The Bellarmine English Department educates in the belief that all the essential components of life - individual and social, historical and scientific, cultural and spiritual - are experienced through the study of literature. During the eight semesters required, the department is committed to developing students who read, reflect, speak, and write both critically and creatively. The department offers a program whose progression of courses challenges students to develop both oral and compositional skills, as well as an understanding for and appreciation of a variety of lives, cultures, and philosophies.

Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) Program

The English Department's Honors and AP Program is designed to provide a rigorous course of study for students who enjoy discussing and analyzing literature. Students are placed in English 1 Honors their freshman year based on test scores and writing samples. Informed Enrollment is employed for any honors/AP course beyond that, meaning that interested students must first solicit feedback from their current teacher, parents and counselor, and secure counselor approval, prior to enrollment. 


All freshmen must take either English 1 or English 1 Honors.

Course Name
UC / CSU Approved?
English 1 Year Yes

Course Description: As freshmen are coming of age and entering this new environment, they will study literature, finding similar characters who also struggle to discover their identity, to build new relationships, and to form and understand their values in a world of discrimination. In reading and writing about characters and communities representing different voices, students will explore how these elements can conflict, forcing them to decide who they will be and how they will use this knowledge to identify and combat injustices in the world. Ultimately, students will come to an affirmation of themselves, and understand and celebrate diversity. Using their analysis of literature, students will begin by focusing on the basis of argumentation; writing four one-paragraph essays in the first semester. During the second semester, each student will write three multi-paragraph essays, introducing them to the structure that will serve as the basis of their writing throughout their Bellarmine English education.

Comments: Standard freshman English course.

English 1 Honors Year Yes

Course Description: Students will read a number of novels, two plays, a large selection of short stories, and assorted poems. The works are also organized thematically by Bellarmine’s core values: openness to growth/religion; intellectual competence; love; commitment to doing justice; and pursuit of leadership growth.

Honors students will move quickly from the basic freshman composition to compose longer five paragraph essays. Students are expected to compose four to five multiple paragraph essays per semester. Oral communication will be emphasized through whole class, small group, and formal presentations. Creative projects will also be offered throughout the year. All essays, discussions and projects will emphasize critical thinking skills and literary analysis.

Comments: Department approval is required for enrollment in this course. English 1 Honors is an accelerated course designed for those freshmen who have demonstrated a superior understanding of English fundamentals.