Mission Statement

The Department of English at the University of Bern is a community of scholars engaged in research and teaching in the fields of Modern and Historical Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Modern English Literature and Culture, North American Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Literary Theory and Language and Communication. It is one of our foremost aims to provide students with historical and systematic understanding of these various fields, and to offer a comprehensive curriculum reflecting the state of the art in English Studies. We consider research and teaching as interdependent and mutually enhancing academic practices: Classrooms are where scholarly perspectives and assumptions are tested. Lectures, seminars and workshops at the Department of English are not simply didactic, but designed to pose fundamental theoretical questions. Students are encouraged to develop research questions and areas of interest of their own. We are committed to interdisciplinarity as evidenced by our collaboration with a number of important research centres in the faculty and beyond.

At the BA level, we aim at familiarizing students with the most important theories and methods in linguistics as well as literary and cultural studies, and at giving them an overview of literary history from the Middle Ages to the present. At the MA level, students specialise in either literary studies or linguistics. After completing an intensive programme of study, graduates should have acquired a high degree of intercultural language and communicative competence, and should be able to claim professional standing in higher education, the media, publishing and similar fields. No less important, however, are the traditional aims of a humanistic education, such as intellectual independence and personal development. To allow students to explore their individual abilities, the Department of English supports extracurricular activities including theatre projects, exhibitions, concerts, poetry events, etc. Students are also strongly encouraged to take part actively in the life of the local and international academic community by attending conferences, guest lectures and other (interdisciplinary) events.

This organizational chart (PDF, 77KB) shows the current structure of our department.