering, technology, communications, criminal justice, child advocacy, or nearly any other field. Our minors prepare students to research, analyze, create, and communicate more effectively across audiences and cultures. These skills can significantly increase career competitiveness, especially in the Upstate region which is one of the biggest centers for international companies in the United States. 

The First-Year Experience

Languages, Literature and Composition faculty are honored to play an important role in the USC Upstate First-Year Experience through introductory courses in English Composition and World Languages and through the Preface First-Year Reading Program. Students at all levels can expect to have many opportunities for service learning or for working with community groups through many of our community engagement activities in world languages, global studies, writing and literacy. 

Get to Know Our Languages, Literature and Composition Community

Follow us on Twitter @LLC_Upstate or stop by our office in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center Room 222 to find out more. Contact Dr. Celena E. Kusch, Chair (864-503-5850) or Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, Assistant Chair for World Languages (864-503-5221)

Alumni Portrait Tara Bing, now working as an attorney

Tara Bing is currently an Attorney Adviser for Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. After graduating from USC Upstate in 2013, Tara began graduate school at the Charleston School of Law. In 2016, Tara graduated from law school, passed the South Carolina Bar, and was sworn-in as an attorney. She first served as a law clerk in SC Circuit Court for the Honorable Alison Renee Lee.
“I always knew that I wanted to attend law school to become a lawyer and decided to pick a major that I thought would benefit me in law school. At first, I was certain that I needed to major in political science, but I quickly changed my mind when I was told that I should choose a major that I would love. I am glad that I changed my major to English because writing was a skill that I felt would help me excel in law school. . . . I am excited to see what the future holds for me.”

"I believe that there are countless opportunities to use your English major in the real world. I decided to use my English major to become a lawyer, and I want to show others that an English major does not mold students into just one career path. The sky is not even the limit for anyone with drive and determination to make their dreams come true."

Alumni Portrait Philip Davenport, now teaching English in Mexico

Philip Davenport completed a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Studio Art and French at USC Upstate in 2013. He went on to earn an MA in International Studies (International Law and Organization) from the University of South Carolina Columbia the following year. After completing his TEFL Certification, Philip lived and worked for Boston Academy in Léon, Guanajuato, Mexico. In July 2016, he received a professorship position at the Universidad Mariana in San Juan de Pasto, Colombia, and he has taught in Colombia and Mexico, where he plans to start his own English school in the coming years.

"I owe all of my experiences, opportunities, and success to the professors and staff at the USC Upstate. During my degree program I received so much support from my professors, including Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche (my mentor and friend). I remember the professors taking me under their wings and showing me what I needed to do to succeed. They offered me opportunities to teach, intern, and research, and without them I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today, chasing my dream of travelling and working around the world. Today, I feel lucky and extremely grateful for the inspiration, courage, and motivation that USC Upstate helped me find. My final words would be those that a great friend offered me right before I left for Mexico, she wrote in a card these simple words: 'Jump, and the net will appear.' Those words will always stick with me as I continue into the future, and I hope they speak to you as well."

Alumni Portrait Travis Deberry, now working as an officer in the US military

Travis Deberry earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from USC Upstate. Upon commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in 2012, he started off in the Army Chemical Corps as a platoon leader stationed at Camp Stanley, South Korea. Following Korea, he graduated from the Army Airborne School to qualify as a parachutist for my next assignment in Vicenza, Italy, where he was stationed for two years. Today he is an active duty Army Captain working in the Army Adjutant General Corps, which operates as the Army’s
Human Resources branch.

"The USC Upstate English program enhanced my critical thinking skills and prepared me for the professional writing requirements as an Army Officer. Officers must be effective readers and writers who are able to analyze and interpret Army doctrine, publish and issue  operational orders, implement policies, and write scholarly articles that advance the profession of arms. Being able to analyze and deconstructing binaries are skills that I will continue to use and pursue throughout my life and my career."

Alumni Portrait Tanya Newman, published novelistTanya Newman has a Bachelor of Arts in English from USC Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University. She is an English Instructor and Library Specialist with Spartanburg Community College. Her short story, “The Only One,” was published by Gadfly Online. Her first novel, The Good Thief, was published by Black Opal Books in 2016, and her second novel, Winter Rain, was published in 2017. She has a third novel already on the way.

"I feel immeasurably blessed to have studied in the English Department at USC Upstate because I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: write and teach. The path to this discovery would not be complete without the wisdom and inspiration from many professors, namely Dr. Marilyn Knight, Dr. Thomas McConnell, Dr. Donald Knight, Dr. Alan Chalmers, and Professor Jonathan Barker. Each ignited and re-ignited a love of literature and writing through courses like Creative Writing, Contemporary American and British Literature, Victorian Literature, and Women in Literature, and works like The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, As I Lay Dying, The French Lieutenant’s WomanThe Scarlet Letter, and Jane Eyre. I found a home in these classes and these works, as I did with the Literary Club and my work as a Features Editor with The Carolinian. My professors inspired me to do for other students what they did for me, which was inspire, enlighten, and enrich through literature. Studying writing and literature at USC Upstate is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made."

  • Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    1. The student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of literary periods, movements, genres, and authors that is informed by literary criticism, theory, and linguistic analysis.

    1.1 Demonstrate an ability to situate and interpret texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

    1.2 Utilize appropriate literary and/or linguistic theory in discussing the assigned texts.


     2. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate a variety of texts.

    2.1 Interpret meaning and significance based on close observations of details within and among texts.


    3. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner for a variety of audiences.

    3.1 Write with clarity and precision as appropriate for the given audience.


    4. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to incorporate, engage in and utilize well-planned and well-executed research.

    4.1 Critically engage the ideas of other scholars.

    4.2 Incorporate research in writing about the assigned texts.

  • Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    1. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate speaking and listening proficiency in Spanish.

    1. Students will demonstrate competence in syntax and rules of discourse in varying linguistic tasks as measured by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines— Speaking.


     2. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate the ability to write in different styles.

    2.1 Students will write with clarity and precision on assigned texts.

    2.2 Students will demonstrate an ability to write for various audiences.


    3. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate an adequate command of grammar and linguistics.

    3.1 Students will demonstrate competence in syntax and rules of discourse, as measured by the ACTFL Written Proficiency Scale.

    3.2 Students will demonstrate understanding of the principles of Spanish phonetics and how they compare with English phonetics.


    4. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to read, understand and analyze popular and literary texts in Spanish.

    4.1 Students will demonstrate an ability to situate and interpret texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

    4.2 Make connections between texts written in Spanish.

    5. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate an ability to compare the products, practices and perspectives of the cultures of Spanish speakers with others. 5. Students will demonstrate an ability to compare the culture of a particular Hispanic group with the students' own cultures.