English (honours) has been one of the most sought-after courses offered by the university. And, also one of the tougher courses.
What was earlier thought of as a course that revolved around reading basic texts, learning them cover to cover and reproducing them verbatim in the examinations, has changed dramatically to focus more on analysis, critical thinking, extensive reading and reference work.
With the curriculum being spread out over nine papers, across all three years, the course focuses now on papers like '20th Century Indian Writing', coupled with an interdisciplinary and a concurrent course, in the first year.
In the second year, other than basic literature courses, students have the option of choosing between 19th Century European Realism and Classical Literature, along with two concurrent courses.
The third year is largely more literature-intensive, with Romantic poets, Contemporary literature and literary theory papers dominating the curriculum.
Career prospects too leave students spoilt for choice. From pursuing a Master's and going further into the subject to ultimately taking up teaching, to mass communication courses, creative writing or taking the UPSC examinations - there is no dearth of career opportunities for a literature student.
The course requires students to have an in-depth idea of not just the subject but the particular genre of writing as well.
"Shakespeare is an area that often leaves students confused. Most insist that English literature is about horizontal and vertical learning. If for example, a comedy, such as As You Like It is taught, then it is imperative for students to be familiar with other comedies by the Bard," says Remya Thoma, a second-year student of St. Stephen's College.
"A student must have an aptitude for the subject and not opt for English after having lost out to competition in other streams. It's a very layered subject and students must take it up only if they enjoy it," said Swaroopa Mukherjee, associate professor of English, Hindu College.
"The subject opens up a lot of avenues for students in fields like media, publishing, civil services or higher research. The flexibility of the subject also makes a lot of students pursue it at a later stage in their lives," added Mukherjee.