Course Descriptions

Statement of Philosophy

Literature provides the awareness of a complex world through a multiplicity of views focused upon the fullness of life rather than upon any given accepted social, political, or religious orientation.  Concomitant to the study of literature is the study of language, which provides the ability to perceive and formulate meaning. The following objectives reflect the commitment of the Interlochen Arts Academy English Department to assist students in the exploration of human experience through the pursuit of literary appreciation and language skills.


  • To cultivate an approach to literature from varied perspectives through the development of reading and analytic techniques.
  • To encourage a commitment to literary expression as an experience which confronts intellectual and personal values by process rather than precept.
  • To promote an awareness of language as a means of organizing and expressing thought.
  • To develop proficiency in the elements and techniques of composition.
  • To encourage student responsibility through placement in situations requiring independent initiative.

Literature often concerns itself with matters of the deepest and most enduring human preoccupations - life and death, sex, religion, war. Any serious study of literature will therefore necessarily be a study of humanity itself, in all its complex and sometimes disturbing truth. Students should understand that classroom discussions will occasionally require a willingness to entertain subject matter they may find troubling or provocative, and that this willingness to be troubled or provoked is a necessary prerequisite to a fully realized liberal arts education.

Graduation Requirements

The minimum Academy graduation requirements for English consist of English I, English II, and two one-semester elective English courses during the junior or senior year taken at Interlochen.

The English courses offered at the junior or senior levels are taught on a semester basis.  The offerings are not sequential.  Each student is able to select courses, schedule permitting, on the basis of their interests and to fit individual needs throughout the year. Selected Creative Writing courses may be elected by a junior or senior to fulfill the English requirements for graduation. Enrollment by freshmen or sophomores in the Creative Writing courses does not satisfy the English graduation requirements.

Advanced Placement Preparation

English I and English II are college-preparatory courses.  They are designed to prepare students to meet the standards of literature and composition study found in the upper-level elective classes. All upper-level literature classes offered by the English Department are academically accelerated employing methods and materials consistent with and/or beyond traditional AP courses. Students who are interested in taking AP examinations should seek the advice of their instructors regarding specific skills and content upon which to place emphatic focus. Prior to AP examinations, faculty assistance in group and/or individual tutorials is available to assist students in their preparation.

Creative Writing Courses as English Credit

The following courses are offered by the Creative Writing department, and may be taken for English credit at 11th and 12th grade level only *

  • Elements of Creative Writing – Fiction/Poetry
  • The Writing of Nonfiction (one semester only for English credit)
  • Playwriting (one semester only for English credit)
  • Introduction to Screenwriting (one semester only for English credit)

*Enrollment by freshman or sophomores in the creative writing courses does not satisfy the English graduation requirements.