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Department of English UMD College of Liberal Arts

English Department Portfolio - Department of English

English Department Portfolio


All English majors are required to complete a portfolio and pass ENGL 4909 in order to graduate. You will need to register for ENGL 4909: English Portfolio during the semester BEFORE the term in which you will graduate.

The Fall 2014 deadline for submitting or "sharing" your portfolio online with your advisor and this year's Portfolio assessment coordinator, Dr. John Schwetman (jschwetm@d.umn.edu) is Friday of the 14th week of classes (December 1st, 2014). See below for instructions on how to store papers in online portfolios and on how to share these materials with other people.

Why a Portfolio?
When you complete the major you will be able to take with you a portfolio that represents your best writing. This material may serve as a resource for you as you apply for employment or graduate school. You will need to complete a minimally satisfactory portfolio in order to pass English 4909, which is required for graduation. After you graduate, the portfolio will be used for program assessment.

What is the Portfolio intended to assess?

The portfolio is an assessment tool for two different kinds of readers. During the major, you as a student (in consultation with your advisor) can use the portfolio to direct and assess your English studies. After your graduation the English Department faculty will use the accumulated portfolios to evaluate their own effectiveness in teaching the English curriculum and skills.

What goes into your English Portfolio?
1. An essay selected from WRIT 1120 - College Writing. This essay should be the first item you place in your Portfolio as soon as you declare a major and begin to compile materials. If you were exempted from Freshman Composition, or did not retain any essays from that course, you may substitute an essay from early in your college career.
2. A two- to six-page essay in which you analyze closely and carefully a single short work of literature or an excerpt from a larger work. Choose an essay that best represents your ability to read sensitively and deliberately, to use critical terminology appropriately, and to conform to the rules of standard English.
3. A research paper from an upper-division course. This essay must be at least eight pages long, demonstrate mastery of research and MLA documentation methods, and make use of at least four scholarly secondary sources. No more than one of these may be scholarly Web resources; the rest must be scholarly text resources (articles published in academic journals or scholarly books). Choose an essay that best demonstrates your ability to engage with secondary critical sources, to situate a text within its historical, literary, and/or cultural context, and to conform to the rules of standard written English.
4. A self-selected piece of writing (creative writing or an essay) that you feel represents your best work.
5. A resume and cover letter to an audience appropriate for your career plans. For detailed information about resumes and cover letters (instructions and models of different kinds), consult the "Career Handbook" available from UMD's Career Services office, which will assist you in creating these materials and with preparing for your career after graduation. Career Services also offers a free resume and cover letter critique service (requires a 10-day review period).


If you plan to graduate this year, please begin working on your portfolio right away.

NOTE: Because UMD has stopped supporting Portfolio and is in the process of phasing it out, we now have a new procedure for submitting documents for English 4909:

How to Create and Submit Your Portfolio



For Assistance:
If you have questions about the content of your portfolio, please contact your advisor.

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