Department of English | American University of Sharjah

Head Of Department

Welcome to the Department of English.

Led by an internationally renowned and deeply student-focused faculty, the department serves you and the university in a number of important ways. Central to our efforts are the core writing and research courses we provide. Through a discussion-based pedagogy emphasizing academic and professional skills, our writing classes help you explore timeless questions and ideas while preparing you for the 21st century’s global, multicultural and knowledge-based workplace.

Our newly revamped Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature (BAELL) encourages you to examine the relationships between linguistics and literature, between the study of language and the reading of culture. We offer a wide variety of courses—from ENG 185 Playing With Texts, to ENG 332 The Psychology of Language, ENG 378 Literature as Film, ENG 315 Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature, ENG 300 Literary and Critical Theory, and ENG 385 Language and Gender—that integrate contemporary approaches to global literature and language studies with an interdisciplinary approach to studying important questions and texts. |-BREAK-|

As a crucial component of the English major experience, we also encourage students to make connections with allied departments via our “Related Courses” electives. These classes—which include options such as WST 250 Women’s Voices Across Cultures, PHI 309 Ethics and the Environment, and THE 361 Playwriting—encourage you to view and interrogate things through multiple lenses.

A cornerstone of the department, our Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESOL) program prepares students to enter the education profession via a high-demand field. Employing a cutting-edge, internationally recognized and accredited curriculum, the MA TESOL program is distinctive for its small, seminar-style classes and the opportunity for students to engage in supervised teaching practice in real-world classrooms. Course offerings provide the balanced combination of practical and theoretical knowledge needed to teach English at various proficiency levels, and to prepare students for doctoral studies in areas related to language learning and teaching. The program’s focus on critical specializations like teaching methodology, language testing and the use of technology in language teaching classrooms ensures that our graduates have the pedagogical background and practical skills to step confidently into the job market. Our Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) program provides qualified students tuition credit and stipends to work alongside professors in conducting research.

Department of English faculty and students also collaborate on a number of co- and extra-curricular activities. Our English Fellows program offers students the chance to lead projects like the department’s e-journal Asrar: Dialogues from the Diaspora and organize events such as Open Mic Night where students and faculty come to read and perform creative work. Talented writers and students considering careers in teaching can also apply to tutor in the Writing Center.

Whether you are planning to major with us, complete a minor that complements your main degree, or simply take a class or two to pursue an interest in language, literature or writing, we welcome you and look forward to your voice joining our conversations.

Dr. Paul Almonte
Head of Department


Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature
Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Minor in English Language and Literature

Expand your understanding of literature and language and develop your communication and critical thinking skills with these featured courses offered by the Department of English in Spring 2024. Please email Ms. Hadeel Rahal at [email protected] to be enrolled.

ENG 185 Playing With Texts

Taught by Dr. Kristen Highland

Social media posts and films, music and fiction -- our everyday lives are immersed in diverse textual forms that communicate meaning and help us make sense of our lives. This semester, we will explore a variety of short texts, with specific thematic focuses on global exchange and social justice. We will learn strategies for how to effectively read and engage with these texts, deepening our awareness and appreciation of the rich textual world around us. Throughout the semester, students will explore their ideas and deepen insights through analytical and creative projects.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 101 (and have not exceeded 60 total credits).
For ENG majors, ENG 185 is a major requirement. For non-majors, ENG 185 fulfills the Arts and Literature General Education Requirement or may be taken as a free elective.

ENG 194 Technologies of Text

Taught by Dr. Kristen Highland

From ancient cuneiform to Gutenberg’s printing press to today’s AI text generators, technologies of writing and reading have shaped our world and our understanding of it. These technologies influence how we communicate with each other, how we tell stories and share information, and even how we think. This course examines the long history and potential futures of innovation in reading and writing technologies. In this class, we will explore and experiment with diverse text technologies and critically reflect on our own practices in this historical moment of technological change.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 101.
ENG 194 fulfills the Arts and Literature General Education Requirement or may be taken as a free elective.

ENG 210 Introduction to Literature

Taught by Dr. Brian McAllister

This course offers an introduction to literature in its many forms. We’ll explore a range of literary texts that employ a variety of genres within an array of historical and cultural contexts—from lyric poetry to dramatic narrative, from science fiction to nature writing, from Renaissance England to contemporary Abu Dhabi. Through these texts and our engagement with them, we’ll consider not just how literature constructs and gives us access to multiform worlds, but also how those literary worlds can reflect upon, complicate and enrich our engagement with the world around us.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 102.
For English majors, ENG 210 is a major requirement. For non-majors, ENG 210 fulfills the Arts and Literature General Education Requirement. It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 223 Introduction to Language Study

Taught by Dr. Adnan Ajšić

Language, as Steven Pinker has noted, is one of the wonders of the natural world.  We all use it, we use it nearly all the time, and we can express almost anything, existing or imagined, in it.  Perhaps most importantly, language is a uniquely human tool for understanding the world, and the production and transmission of knowledge between individuals and groups, as well as between generations.  But where does this fascinating ability that distinguishes us from all other living things come from?  How does it work?  How and what do we use it for in our modern world and how does it intersect with technology?  Join us in ENG 223: Introduction to Language Study as we explore the origins of language(s), language structure (sounds, words, sentences, meaning), language evolution and change, and the link(s) between language and our societies and cultures.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 102.
For English majors, ENG 223 is a major requirement. For non-majors, ENG 223 fulfills the Human Interaction and Behavior General Education Requirement. It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 224 English Grammar

Taught by Dr. Tharwat EL-Sakran

Focuses on the fundamental rules of English grammar as they relate to sentence structure and function. Explores different systems of analysis, including an introduction to the analysis of texts.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 102.
For English majors, ENG 224 is a major requirement. For non-majors, ENG 224 may be taken as a free elective.

ENG 250: World Literature

Taught by Dr. Maya Aghasi

This spring, we travel not only in space but in time in ENG 250: World Literature. We will read some of the oldest texts we have in existence to explore what it means to be a god/goddess, hero/heroine, human. On our journey, we will meet the likes of Gilgamesh, Achilles and Hector, Odysseus, and Genji, but also Scheherazade, Don Quijote, and Sancho Panza (because we all need some fun in our lives!). In the final portion of the semester, we will see how contemporary artists and writers reread these masterpieces and discuss how they continue to resonate with us today.

In terms of workload, expect lots of exciting reading, discussion-based classes, weekly responses, a presentation, short essays, and a final paper. Also expect a creative assignment in which you contribute your own modern adaptation of one of these classics. 

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed WRI 102.
For English majors, ENG 250 is a major requirement. For non-majors, ENG 250 fulfills the Culture in A Critical Perspective Requirement.  It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 326 Development of the English Language

Taught by Dr. Khawlah Ahmed

You speak the English language, but do you know how that language came about and what are its origins? What languages (and even cultures) played a role in its development? These, and many other interesting information and facts about the English language, are addressed in ENG 326 (Development of the English Language), a course that traces the development of the English language from its Indo-European roots to the present day.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed ENG 203 or ENG 204 AND ENG 223.
For English majors, ENG 326 is a major elective (language). For non-majors, ENG 326 fulfills the Culture in A Critical Perspective Requirement.  It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 334 Meaning in Language

Taught by Dr. Ji Young Shim

If you and I speak the same language, we are supposed to understand what each other says, and we usually do. I understand what you mean when you say something. Likewise, you understand what I say, like you’re reading what I wrote and understand what I mean, right?

Sometimes, though, we may say, "That's not what I meant!". Why does this happen? You and I speak the same language and understand the exact meaning of each word, so why does our communication sometimes break down? Do we mean the same thing with a set of words? In fact, what does it mean to mean?

In this course, we will examine the meaning of language from two important perspectives. First, the meaning of words and sentences are composed by following linguistic rules. In addition, speakers may use these words and sentences differently in context. Thus, to understand what others say, it is important to identify the linguistic rules that are shared by other speakers as well as recognize the role of context and the speaker’s intention.

By the end of the course, you will understand that the meaning of language is composed by following a set of intricate rules.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed ENG 203 or ENG 204 or ENG 223 or ENG 234.
For English majors, ENG 334 is a major elective (language). For non-majors, ENG 334 fulfills the Human Interaction and Behavior Requirement.  It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 394-11 Digital Humanities

Taught by Dr. Una Tanovic

“I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I'm frightened of the old ones.” - John Cage

What are we doing with our digital tools? And what are our digital tools doing to us? How are they changing the ways we live, learn, communicate, and create?

We will think through these questions as we explore the worlds of artificial intelligence, cybernetics, virtual reality, geeks, gamers and hacktivists through new media art and electronic literature. You will encounter and analyze new genres and media formats, including hypertext fiction, flash poems, video games,, codework, interactive fiction, and database art.

Our aim is to question dominant narratives about digital technology and to revise our assumptions about identity, self-expression, community and belonging in a digital world. In addition to thinking about digital culture, you will also practice it. You will experiment hands-on with using digital tools for scholarship and creativity: together, we will learn how to use software to “read” a novel, how to approach X/Twitter as a historical archive, how to translate a song into an image, etc.

(You do not need any programming knowledge or experience to succeed in this course. You should, however, be prepared to experiment with digital tools and to work together to troubleshoot problems.)

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed ENG 203 or ENG 204.
For English majors, ENG 39411 is a major elective (literature). For non-majors, ENG 39411 fulfills the Arts & Literature Requirement.  It may also be taken as a free elective.

ENG 421 The Novel

Taught by Dr. Brian McAllister

This course explores the novel from the 18th Century to the present, considering ways that the genre has changed and developed in those four hundred years. We will study ways that it has represented, reflected on, and been a part of culture and history during that time. More specifically, we will approach these issues by thinking about ways that novels have sought to define the concept of “the human” and, in turn, separated the human from the nonhuman. Our goal is one novel from each century, supplemented by critical and theoretical readings. Some questions we’ll consider: In Robinson Crusoe, how does the castaway establish and exploit boundaries between humans and nonhuman on his desert island? How does Frankenstein respond to and complicate those boundaries? How does a novel told from an animal’s perspective represent nonhuman consciousness? How does science fiction challenge boundaries between human and nonhuman that result from our present world’s combination of climate chaos and radical technological integration? Classwork will culminate in a research paper that explores issues and critical conversations that we will discuss throughout the semester.

Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed ENG 203 or ENG 204 AND ENG 210 or ENG 250.
For English majors, ENG 421 is a major elective (literature). For non-majors, ENG 421 fulfills the Arts & Literature Requirement.  It may also be taken as a free elective.

Hear from our Students and Alumni

Huda Imran, English Language and Literature Major Student

"Being an English Fellow was one of the best decisions I have ever made as a student. I love that the Department of English provides this wonderful opportunity that allows me to make amazing connections with professors and fellow students. At the same time, it is really fulfilling to help organize and facilitate events for the AUS community, and raise awareness about how incredible our English department really is. I would not be as immersed in my degree without the Fellows Program, and I would like to thank the department for all of their support." 

Vighnesh Kizhepat, English Language and Literature Major Student

“In the four years I spent in the Language building, I had the privilege of getting to know and learn from an incredibly talented faculty as well as an eager cohort of students. In various class discussions, group assignments, critical analyses and comprehensive research papers, I was constantly learning and improving my rhetorical skills. These skills may not appear to be useful at first, but slowly I began to realize how these skills could be applied to both an 18th century text and a 20th century play discussing something entirely different. The conversations were making sense, and I found myself being an active contributor of new perspectives, ideas and thoughts. It was in such moments of ecstatic participation that I realized just how enlightening the world of literature is.”

Lobna Abouelleil, English Language and Literature Minor Graduate

“Pursuing a minor in English language and literature was undoubtedly one of the more rewarding experiences of my academic life at AUS. It equipped me for my legal career in more ways than I could have predicted. In addition to strengthening my writing and analytical skills, it also taught me attention to detail, which is arguably one of the most pivotal qualities of a good lawyer. It also taught me the value of patience and the skill of picking up on nuance in dullness–another life-saving skill for a career spent reading endless cases and legislation. I was able to carry so much of the perspective I gained in my English classes into my international relations degree and then into my legal career.”

Farah Nada, English Language and Literature Major Graduate

"I have been taught to think, and that may be this department’s greatest achievement."


Ms. Alaanoud Abusalim
Senior Instructor
MA, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, United States
Dr. Maya Aghasi
Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Wisconsin- Madison, United States
Dr. Khawlah Ahmed
PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo Graduate School of Education, United States
Dr. Adnan Ajšić
Associate Professor
PhD, Northern Arizona University, United States

Writing Center

The department extends the support offered to students beyond the classroom through various student services, one being the AUS Writing Center. Dedicated to helping students become better writers, the Writing Center offers tutoring sessions that assist students in various aspects of writing such as brainstorming, organization, reviewing sentence structure, mechanics and much more. Through an interactive approach between students and peer-tutors, students ultimately become more independent and confident in their writing skills. 

To find out more about the AUS Writing Center, including how to book an appointment and working hours, click here.

Career Opportunities

Our programs prepare students for a variety of career paths upon graduation. In addition to readying students for advanced study in either language or literature, our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in diverse fields such as teaching, publishing, journalism, corporate communication, social media and marketing, language assessment, fundraising, public sector employment and law.

See where our graduates have landed:


Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)


Crescent Petroleum

Ministry of Education


Sharjah Private Education Authority

Sharjah Art Foundation

American University of Sharjah


Johnson and Johnson

Informa Middle East

Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF)


Lifogrowth Education Services

Higher Colleges of Technology

Kuwait Oil Tanker Company

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Arabiya English (MBC Group)

Events and Extracurricular Activities

The Department of English sponsors a number of curricular and co-curricular activities throughout the year, encouraging community building and student success

These events include Open Mic Night where students and faculty share their poetic and musical talents, and the “Shakespeare for Today” series, where students present their thoughts on how the “Immortal Bard” continues to be relevant in our contemporary world. We also host the Senior and MA Thesis presentation days where our BA and MA students present their culminating work to the university, the Sharakah-supported TESOL Days Conference for high school instructors from across the UAE and the seniors’ celebration dinner, where students, friends and faculty come together to honor our graduating students.

We also host a Sharakah sponsored MA TESOL Seminar. Learn more about our latest seminar here

Extracurricular Activities

Fellows Program

In addition to the numerous clubs run by students on campus, including the Creative Writing Club, the Department of English runs its very own Fellows Program. This is an extracurricular honorary position where the fellows take on several responsibilities to enhance the environment, community, culture and academic life of the department. It is an invaluable learning experience, honing students’ organizational, communication and leadership skills.

Fellows are introduced to the processes of peer-review and web design, and serve as liaisons between students and faculty, among other activities. They also organize department events such as the annual Open Mic Night, and produce the online journal Asrar: Dialogues from the Diaspora.

For updates on the latest news and events organized by the Fellows Program, follow them on Instagram.

Asrar: Dialogues From The Diaspora

First launched in Spring 2014, Asrar is an online journal run by students in the Department of English. Asrar publishes works of nonfiction/criticism, creative writing, and additional media created by students from various disciplines. Read the latest issue here.


Contact Us

Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences
American University of Sharjah
PO Box 26666
Sharjah, UAE

Department Head
Dr. Paul Almonte
Tel +971 6 515 4705
Fax +971 6 515 2598
[email protected]

Administrative Assistant
Hadeel El-Rahal
Tel +971 6 515 2374
Fax +971 6 515 2598
[email protected]

For admission information, please visit, sign up and post your query.

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